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Chapter 1

3 minutes

Introduction

Marketing sure can feel off sometimes. For anyone who's ever ventured onto the internet, we're willing to bet that you've been followed around by ads for those shoes you looked at once or received more than a few weirdly "personalized" emails that got your name wrong.

Most digital marketing is easy to ignore, because it's so impersonal — and when personalization misses the mark, it feels awkward and annoying.

But marketing done right feels much more natural, like it's meant for you.

Of course, if you're a B2B SaaS marketer, you know how hard it is to create marketing communications that scale but still feel personalized. How can you really know who your customers are and what they want? You can't exactly take them for a Mad Men-style drinking session, get them sloshed, and make an offer tailored just for them; neither your budget nor your liver would allow that. You're supposed to scale one-to-many — and anyway, there are often multiple decision makers behind just one account.

Data helps bridge that gap. It gives B2B SaaS marketers and salespeople more clues for understanding their prospects and customers as individuals, even if they're just one in a large, diverse market. It helps marketers orchestrate their digital touchpoints — things like ads, emails, and landing pages — in a way that feels consistent rather than disjointed. And that natural feel is all the more important in B2B SaaS, where sales cycles are long and require lots of trust and education to sell large contracts to companies.

Even in tech, we find businesses at all points on the spectrum of data sophistication. Those that don't use targeted data to personalize their marketing tend to struggle and waste money, driving poor-quality leads for sales and potentially alienating their customers. On the other side, we see our most successful customers of Clearbit thinking holistically about their customers' journeys, using data along the funnel to create consistent and individualized experiences. Data helps them move meaningful metrics forward, scale up, and craft a great customer experience.

But what does being data-driven really mean? The world of data can be confusing, and there are plenty of misconceptions. Just "having data" doesn't solve all your problems. You need the right types of data, a strategy for using it, and safeguards to prevent its misuse.

All of us on Clearbit's marketing team at some point have had that "new to data" feeling and experienced the confusion and frustration of not being able to do more. We've come from various industries and business models at companies that didn't use data well or have the resources. So it's been exciting to see what marketing can do at a company with a data-driven outlook and the right data to power it. "Creativity" might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about data, but it really has made our marketing more colorful, creative, and, dare we say, fun.

This book is an overview of the foundational data that makes our jobs possible, helping B2B SaaS marketers understand who they're dealing with, craft more relevant communications, and create more effective, valuable customer journeys.

First, we'll look at first-party versus third-party data (with a quick stopover at second-party data too). That's a lot of parties, so try and stay hydrated.

Then we'll talk about fit data and intent data, which help determine whether a prospect is worth pursuing. When a prospect is a great fit and they have a strong intent to buy, that's where the money is.

From beginners to experts, use this book as a guide to learn new concepts, a reference to refresh your memory, or a resource to help audit what B2B data you currently have at your fingertips and how you're using it. We hope you enjoy finding the "who" behind your customers. Now, pour yourself a Don Draper Old Fashioned or a newer-fashioned LaCroix, and we'll get started.

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