How to Deliver Better B2B Digital Marketing Results
Combining disciplines like behavioral analysis and data analytics enables B2B marketers to have a deeper understanding of their target audiences, identify patterns, and implement digital marketing campaigns that generate solid outcomes.
Join us as we talk to certified data scientist Michelle Bassett (Founder, BIZQOR) about the value of leveraging behavioral analysis and data analytics for better B2B marketing results. During our conversation, Michelle talks to us about what these specialized fields help organizations to solve and what pitfalls to avoid. She also provides us with some actionable tips on how to make sense of all the data to get marketing budgets approved.
Topics discussed in episode
Companies and links mentioned
Michelle Bassett, Christian Klepp
Christian Klepp 00:03
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt the industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp. Okay, everyone, welcome to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. So this is your host, Christian Klepp. And today, I am joined by someone on a mission to combine digital marketing and data science to deliver better B2B marketing results. So Michelle Bassett, welcome to the show.
Michelle Bassett 01:09
Thank you for having me.
Christian Klepp 01:11
Great to be connected Michelle. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Because I know that introduction sounded like a bit of a mouthful, but it’s highly relevant, it’s very useful, and I have no doubt that you are going to knock this conversation out of the park.
Michelle Bassett 01:25
I’ll give it my best!
Christian Klepp 01:29
Michelle, I mean, this is short of stating the obvious, but your professional background is incredible. So you have this unique blend of expertise. And let me see if I can get this right. behavioral science, data analytics and internet marketing. So for this conversation, let’s focus on a topic that I believe has become part of your professional mission. And that is the value of combining behavioral analysis and data analytics for better B2B digital marketing results. So if we were to kick off this conversation with a question, let it be this, why is the understanding of these different disciplines important for B2B digital marketing?
Michelle Bassett 02:10
Well, for B2B digital marketing, it’s important to have this combination, or at least to be aware of this combination, because it happens organically, people are behaving and users are using. And so there are data points that come from that. And part of my behavioral analysis background, most people associate it with ABA therapy, or treating kids with autism or even business organization. As far as the whole. I think it’s called organizational behavior management companies who come in and restructure companies based on, you know, different personalities and job functions and things like that. But when it comes to marketing, and B2B marketing, specifically, having that, that junction of understanding of things that are happening anyway, just it is gonna, it’s just gonna make your marketing campaigns that much stronger.
Christian Klepp 03:09
Fantastic, fantastic. And we will get into the nitty gritty aspects of that later on the conversation. But that was such a great segue into the next question. And I have no doubt, you will have no problem answering this question, because you’ve probably seen at all, mistakes and misconceptions. So when we’re talking about combining these different disciplines, what are some of these things that you’ve seen out there, that mistakes that marketers make? And how should they get the rest of them?
Michelle Bassett 03:40
Well, there are a few. Again, I’ve worked in many, many disciplines in many, many different companies. The main one is what I’m calling data next, right? So if you think about fishing, and you make your net or you cast your net, there’s data net. So if you are a company that uses Google Analytics, per say, nine times out of 10, you probably either should be using Google Tag Manager, or some sort of, or some sort of platform tag management software that collects that information. So whether it’s a Facebook pixel manager, or ad roll for your retargeting efforts, or what have you, there is a data net, something that’s capturing front end data and sending it to the back end, so that you can analyze the those numbers so just not setting those at all. I’ve seen a lot of companies who were pretty successful, pretty profitable. A lot of them had either no D&A team, or D&A is a data and analysis team, which is more engineer, an analyst position. Or they just, I guess, forgot to set the data nets. I don’t know what happened. And the marketers are left jumping from platform to platform and trying to figure out, okay, did this person click on this button or did this person click on that button. And they never really know if their marketing campaigns as a whole was successful down to the user journey. It’s always these high level, you go on YouTube, you see, okay, I had this many impressions and this many conversions. But even your conversions are a little bit off, because the pixel was never set properly. And you don’t actually understand what those particular impressions and those visits actually mean in the grand scheme of things, because you don’t have the whole whole picture of what your organic traffic even looks like. Didn’t even compare your actual marketing, your paid marketing efforts rather. And so that’s one of the biggest ones. Another one is just generally just being overwhelmed by the idea that today I have to look at numbers. And so a lot of times marketers are put in this creative box. And yes, marketing is creative. And it’s fun. And you get to make all this content and all these visuals, and you get to play inside the Illustrator and, and all these lovely, artsy crafty areas. But for validation purposes, you really want to make sure that the numbers and your creativity go hand in hand. So it was not setting those data nets at all. And just being afraid, essentially, of numbers. And I feel like that’s where a lot of people fall short.
