The Monday Stack: Precision and Scale

Let’s kick off by updating the trajectory of leading ABM player Demandbase. A big part of what the San Francisco-based vendor does is adtech— B2B adtech, of course, with an ABM core. Last week, it announced its next-gen, AI-powered Targeting Solution, aimed at improving transparency on ad cost and publisher performance, and helping with ROI metrics. I got on the phone with CMO Peter Isaacson to find out what this all means.

“We’ve offered account based advertising for a few years now,” he said. “It’s helped B2B marketers focus ads on the accounts which matter most, and helped connect ads to business outcomes.” Rather than, for example, click-through rates. “But there were some challenges which still existed, in particular the need to make a trade-off between precision and scale. You could go to LinkedIn and be very precise in your targeting, but you could only target a limited number of companies. You could go to Google and have huge scale, but there was a ton of waste.”

The transformational element of Targeting Solution, said Isaacson, lies in connecting the precision of LinkedIn with the scale of Google— the ability to extend that precision across potentially thousands of accounts, depending of course on media budget.

Is this primarily for enterprises, prospecting at scale?  “It really does scale from a kind of mid-market company all the way up to enterprise.” Many mid-market companies, he observed, have as many as 1,000 or 2,000 target accounts.

The solution incorporates “intent-based buyer targeting,” he said. “In the past we’ve had the false hope that targeting by title and function, or persona would deliver the type of buyer you want; but they’re such imperfect measures, fuzzy identities really.” Basing targeting on intent means understand what members of a buyer committee are researching and reading. “It’s much more accurate and precise.”

Demandbase will drive the results into a customer’s CRM, giving greater visibility into whether the buyers targeted actually go into pipeline. You can really connect advertising with revenue and business outcome.”

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In case you missed it, Episerver, another vendor we’ve been paying close attention to, was acquired last week by Insight Venture Partners, an private equity firm which specializes in innovative software companies. I contacted CMO James Norwood for more details.

“This is a majority investment in Episerver worldwide,” he said, not just the U.S. business, “which will make Insight Venture Partners the principle owner of Episerver globally. Management also holds a percentage but small compared to IVP.”

I asked if the investment gave a positive boost to Episerver’s plans for scaling the business. “Yes. This is exactly why we chose IVP for this next phase in our company’s history. They specialize in growth and although a private equity firm their background is closer to venture capital; and so we should have better ability to ‘turn the dial.’ IVP are not looking to make major changes, but instead to back our current plans to help accelerate our trajectory and so our scale.”

Any impact on current Episerver customers? “Yes. Part of our ability to accelerate current plans will mean faster delivery of strategic product innovation, which is great for customers as they will get new and enhanced product sooner. It’s also good because IVP intends to help build Episerver’s market awareness, which will help customers feel even more confident in the brand.”

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LinkedIn has rolled out another feature in its growing toolset for advertisers. Now, marketers can take advantage of Dynamic Ads within the LinkedIn Campaign Manager. According to a blog post released Monday, Dynamic Ads will allow brands to create more personalized ads for select target audiences. LinkedIn is also introducing A/B testing for creatives, with results accessible directly in the LinkedIn dashboard. 

The new feature is an extension of ongoing improvements to LinkedIn’s advertising suite, following on the heels of LinkedIn’s native sponsored video advertising capabilities.For more LinkedIn advertising tips,click here

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