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What is marketing data?

Marketing data is any information that is machine-readable and of benefit 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.

Scroll 👇 for Cognism’s marketing data FAQs - or alternatively, use the menu to jump to a section.

Marketing data 101 | Why is marketing data important? | Where is marketing data collected from? | What are the different types of marketing data? | How can data transform your marketing team? | Cognism’s B2B data eBook | The world’s best B2B marketing data

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Marketing data 101

Find out everything you need to know about B2B data and how it benefits marketers. Press â–¶ď¸Ź to watch Cognism's tutorial.


Why is marketing data important?

Data is the secret weapon in today’s B2B marketing landscape. Armed with fresh, accurate and compliant data, a data-focused marketing team can reach niche audiences, develop strategies that attract and delight them, and assist sales in the task of converting them into paying customers.

These are the practical benefits of marketing data:

1 - Understanding customers better

“Know your customer” has been a mantra for B2B sales and marketing 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 - that is, 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.

The interpretation and analysis of prospect and customer data feeds into almost every marketing activity:

  • The campaign marketer can devise better marketing campaigns that convert.
  • The content marketer can craft content that truly speaks to a prospect’s pain points.
  • The performance marketer will understand which types of ads resonate and where the target audience is spending their time online.
  • The product marketer will know which features are of the greatest benefit to a company’s customers.

This accumulation of data and its application in a marketing team leads to only one thing: smarter, better marketing.

2 - Promoting products more effectively

B2B/SaaS is a highly competitive industry. 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.

Data is how to make your product or service stand out from the crowd. With information on your prospects and customers, 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 - Optimising the marketing process

Every marketing team working in B2B and 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 KPIs across each marketing role, and tracking them weekly, the team 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 data to inform their 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 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.

Where is marketing data collected from?

Marketing data, like all types of B2B data, is captured from prospects and customers and stored online, either publicly or privately.

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

Public sources

Anywhere online where data is freely available, in the public domain and not gated behind forms or paywalls.

They 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

Anywhere online where data is secured from public view and can only be accessed via subscription, form completion or payment.

They 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.

What are the different types of marketing data?

There are five types of data in B2B marketing.

1 - Demographic data

The most basic level of marketing data. This is information related to personal and geographic attributes, e.g.: names, email addresses, telephone numbers, employment histories and 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 refers to information about companies, e.g.: company name, company location, the industry they operate in, the number of employees they have and how much revenue they generate.

This type of marketing data is particularly useful for account-based marketing, where campaigns are targeted at a group of decision-makers inside one company.

3 - Technographic data

This refers to information about the technologies that individual prospects or their companies use, e.g.: the name of the product or service and how long it’s been used for.

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.

5 - Intent data

The latest type of marketing data and one which is sure to revolutionise 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 intent data:

  • First-party intent data - information that a business collects about their users from their own platform and/or website.
  • 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.

Cognism Intent Data

How can data transform your marketing team?

A data-driven marketing team is a successful marketing team. These are the ways in which data can transform marketing for the better.

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.

The answers are found in the examination and analysis of data. A complete picture of your target market can be computed - this is known as a Total Addressable Market or TAM calculation.

For an instant snapshot of your target market, why not try Cognism’s TAM calculator? It’s available for free on our total addressable market page. Simply fill out the details and you’ll receive an email containing the number of leads available to you, broken down by job title, location, company size, industry and technology.

2 - Identifying ideal customers

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

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 you can refer to again and again 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 effective lead generation, in particular by focusing on quality, not quantity.

TAM and ICP 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 two of the most essential. Data powers both of these disciplines.

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 and continually track their progress. A further step would be to combine the two teams under one banner - the revenue team.

5 - Delivering new revenue

A data-focused marketing group can become a revenue-generating engine in its own right. It can attract quality leads, provide them with the answers they’re looking for and help to convert them into customers.

For marketing leaders, a data-driven approach will deliver several key benefits to their working lives and careers. It builds trust with business owners and the C-suite and creates a solid foundation for higher investment in the marketing function.

Cognism’s B2B data eBook

With this page, we have only scratched the surface of data and its ramifications for B2B marketers. There is so much more to learn, and there’s no better place to start than Cognism’s eBook B2B Data: The fuel for your growth.

We interviewed a range of internal and external data experts. Their thoughts provided the basis for our guide, which contains:

  • Tips for sourcing data in an efficient and compliant manner.
  • Insights into keeping your CRM data accurate and up-to-date.
  • More information about your Total Addressable Market and how to calculate it.
  • A checklist of compliance requirements for B2B organisations.

Sparked your interest? Click 👇 and all your B2B data questions will be answered!

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The world’s best B2B marketing data

Cognism is the market leader for accurate, compliant B2B data. We offer global coverage and one of the strongest European datasets in our industry.

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

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