The economics of digital advertising have never been a great fit for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Unlike our peers in business-to-consumer (B2C) markets, we rely more on targeted and lead-based communications than mass reach. But — as a recent report that I coauthored with Samantha Merlivat has shown — two trends are changing that dynamic:

  1. Account-based marketing (ABM) is driving interest in outbound channels. ABM includes the tactics of reaching out to known and unknown contacts at target accounts with personalized messaging. This is a great use case for programmatic media buying — enabling you to deliver the ad to a specific person wherever she goes on the web (versus traditional advertising, which is about placing an ad where you hope a specific person, or type of person, will visit).
  2. The programmatic advertising ecosystem is evolving to better support B2B marketing. The buying platforms, data providers, and publishers that previously catered to B2C marketers have begun to increase their resources and alter their approaches to achieve B2B-specific goals.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that despite trend No. 2 above, many B2B marketers will face a tough choice when evaluating programmatic ad solutions today. That's because it can still boil down to using either an ABM ad platform or a traditional B2C demand-side platform (DSP). ABM ad platforms are great at leveraging CRM data for targeting and personalization, but some lack the reach and cost transparency that a DSP can offer. But most DSPs still struggle with account targeting and connecting their results back to your existing engagement processes and reporting structure.

Despite these challenges, the early adopters embracing programmatic are seeing significant positive returns. Take a read through our report here to get our recommendations for an approach that fits your company’s goals — and gives you the background that you need to get started. But you should get started — soon.