Christian Klepp 06:34
Absolutely agree. Absolutely agree. I did have one follow up question for you. And I’m pretty sure you can answer it. Not everybody is going to be a trained data scientist going into this. And I believe that was also part of part of your point. And there is definitely the factor of becoming overwhelmed with all the data and the attributes and the numbers to look at. So let’s just assume because there are listeners out there that are most likely facing these situations, right? Going into this, what is the best way for them to tackle these this type of problem, like the ones that you’ve just mentioned, without necessarily having to be the data scientist? So let’s look at this from a, maybe like a more top view perspective, if we if we can?
Michelle Bassett 07:22
Okay, so to kind of combat that, right. So no one besides me, and like six other people in the world are internet marketers and data scientists, right. So, so let’s clear that here and you do not in any way, shape or form have to be a data scientist. But at the end of the day, most of your of your platforms are going to come with some sort of an analytics. So as far as dipping your toe in the water, kind of just starting to look at numbers, I would say find the metric that is most impactful for you, and start there. And so we call them KPIs or key performance indicators. So find your one, your main one, not impressions, not necessarily anything that’s out of your control. But the main thing that your job is paid off of, find that one thing for you, and learn everything about that one number, and then improve that one number either by saying hey, I need more data around how many people went from this page to this page on this page? Or I need more data around this particular marketing channel? And then really, really, really hone in on that number. Once you perfect that number, and for those of you who report to see CMOs or CTOs or whatever, and you can tie that number to bottom line revenue, and profit, then you’ll get more and more comfortable because you’ll eventually be rewarded for your efforts. And again, it’s just one number. Start with one. That one thing, The one thing Yep. One thing.
Christian Klepp 09:21
Fantastic. Fantastic. Michelle, in your experience, what types of core problems and give us maybe three to five? What types of core problems do behavioral analysis and data analytics solve for B2B marketers?
Michelle Bassett 09:37
Well, the biggest problem, and I necessarily wouldn’t call it a problem, I would say it’s a road to discovery, but then I’m being all romantic and marketer-y at that point, right. But there’s a lot of power in customer journey mapping. It was… There’s no big buzzword around it right now. But I would say maybe like 2016-2017, there was a lot of big name, big brand push to know exactly what a user were doing on your website, on your app, and how that because again, it’s the 2017, and then how did it get from the internet, to your store. Um, I worked with a large company… a large, a large restaurant company in America. And they sold chicken, by the way, and they were really, really, really, really concerned about their marketing campaigns, specifically on Facebook, and how many people got from the marketing campaign to the store. And so we literally drilled down, and then the whole behavior analysis part of that, or the behavir modification part of that is that I know the levers to pull, and the things to tweak or conversion rate optimization, current buzzword, to make those people get into the store without necessarily saying, Okay, here’s a free coupon for this, or that or the third, but be able to track those users from online behavior to offline behavior without being creepy about it, because you can get real creepy, real fast. But that is the main one. So conversion rate optimization and journey, customer journey mapping, essentially, having those data points that we make every day, and being able to look at it from a higher perspective without getting into people’s personal lives. And now, you know, it’s a whole, it’s a whole invasion of privacy, and just being able to tweet people in a very ethical sound way, but to, but to ultimately increase profits.
