Skip to content

What Is Marketing Data? Definition, Types and Benefits

Marketing data is any information that is machine-readable and beneficial to marketing teams. It is collected from public and private sources and helps with identifying ideal customers, crafting compelling content, and building more effective campaigns.

There are several different types of marketing data, and they all have specific use cases for B2B marketing.

As the providers of an award-winning B2B lead generation and marketing automation platform, we know a thing or two about data. So we’ve put together this guide explaining:

  • Why marketing data is important
  • Where it’s collected
  • Which data types you need for B2B marketing
  • Which specific data points you should be collecting

Scroll 👇 to start reading - or alternatively, use the menu to jump to a section.

Marketing data 101

Modern marketing tech can give you access to an almost endless number of B2B data points.

But, without a laser-focused B2B marketing strategy, it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole and lose sight of what’s important. 

Do you really need to know each lead’s favourite football team and meal deal combo? 

We don’t think so 😂, but you’ll want to know enough to catch your audience’s eye and keep them engaged throughout the sales funnel

To help you get started using data for marketing, we’ve put together this informative video. Press ▶️ to find out the basics of using marketing data to streamline your campaigns:

Why is marketing data important?

If you’re looking for a B2B marketing secret weapon, then data marketing is it! 

According to an Invesp article on the statistics and trends of data driven marketing, businesses that use marketing data to inform their strategies drive five to eight times as much ROI as businesses that don’t.

Fresh, accurate, and compliant data can help a data-focused marketing team reach niche audiences, support winning sales strategies, and assist sales in the task of converting hot leads into paying customers.

And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of using data in marketing.

Here are 3 reasons why you should arm your marketing team with a marketing data strategy:

1. Better understand your customers

“Know your customer” has been a mantra for B2B marketing and sales teams for quite literally decades. It’s only in recent years that technology and data have turned that mantra into a reality.

Today, every interaction a prospective customer has with your brand can be logged and measured. Lead scoring, the process of assigning your marketing leads with a score based on the quality of those interactions, has meant that best-fit prospects can be identified quickly and easily.

Data analytics in marketing feeds into almost every marketing activity. Here’s how:

  • Campaign marketers can devise better marketing campaigns that convert
  • Content marketers can craft content that truly speaks to a prospect’s pain points
  • Performance marketers can understand which types of ads resonate and where your target audience is spending their time online
  • Product marketers can discover which features are of the greatest benefit to your customers

All of this leads to one thing: 

Smarter, better marketing.

2. More effective promotions 

B2B and SaaS sales are both highly competitive industries. Thousands of new products and services flood the market every year. For the majority of customers, it’s hard to gauge the difference between them.

Marketing data helps your product or service stand out from the crowd because, with customer data, you can discern:

  • Who the right audience is for your product or service: who they are, where they work, and what their business goals are
  • Where and when to reach that audience: what channels your prospects use day-to-day, and the best times to engage with them
  • What messages your audience will respond to: the best B2B marketers are fully aware of the challenges their customers face and how they can be solved
  • The B2B sector is product-led: data provides insights on how to improve products and market them successfully

3. An optimised marketing process

Every B2B marketing team working in SaaS faces the same challenge - time. Specifically, not having enough of it to complete every task mandated by the business.

However, a data-driven mindset can improve productivity and time management. By selecting marketing metrics and KPIs across each marketing role, and tracking them weekly, teams can gain insights into which tasks are actually producing the best results.

What this leads to is a constant cycle of revision and optimisation. The most successful B2B marketing teams use marketing data to inform decision-making, from which events to attend to which blogs to publish. A/B testing is another pivotal step in the marketing process, one which generates useful data to study and learn from.

It’s crucial for B2B marketing leaders to have a deep understanding and focus on customer marketing data. They also need to transmit that understanding to their junior colleagues. It can make all the difference between a marketing team’s success or failure.

💡Check out a list of the best tools for marketers.

Where is marketing data collected from?

Like all types of B2B data, marketing data is captured from prospects and customers through private or public sources and stored online. 

These are the definitions of public and private sources for B2B marketing data:

Public sources

Data from public sources come from anywhere online where data is freely available. If it’s in the public domain and not gated behind forms or paywalls, it’s a public marketing data source.  

