Privacy Reset: Get Back to B2B Digital Marketing Basics
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Privacy Reset: Get Back to B2B Digital Marketing Basics

While individual-level attribution is becoming more complex, we can still achieve B2B digital marketing success.
Primer team
Updated on
March 20, 2024
Published on
January 26, 2024
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Digital marketing is at a crossroads right now. Privacy regulations and tracking technology are changing rapidly, and that has got marketers questioning everything they thought they knew. In the past, we relied on cookie-based attribution to track a prospect's path to purchase, but without third-party cookies, we're left wondering if we've lost those invaluable insights into the customer journey for good.

The truth is, while individual-level attribution is becoming more complex, we can still achieve B2B digital marketing success. It just requires us to refocus on the basics: strong targeting and compelling messaging. By shifting our perspective, we can still connect with our buyers in meaningful ways.

Rethinking ROAS in a Privacy-First Era

In the past, B2B digital marketing relied on detailed metrics like cost per lead (CPL) for tracking campaigns. Marketers set low CPL benchmarks and assumed they could optimize towards them. But here's the reality check: those benchmarks worked mainly because of the algorithms used by advertising platforms, not because of any genius on our part. It was cookies and site trackers that powered those hyper-targeted ads.

Now, without third-party cookies, the precision of platform targeting has decreased. But instead of dwelling on the problems, smart marketers are adapting. Conversion APIs allow us to feed action data back to ad platforms, which improves relevancy even without extensive tracking.

Moreover, we can regain control by creating custom, first-party audiences based on our ideal customer profiles. This allows us to retarget our total addressable market (TAM) more effectively, leading to smarter budget allocation instead of chasing vanity metrics like engagement numbers.

The key here is to reset our expectations from B2B digital marketing outcomes. Yes, the cost per lead may go up, but the quality of those leads will also improve dramatically. What matters most is telling our brand's story to the right buyers.

Forget Multi-Touch Attribution, Focus on Messaging Engagement

They believed that multi-touch attribution could finally reveal the entire customer journey, from initial ad exposure to eventual sales. Brands invested in advanced analytics to measure engagement across various channels and devices.

But here's the reality check: that dream rarely came true. Even with the use of cookies and tracking pixels, mapping each consumer's path remained elusive. Platform algorithms did their best to optimize results, but achieving a unified view of advertising, email, social media, and more was a challenge that marketers struggled to overcome.

Now, with the decline of third-party cookies, gaining an individual-level view becomes even harder. However, the solution is not to complain about lost attribution or disappearing cookies. To thrive in a privacy-focused landscape, we need to shift our perspective. Instead of chasing a complete view of how each prospect engages, we should focus on B2B digital marketing basics:

  1. Target your ideal audience: Identify the people who are most likely to be interested in your brand and tailor your B2B digital marketing accordingly.
  2. Craft compelling messages: Create content that speaks directly to the needs and interests of your core audience.
  3. Prioritize incrementality: Measure the lift generated by your campaigns instead of solely relying on end-to-end attribution. Take a look at Usergem’s case–they achieved demand gen efficiency by optimizing the campaign budget based on precise engagement tracking.

When you connect with your core personas through content that resonates with them, conversions will naturally follow. It's essential to trust your audience targeting and rely more on measuring campaign lift rather than obsessing over end-to-end attribution.

Doubling Down on High-Intent Audiences

Here's another shift in mindset when it comes to attribution: cheap traffic that isn't well-qualified isn't the magic solution that some marketers believe. Sure, platforms can help you reach a lot of people quickly, but if your targeting is all over the place, you'll end up with a bunch of people who are just kicking the tires. Is it really impressive to have a cost per lead of $5 if only 2% of those leads turn into sales?

Instead, the key in a landscape where attribution is becoming more difficult is to go back to the B2B digital marketing basics. Identify audience segments that have a high intent to purchase and focus on addressing their needs. Don't get caught up in vanity metrics like open rates; prioritize engaging with actual buyers.

Data providers like ZoomInfo can be incredibly helpful in this regard. By leveraging firmographic and intent data, you can build high-value custom audiences. And tools like Facebook's conversion API can further help you target similar profiles.

This B2B digital marketing approach means adjusting your benchmarks. Yes, the cost per lead might increase, but the conversion from lead to opportunity could jump from 20% to 60% or even higher. Quality matters more than questionable quantity. And by taking your audience targeting, you're relying less on platform algorithms.

So, to sum it up in a post-cookie world, mastering targeting and messaging is the new way to measure success.

Embrace the Crossroads Through Testing

The ever-shifting B2B digital marketing landscape can be unsettling, especially when it comes to privacy regulations and the impact on marketing. But instead of getting frustrated, smart marketers embrace experimentation.

Testing becomes a compass in a sea of shifting metrics. As cost per lead and multi-touch modeling lose accuracy, it's time to put your targeting theories and campaign variants to the test. Try out custom audience segments and measure their impact. Run A/B tests on your messaging, looking beyond surface-level metrics like open rates.

Testing helps us find our way when assumptions no longer hold. If your workflow relies on third-party cookie tracking, try running a test without it. See if first-party data and engagement metrics reveal new opportunities.

You can try some of our first-experience practices described in our article dedicated to ad set A/B tests.

The key is to embrace agile, small-scale experiments instead of dwelling on outdated key performance indicators. Failure is part of the learning process, and within the uncertainty lies the potential for significant gains from such an agile B2B digital marketing approach.

Just like early automotive pioneers who embraced change while others lamented the demise of horse-drawn carriages, it's essential to adapt and move forward.

Refresh KPIs Through an Actionability Lens

Email marketers used to obsess over open rates, but let's face it, those rates didn't always indicate true engagement. Often, they just showed that images were loading. Click-through rates provided a bit more insight, suggesting some level of interest. However, now with Apple Mail Privacy Protection, traditional email stats are facing disruption.

However, savvy digital marketers have a different approach. Instead of clinging to old benchmarks, they focus on metrics that drive action and improve campaigns. They scrutinize every key performance indicator (KPI) and ask themselves:

  • How actionable is this signal for improving B2B digital marketing campaigns?
  • Does this metric represent strategy or simply chase vanity?

It's all about actionable analytics. These are the metrics that show you where you can make improvements in your messaging, targeting and calls to action. If a statistic only quantifies past performance without offering insights for future optimization, you might consider dropping it.

And let's not forget about vanity metrics like email open rates. They don't contribute to improving future results. So it's time to shed those legacy numbers that no longer help us make informed decisions.

With the disruptions caused by data privacy concerns, it's crucial to rethink our KPIs. In this privacy-centric digital landscape with restricted tracking, we need to focus on analytics that fuel growth through actionable insights. Measure what truly matters for B2B digital marketing outcomes and watch your optimization efforts become more effective.

In conclusion, as the world of attribution tracking goes through significant changes, digital marketers must adapt. Instead of getting caught up in vanity metrics, we need to go back to the basics of audience targeting, messaging resonance, and measurable outcomes. Instead of dwelling on fading cookies and outdated dashboards, let's sharpen our vision and move forward.

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