Christian Klepp 11:57
Absolutely, absolutely. And I’m glad you brought that up about, you know, the sensitivity around the data or privacy information or what have you. Because I guess, I suppose in the United States, that depends on which state you’re talking about. But also, for example, over in the EU, you’ve got the GDPR. So there’s a lot of like, sensitivity around using people’s personal information and those details, right?
Michelle Bassett 12:24
Christian Klepp 12:25
Okay. So we’re moving on from that topic to another one, which you’ve talked about it a bit in the past couple of minutes. But again, behavioral analysis and data analytics, they’re both topics that can generally be… except for you and the other people, it can be pretty overwhelming. And we did talk about like, Okay, you mentioned, focus on that one particular metric and concentrate some efforts on around that attribute, that particular metric or attribute. But if the B2B marketers, the folks that are listening to the show, and this conversation, if they are following these steps, they’re sifting through all this data, and they’re trying to consolidate it to be presented to, let’s say, members of senior management, the Board of Directors, you’ve been there many times, I’m sure, right.
Michelle Bassett 13:17
Christian Klepp 13:18
They do not want you to present them with a novel. Right?
Michelle Bassett 13:22
Christian Klepp 13:22
They want you to have a presentation that is as succinct and straight to the point as possible, and will tell them what they need to know. And will also hopefully get you the approval and validation that you need from them. So here comes the question, excuse me for the for the really long setup. But how can B2B marketers sift through all that data and information and present them in a way that is A) digestible? And B) which I know you’ve done, gets budgets approved?
Michelle Bassett 13:54
Yes. Okay. So here’s what I tell everybody. And most people don’t believe me at first. But okay, so nine times out of 10, that no matter where you are, you are typically interacting with either your marketing director, your chief marketing officer, and then the Chief Technology Officer sometimes, and then some guy in finance. There’re always some guys in finance is lurking around the corner somewhere, right? And so when I make presentations, and when I have this wall of data in front of me, I have to talk to my higher up, so typically a director and marketing or both, so they want to know the types of campaign and ultimately, your thought process as far as beginning middle and end. So impression, this happened, and here’s how they converted. When it comes to the finance guy, right? He doesn’t care about any of that. He’s like, Look, how much money did you spend? How much money did you make? That’s it, the only thing he cares about, he doesn’t care about the agency you worked with. He doesn’t care about this, he doesn’t care about anything. So what I do is, I have this executive summary slide, it is the first slide and might be two slides, depending on the length of data and length of time. Also, any quarterly reporting or like, or like anything like that, everything is clear cut on this one slide and text format, might be one or two charts. I know people have mixed feelings about pie charts. But it might be one or two charts, one might be a pie chart. I don’t know, might feel spicy that day. Don’t know. So. On that one executive summary. I’m giving the beginning, middle and end, that I’m saying, Okay, here’s how much money we spent. Here’s how much money it produced. And then we can literally end the presentation there. But when I do presentations, I have this thing called “prove it”. So at any time, even including this conversation, at any time, whenever I’m talking to anybody, they have the right to and it gets annoying initially, they have the right to, at any point in time, mid-sentence, say prove it. And then I go to that particular slide because it might be 10, 15 slides. But again, I’m only presenting one or two slides. But if the CMO has a question about, hey, how many different variations in this A|B split test did you do, and essentially says prove it. I already have it pointed out. I already have a slide just just on that. But again, there’s an executive summary, very wordy, not very appealing to the eye, but very wordy, might have one or two, again, visualizations. And then as soon as they say prove it, then I go to a subsequent slide with that data, not a wall of text. It is very visualized, very easy to understand CMOs, they love, they love bar graphs, don’t know why. But they really into bar graphs. Okay. So bar graphs for the higher ups. And again, on occasion, CFO or or finance guy around the corner. He likes pie charts. So, so this, this was the profit for this. This is what I believe the long term investment for this is. Here’s how it affects the customer lifetime value, and so forth and so on. But that is on the “prove it” slide, not on the executive summary slide. So hopefully that answer your question.
