Data Remains Critical Barrier to B2B Customer Experience According to Annual Dun & Bradstreet Report

Dun & Bradstreet today released its fifth annual Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising Outlook, which shows a strong focus on customer experience (CX) and personalized marketing approaches, as B2B businesses try to keep pace with B2C practices.

The study confirms that, though B2B Marketers overwhelmingly think they should be as focused on the customer experience as their B2C counterparts (88%), a quarter of respondents feel they are still lagging behind their competition in the CX arena.

“It’s not a surprise that B2B businesses are having trouble when it comes to delivering on CX,” said Lauren Bakewell, Chief Product Officer, Sales & Marketing Solutions at Dun & Bradstreet. “Unlike B2C, in B2B there is not a single buyer, so having a full customer picture of both the individual and the account is critical to deliver on the promise of personalization.”

So why are B2B brands struggling with CX? Over a third of the respondents surveyed said their biggest CX hurdle was their inability to leverage the data and data tools they already have in place. They also cited the inability to identify customer touchpoints (26%) and lack of insight into the customer journey (26%) as key challenges.

With data identified as the biggest challenge, it makes sense that data governance is becoming a key focus for B2B marketers who want to improve the customer experience. Siloed data and incomplete customer data top the list of data governance challenges; however, the study also showed that marketers are realizing the benefits of emerging technologies like customer data platforms (CDPs) and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) to help manage their data deluge, with usage of both rising since last year’s report (9% and 7%, respectively). In addition, over 84% of marketers say their teams will be putting more focus on data in the next year.

Another sign that B2B businesses are focusing on the need for personalization in CX is the fact that account-based marketing (ABM) continues to rate highly in the survey, with over 60% of respondents indicating they are currently using an ABM approach in their organization.

“Creating a consistent customer experience across both digital and offline channels is critical for today’s B2B marketer to be successful,” says Bakewell. “Without the ability to centralize the many aspects of customer and prospect data, it is very difficult to see customers holistically at both an account and individual level and deliver a personalized and consistent customer experience to each. Simply put, informed and personalized omnichannel experiences mean more sales, stronger loyalty and greater long-term customer value.”

The information in this report is based on the results of a multi-national survey of business-to-business marketers and their agencies conducted by Adweek Branded on behalf of Dun & Bradstreet in September 2019. All 255 respondents were involved in B2B marketing and had a job title of manager or above.

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