Editor's note: Yash Gad is the founder and chief data scientist of Ringer Sciences. He can be reached at yash.gad@ringersciences.com. Sally Slater is head of innovation for the Bliss Group. She can be reached at sslater@theblissgrp.com. 

Marketers can agree on a simple truism: To reach your target audience and motivate them to action, you need to understand what makes them tick.

Yet for B2B marketers, that is easier said than done. Today, most organizations get intelligence on B2B buyers in one of two ways: 1) traditional market research in the form of surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews; and/or 2) first-party website data.

Traditional market research is a valuable input into marketing strategy but it can be time-consuming, expensive and, ultimately, only representative of a single moment in time. If the business environment changes, the data becomes obsolete.

First-party website data also provides a wealth of insight but with limitations. Tools like Google Analytics can provide insight into overall user behavior but unless a website visitor is already a known user, you can’t easily distinguish between traffic from qualified buyers and irrelevant activity. 

And what about the online behavior of buyers outside your website? Your site is just one touchpoint of many in the B2B buying journey and is seldom the first stop. Until recently, B2B audience behavior outside the four walls of the company website has been a black box.

In most aspects of marketing, B2C companies are ahead of their B2B counterparts. The capability to leverage audience data is no exception. Consumer intelligence is now a foundational component of the B2C marketing playbook. Thanks to forerunners like Netflix and Amazon, consumers now expect businesses to deliver a seamless, hyper-personalized customer experience. Meeting that expectation requires a 360-degree view of the customer and behavioral insights...