The B2B Agency Perspective On Data-Driven Marketing: An Interview With Bob Ray


Bob Ray has been with DWA since 2012, where his main focus has been helping customers develop next-generation communications plans by providing strategic insights into how media influences technology buyers. Hear him speak at INmarket on What B2B Agencies Are Passionate About For Next-Generation Marketers And How They’ll Help Them Win (July 8 in San Francisco). 

6s:  Tell us about your background. What is unique about the agency perspective on data-driven marketing?

BR: Business strategy and marketing have been the heart of my 25-year career in media and marketing. I first spent about half those years on the client-side, then this latter half on the agency-side. Before DWA, I was a principal who built one of the largest integrated global agencies, focused on B2B, and now I’m building a global data-driven media agency.

Continual change and a bit of chaos is the new reality for our clients operating in today’s marketing landscape. It’s a crazy and exciting time out there. Our message to clients at DWA is clear — we provide clarity out of the chaos.

We use data and technology to provide answers and clear directions, with a laser-focus on tangible business results. Harnessing the power of data makes media and marketing a revenue-generating instrument for our clients and helps them forge ongoing relationships with their customers.

6s:  From the agency perspective, what’s at the “top of the list” or “must-haves/must-do’s” for next generation B2B marketers?

BR: One “must-have” today – beyond just a general data-driven mindset – is the ability and commitment to respond in real-time to market and buyer insights. This feedback loop from the market allows you to drive product development, positioning, and full-funnel campaign planning with speed, accuracy and impact that was previously not possible.

6s:  Can you name some of the red-hot new practices or technologies that will help B2B marketers win?

BR: We’re seeing a lot of value in real-time aggregation, user-generated content, and using that in outbound communications as personalized messages. The long-term goal obviously being to get to the ideal of 100% dynamic, one-to-one communications at scale. Whether you start with pure UGC, or UGC combined with other dynamic creative, the value lies in being personal fast, and the ability to then still react fast all the way through the campaign, employing algorithmic optimization against real-time performance data coming to you in flight.

6s:  Do you see data as crucial to today’s marketing teams’ successes and, if so, why?

BR: Yes, especially at the individual level. At DWA, we don’t simply identify the company, we identify the individuals within the company who are responsible for making the buying decisions.  Advertising to everyone at a target company, or narrowing your targeting to generic titles, is just the latest version of ‘spray-and-pray.’

You have to go beyond companies that are “in market” and identify and reach individual members of the buying team, with personalized content at the right time in their customer journey. For example, data shows us that in enterprise technology there are between 6 -17 people on any given buying team.

To market effectively today, you need to use the billions of available data points, from various sources, that can give you a better understanding of your buyer – or team of buyers – and about what precisely influences these people.

6s:  How is the trend towards data-driven marketing practices influencing the agency side?

BR: The shift to data-driven marketing is a very exciting moment for agencies, albeit one that’s quickly separating the wheat from the chaff. It’s a bit of a clarion call.

Data provides us with an ability to provide more predictable results than ever before, based on concrete insights and empirical evidence that improves decision-making about tactics and plans. When done well, data makes agencies ever more strategically valuable to clients.

The downside is, many agencies might not understand how to use data, or not be truly committed to doing what it takes to use data well. But the true data-driven agencies emerging out there, we’re poised to massively win in the end, over creative guesswork and traditional media planning.

Interested in learning more? Don’t miss Bob Ray (@dwaTechMedia) speaking at INmarket on What B2B Agencies Are Passionate About For Next-Generation Marketers And How They’ll Help Them Win (July 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm PT).  

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