A touch of B2B behavioral targeting

Demandbase, a real-time targeting company, today announced the release of a display advertising service designed to give B2B marketers the ability to serve up online ads to B2B prospects at specified companies or industries.

Demandbase claims to own a proprietary database of more than 1.5 billion corporate IP addresses that it can use to target ads to either a specific prospect list, a generic request such as Fortune 1,000 companies, or merely a set of company attributes.

“Lots of companies have be able to map IP addresses for geo-targeting, but we figured out a way to map IP addresses by company. It’s something we’ve built up over several years,” says Demandbase CMO Greg Ott. “So ads placed using our database can be individually customized to certain industries or companies, in the same way that a salesperson would personalize the information he puts into a client letter.”

Ads placed through the Demandbase Company-Targeted Advertising system, for the most part, seek to gain greater click-through to the advertiser’s website. “The single biggest predictor of buying intent in B2B is website activity,” Ott says. “No one is going to buy your cloud-based solution or your medical equipment without first Googling you and checking out your company.”

Once prospects engage on a website, they can be tracked and served with ad content relevant to their stage in the sales cycle. “The marketer might decide it’s time to reinforce his company’s brand with the prospect, or maybe offer him a white paper of specific interest to someone in his industry,” says Ott.

Demandbase set up a network to acquire media directly or through real-time bidding on established ad exchanges. It can issue website traffic reports to clients on a real-time basis. “Because the ad is served using our proprietary data, we know when someone from a client’s target list—be it Chevron or Caterpillar or Blue Cross—is engaged on their website,” Ottsays. “They can go to their salespeople and say, ‘Hey, your guy was just on our website. Maybe you should call him.’”

StrongMail, a cross-channel marketing provider for enterprise brands such as Sony, AT&T, and MasterCard, was one of the beta testers of Demandbase’s targeted ad service. Before taking part in the project, it tested a campaign on a control list of 500 companies and got 10% of them clicking through to the StrongMail website. When it used the same list in a campaign applying Demndbase’s Company-Targeted system, click-throughs were five times higher.

“This is a tool that no other company we’ve worked with can provide, because what they’ve done is ID companies,” says John Dering, senior marketing programs manager at StrongMail. “You’ve achieved your goal after that ad is clicked, because you can now engage that customer with more dynamic information.”

Dering reported that StrongMail senior management approved an increase in his online ad budget based on the beta test. He and his team are now preparing a five-pronged approach to convert leads drawn to their website by display ads.

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