Christian Klepp 17:46
Yeah, no, it absolutely does. I mean, when we used to prepare presentations like that, we used to call that the appendix section or the extra ammunition section. So the executive summary and those probably be the three slides that you’re presenting to these very senior people, undoubtedly, you will, you will focus on those. And there were always links in each of those slides in case they did say prove it, or they have more questions, then it redirects them, it redirects you to the to the detail section.
Michelle Bassett 18:19
And kind of… one more point on that right, the more detailed you make the presentation. Again, it’s not for those higher ups, it’s not for budget approvals. But the more detailed you make that presentation, you can always go back to it next campaign and say, this worked, or that didn’t work, and then carry all that logic from there. But if you don’t make that initial draft, and you don’t have that initial information on that, it’s very, very hard to for the next campaign, say, Okay, I’m gonna do XYZ because then you have to start from scratch. But if you don’t have to start from scratch, it makes budget approvals way easier. It and then it also builds a history of your work and your effort and your value. So that come bonus time or whatever time you celebrate in your personal life. Um, you know, it’s kind of all there already.
Christian Klepp 19:17
Absolutely. Absolutely. If I understood what you’ve been explaining in the past couple of minutes correctly, you also have to keep in mind marketing 101, who’s your target… not who’s your target audience, but who’s your audience? Who is this being presented to? Exactly. What are their roles and responsibilities? In this case, because it’s internal within the organization, what their roles are, what do they care about? And more often than not, what will make a light bulb go on in their head? In a good way. Right. So clearly, the chief marketing officer will look at different factors, if compared to like, say, the finance person. Yup. Right. Fantastic. Fantastic. Okay, Michelle, we get to the point in the conversation where we’re talking about actionable tips. And I know you’ve given some already. Yes. But let’s just imagine if somebody were listening to this conversation. And they were faced with this dilemma that we have so vividly painted here. And they were going to walk away from this and take action on it, what are like maybe three to five things that you could tell them to do right now that they can act upon?
Michelle Bassett 20:33
Okay. So three to five things that you can act on right now. One, one would be picking that one thing. So we already talked about that. Two, would be not being afraid to mess up. We don’t talk about that as much, especially from like a corporate point of view. But when you’re in a creative spot, and you might have you know, a $25,000 budget for this campaign. A lot of times we don’t take those shots, especially early on in our career. Because we don’t want to look bad. And when you don’t want to look bad, you typically don’t ask questions. And my biggest thing, as a digital marketer / data scientists, is you have to ask questions, even if you’re asking yourself these questions, because sometimes I need expert advice, and I have to talk to myself. But you have to ask the right questions to get to the right place. And so sometimes you don’t have enough data to move forward with your marketing campaign. So you have to miss, like, it’s fine, it’s fine if you mess up. Now, I don’t know if the CFO thinks it’s fine. But spend a little bit of your budget, maybe it’s 5%, maybe it’s 10%, depending on how big your budget in your market is to just mess up, throw the spaghetti on the wall, and kind of see what sticks with math, mathematically see what sticks. And then and then improve from there. A lot of marketing, especially product, and we didn’t talk a lot about product design and product pushes and things like that. But when it comes to a SaaS product, specifically, treating your marketing campaigns the same way your engineers and developers treat the software, it’s very, there are a lot of iterations involved. And you have to treat your marketing campaigns similarly. And so that was, don’t be afraid to mess up. Don’t, don’t, don’t be afraid. Just do it, see what happens. It’s only money, but it’s only money, right. And then also, the last one that I’m just gonna throw out here is if a marketing channel suddenly stops working, that is okay as well. It may have worked in January, like Facebook may have been really, really, really good for you. YouTube may have been really, really, really good for you. And now it’s not, or maybe the CPA or cost per acquisition is no longer what it used to be. And that is okay, everything costs more now, because of supposedly inflation, but my views on that. So it’s like, you really have to find what works for you. And that goes back to not being scared. You might have to try a brand new marketing platform. Instead of you know, Instagram ads, you might have to do native or display ads on Bing, right. So don’t be afraid. So it was all about not being afraid. It was a pick. So pick your one thing. Don’t be afraid to try different things and new things. And don’t be afraid to change marketing channels. So now you’re afraid.