Examples of public data sources include:

  • Websites -  where company and business data can be searched for and found online.
  • Social media profiles - where companies and individuals make data about themselves available to others (in B2B, LinkedIn is the number one social media data source).
  • Online content - any published item that’s free to view or read, e.g., blogs, press releases, podcasts, webinars, and videos.

Private sources

Data from private sources come from anywhere online where data is secured from public view and can only be accessed via subscription, form completion, or payment.

Examples of private data sources include:

  • Paywalled websites - any online site that requires the visitor to pay for access. Prominent examples include the Financial Times and Mergent.
  • Financial/market intelligence - these providers supply industry-specific information on companies and sectors. Examples include Crunchbase and Pitchbook.
  • DaaS (data as a service) providers - private companies that manage their own databases and make them available on subscription. Cognism is the world-leading supplier of compliant B2B data.

Cognism's data makes marketing easier and more effective. Curious to see how? Click 👇

Free leads CTA_4

What are the different types of marketing data?

There are 7 types of customer marketing data that businesses should be collecting.

You might find that the nature of your particular B2B organisation causes you to lean into some more than others, but to some extent, you should have all of them covered.

This is especially true if you want to use data to develop marketing product strategies and identify goals.

The 7 types of data used in B2B marketing are:

1. Demographic data

This is the most fundamental information that every marketer needs. This is information related to personal and geographic attributes. It’s not going to give you too much information about the lead’s buying habits or interests, but it can give insight into whether they fit your ICP (ideal customer profile).

Demographic data looks like this:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Email address
  • Telephone Number
  • Location
  • Employment history
  • Skills

This type of marketing data is the basis for demand generation. It can be used to target prospects through email marketing campaigns.

2. Firmographic data

This type of marketing data is particularly useful for account-based marketing, where ABM campaigns are targeted at a group of decision-makers inside one company as it’s a collection of information about companies.

Firmographic data looks like this:

  • Company name
  • Company location
  • Industry
  • Number of employees
  • Company revenue

Many marketers will stop here. A combination of demographic and firmographic data points will provide enough information to implement a relatively targeted, growth marketing plan. But you can go a lot further if you gather even more useful marketing data.

3. Technographic data

Technographic data refers to information about the technologies that individual prospects or their companies use. There are two reasons marketers should be collecting this information:

  1. Understanding this can give the marketer some insights into the contact’s workflows, how they could be improved, and the pain points they might face day-to-day. This is particularly useful if you’re providing a particular solution that other technologies don’t have.
  2. Evolve or fade away. Understanding which technologies are being used by other companies can help you to define your own workflow. Look into what can be offered by these technologies and decide whether you should be using them yourself.

This type of marketing data is prized by product marketers, who can map features and benefits against their competitors.

4. Chronographic data

This refers to the real-world events that impact individuals, companies, and industries. Also known as event-based triggers or sales triggers, they often highlight when a prospect or a company might be ready to buy.

Examples of chronographic marketing data are:

  • When a company moves to a new location.
  • When a prospect starts working at a new company.
  • When a company is acquired or receives new funding.
  • When a company signs up or partners with a competitor.
  • When a company announces a recruitment drive.

Without regular updates, chronographic data sets can stagnate very quickly. You’ll want to invest in a sales intelligence solution, like Cognism, to enhance your marketing data and keep it fresh. 

5. Intent data

The latest type of marketing data and one which is sure to revolutionize the industry. Intent data refers to the measurement of web users’ behaviour (where they go and what they interact with online), with the purpose of predicting what they do next.

There are two types of marketing intent data:

  1. First-party intent data - information that a business collects about their users from their own platform and/or website.
  2. Third-party intent data - information that is gathered from a number of websites, search engines or platforms. It is usually supplied by intent data providers for a fee.

Intent data is perhaps the most valuable type of data for a marketer. It indicates when a prospect or company has the strongest intention to buy a product or service.

Listen to the podcast below to learn even more about the benefits of intent data for data fuelled marketing: 

6. Quantitative data

Quantitative data is the ‘how much’ - nothing less than cold, hard stats for marketers to interpret. This marketing data type is collected during the marketing process, through the use of analytics tools. 

Quantitative data points look like this:

  • Website clicks
  • Form completions
  • Event appearances
  • Email open rates
  • Click through rates
  • Current customer information

The amount of quantitative marketing data that you can collect is enormous, so we’ve only listed a few important ones. Feel free to experiment with your own.

7. Qualitative data

Qualitative data is the ‘how was.’ It’s concerned with quality rather than numbers. This can often give you insight into the type of person the prospect is. It’s hard to collect at scale but is always worth recording when you do speak to a contact.

Qualitative data looks like this:

  • Social media activity
  • Notes from previous conversations
  • Questionnaire completions
  • Product feedback

The importance of qualitative marketing data is often overlooked. It’s additional useful information that doesn’t fit into the data categories marketers often focus on. Used right, it can give you a very competitive edge.

Want these data types on file for later? We’ve created a downloadable infographic for when you need a quick reminder. Simply right-click and save.

B2B data types infographic

Using data to develop a winning marketing strategy

As mentioned above: B2B marketing data helps you connect with your customers on a much deeper level, but this is especially true when it comes to creating a winning marketing strategy.

High-quality digital marketing data helps inform your decision-making and lets you track how effective each stage of your strategy is.

However, intent data is arguably the most important data type to use when creating your marketing strategy. By knowing your client’s intent, you’ll know what they want and how to market it to them before they even realise they need it!

It also helps you remove content or parts of your strategy that aren't working for that customer. This will make their experience with your company feel more personalised and connected.

1. Calculating Total Addressable Market

Marketing can’t begin until you know the market! 

How many people are available for your product or service? Where are they based? How much revenue do you expect them to bring in?

These are all vital questions to ask.

These answers can be found by analysing marketing data and by calculating your Total Addressable Market.

2. Identifying ideal customers

The first four types of marketing data are essential for developing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This is a representation of your perfect customer, the person who will derive the greatest benefit from using your product or service.

To obtain this marketing data, use a questionnaire or online feedback form to gather data from your existing customers; then, review the data. Search for anything that links your customers together.

The insights you gain can be assembled in an ICP template, that your marketing development representatives can reference when marketing to new customers.

3. Generating high-quality leads

The goal of any marketing team in B2B and SaaS is to make sales easier. This is done via the best lead generation strategies that focus on quality, not quantity.

ICP and TAM marketing calculations are important first steps in this process, but there are other considerations as well. Content that matches your audience’s desires and campaigns that reach them in a timely fashion are essential for success when marketing with data.

4. Aligning marketing and sales

Gone are the days when B2B sales and marketing teams worked in silos and never communicated. For a business to succeed, it must have both teams working together, chasing the same prospects and working towards the same goals.

Data is the umbrella under which you can unite your sales and marketing departments. Give both teams monthly and annual revenue targets, facilitate prospecting, and continually track their progress. A further step would be to combine the two teams under one banner - the revenue operations team.

5. Delivering new revenue

A data-focused marketing group can become a revenue-generating engine in its own right by attracting quality leads, providing them with the answers they’re looking for, and helping convert them into customers.

For marketing leaders, data marketing delivers several key benefits. It builds trust with business owners and the C-suite and creates a solid foundation for higher investment in the marketing function.

With all this said, there’s one more crucial factor to consider when using data to enhance your marketing strategy: 

Your data must be compliant. 

An example of a quality GDPR compliant marketing data provider is Cognism. Relevant, compliant and intelligent B2B data enables marketing teams to identify new audiences and build smarter marketing campaigns.

With quality marketing data like this, you can:

  • Increase your campaign reach by identifying more of your ideal customers throughout the B2B marketing funnel.
  • Build out targeted advertising campaigns, boosting audience match rates across your advertising platforms.
  • Take the guesswork out of campaign planning by using sales triggers to target prospects right when they need you most.
  • Reach and engage with more prospects, getting your emails seen by the right people at the right time.

Cognism’s B2B marketing playbook

Say goodbye 👋 to tired lead generation tactics that aren’t bringing you any revenue.

Check out Cognism’s free demand generation playbook! You’ll learn:

  • Why demand gen is important and what its goals are.
  • How to create and capture demand in B2B marketing.
  • How to report on and measure performance using marketing data.

Click 👇 to access.

Cognism Demand Generation Playbook

The world’s best B2B marketing data

Cognism is the market leader for accurate, compliant B2B data.

Use our marketing data to identify new audiences, power your campaigns, and get more of your emails seen by the decision-makers that matter.

Even better, our Diamond Data® is the most accurate, compliant, verified phone data for marketing teams internationally.

Want to learn more?

Book your demo with us - click 👇