Christian Klepp 24:17
Yeah, have courage. Yeah. Afraid. Pick up that sword. Right. And, yeah, on the topic of inflation, I would say that that’s probably a topic for another podcast that is more politically inclined, or economic. Right? Yes. No, thanks for sharing those. And that’s a great segue into the next question. And I know you’ve spoken about metrics a little bit and you did say pick that one thing. So I’m gonna throw that right back at you and say, well, just from your experience, what exactly is that one thing or I suppose it depends on the organization. Vertical, what they want to measure? what campaign they’re running that stage in which the campaign is… like over to you? What type of metrics should B2B marketers be paying attention to?
Michelle Bassett 25:13
Okay, um, this is gonna sound controversial, hear me out. And so this is me coming from a point of view of, I’ve done big for profit, medium for profit, small for profit. And I’ve also done nonprofit. So, really what it comes down to, this kind of goes back to the previous point that we were talking about with changing your marketing platforms and distribution networks. Okay, so the main metric, the main metric is going to be market saturation. So a lot of times out of the box, your platform might not have a market saturation tool. I know Facebook does. But if you dig a little bit deeper, and you can actually request. I know Outbrain does it. If you request like additional numbers, they’ll tell you. Same thing for HubSpot. HubSpot actually has a lot of data that I’m like, How’d you guys get this information like I don’t want to know. So market and audience saturation can be your best friend. Because eventually, you’ll have a plateau. It’s called the point of diminishing returns. That’s typically what people call it, where they’ve been doing good, they’ve been doing good, they’ve been going up, they’ve been going up. Now all of a sudden, they’ve kinda teeter… not even teeter off. But like, no matter how much money they spend, no matter how much content they make, no matter what happens, they never really grow, they might kind of blip up here and there. But they never really skyrocket the way that they, you know, probably promise nine times out of 10. And that’s because the area is saturated, especially for local, like actual brick and mortar companies. A lot of times outside of that five mile radius, you’re not going to get a lot of traffic coming in. If you’re a dentist office, which I don’t know if there’s a lot of dentists listening to this. But that’s the only thing that I think of. You’re only going to have that three, maybe five mile radius. And that’s just for general dentistry. Now, if you’re some kind of special doctor who does special doctor stuff, then then you know, might be a little bit bigger. But when it comes to like, any sort of major enterprise things where there was a location barrier, and geofencing involved. There’s only so many people who who live in that area. So if they haven’t acted on, you know, engagement point 11, engagement point 15. They, they might not do it at all. And so you have to take that into consideration, especially when you’re looking at your individual platforms as well. Well, how much audience and market saturation can I really get? And again, people find that controversial, so.
Christian Klepp 28:21
Open to interpretation, I suppose. Yeah. Like, yeah, no, I mean, I think that was a really good point. And, you know, thanks for sharing your insights on that. All right. Michelle, I kind of feel like you’ve been on your soapbox all this time, but just stay up there a little bit longer. All right. A status quo in your areas, plural, of expertise, that you passionately disagree with and why. And please only pick one.
Michelle Bassett 28:50
So the main status quo thing that I feel is a little bit overrated is a social media presence. Now for a large corporation who has B2B and they sell, you know, toilet paper inside a commercial buildings. A social media presence may not be needed. Now, if you scale that down to someone like me, who is doing a podcast, you know, it may it may be more inclined for me to have one. But really, I have the socials. I’m not really on socials. And so I honestly honestly honestly don’t believe that the amount of content creation, content management and content preparation that it takes to go viral because everyone wants to go viral, and they’re never prepared to go viral. It’s all the whole thing. Everybody wants to go viral. Um, that’s not needed to have a good sound financially stable business as a whole, but marketing campaign. Now if your goal as a marketer is to go viral, then you have to have certain things in place to capture that viral-ness. Right. And so, if you’re trying just to accidentally go viral, don’t do it, it’s just, it’s gonna be a waste and then you’re gonna get bad PR, it’s just gonna go bad for a reason. But I really think that posting three times a day, on five different social media platforms, and doing Tik Tok dances for every single business, for as far as the status quo for marketer is, is not necessary. It’s just not necessary. And you know, Tik Tok has taken everything by storm. And the cost per acquisition, or the cost per impression is super-duper low, and everybody’s jumping on the bandwagon. And there are a lot of businesses who can thrive from Tik Tok fame and viral videos going out. But if you are, if you are a Procter and Gamble, and you are supplying paper to, you know, businesses all over the world, or you’re Xerox or whatever, you sell big industrial printers. I don’t see it. I just don’t see Tik Tok dances on top of the printer, like, I don’t get it, I don’t get it. And I don’t think that the money is well spent in that area. I think customer outreach, customer engagement, maybe even gift-ology if we take it offline, and start to track on some of those behavioral things, would actually be more beneficial than paying some influencer to dance on top of one of your printers.
Christian Klepp 31:58
Absolutely. No, no, I 100% agree with that. And you know, I’ve had this conversation with a couple of guests on the show. And I had a discussion with another with a gentleman a couple of weeks ago, on the topic of developing case studies for B2B And you know, he had clients that come to him as to say that, you know, we want something that goes viral. And quite frankly, if you’re developing content to your point, in B2B, in specialized B2B sectors with the hope that it’s going viral. A) I think you’re completely missing the point. And B) it’s wishful thinking because you don’t get to the side if your content goes viral. Right. And anyone that tells you otherwise says A) doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And B) Yeah, they probably haven’t done it before. Right. Exactly. And and C) most important of all, is that really, the objective of the exercise, to go viral? And I think the more important question is, what when you do go viral then want?
Michelle Bassett 33:04
Exactly, because most businesses, and most people aren’t set up to even deal with 7 million orders.
Christian Klepp 33:13
Michelle Bassett 33:13
It doesn’t mean people even order. Even if the people order because a lot of times these campaigns will go viral. But that doesn’t improve any brand recognition and people odds are it went viral. So your site, your link isn’t attached to it. So there’s no way even to get back to you. Someone’s gonna say, Oh, look at this goofy ad. And so that’s about it.
Christian Klepp 33:36
And then it extends into this, I call it the realm of like, factors that are outside of your control, like you said, like, then it becomes an order and fulfillment challenge. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Fantastic. Michelle, this has been such a great conversation. And you know, thank you so much for coming on, and for sharing your expertise and experience with the listeners. And maybe there are a few like aspiring data scientists out there. And if there are, how do they get in touch with you?
Michelle Bassett 34:05
Yeah, sure. So, again, I’m not really on the socials. We already talked about this. But LinkedIn, you can find me on LinkedIn, it’s Michelle A Bassett. Or you can email me at Michelle@Newgen.digital. And so I will get back to you as soon as I can on LinkedIn. But if you email me, I probably get back to you like the same day or like the next day depending on when you email me. And I’m always happy to answer your questions or to make fun of finance people, because that’s what I do. So yeah, just reach out.
Christian Klepp 34:53
Fantastic, fantastic. And final question, you’re not related in any ways to Angela Bassett, are you?
Michelle Bassett 34:58
No, probably not I don’t know.
Christian Klepp 35:01
Distant relatives maybe. who knows?
Michelle Bassett 35:04
I did see a picture of her once and I was like, maybe maybe.
Christian Klepp 35:09
Michelle Bassett 35:10
I was filling myself entirely too much that day.
Christian Klepp 35:12
No, fantastic. Michelle, once again, thanks for your time. Take care. Stay safe and talk to you soon.
Michelle Bassett 35:20
Christian Klepp 35:21
Bye for now.
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