2016: The Year in Marketing Innovation

At any fast-growing company, there’s no shortage of milestones to reflect on at the end of the year (unless they all happened so fast that you can’t remember them). Having just completed our final product release of 2016, we’ve been thinking not just about what’s new in December, but all the work that led us to this moment. The truth is, while every year at a technology company involves a lot of change and hard work, there are some years that are inevitably more exciting than others.

Those are the years when you go beyond the basic grind and do something that changes not only your own business, but maybe even your entire industry. For us, 2016 was one of those years, due largely to a pretty big product decision we made: acquiring another company. If you’re up to speed on your Demandbase news, you’ve already read a lot about our acquisition of Spiderbook, a company that many of our customers were already using to identify target accounts and do sales outreach. In many ways, the acquisition was a no-brainer. Our mission has always been to provide our customers with a full-funnel ABM platform, and Spiderbook filled in important holes both at the beginning and the end of the funnel.

But as we consider this latest release and some of the other work our engineering teams did this year, the acquisition was much, much bigger than adding a few circles to a PowerPoint slide. While having a bunch of products in one place is nice for customers, the real magic comes from the integration of these products. That’s when B2B marketers can start leveraging consistent data sets across the funnel, deriving actionable insights at all stages of “the buyer’s journey,” and finally, automating those actions to close more business.

If you’re a marketer, you’re probably thinking, “Cool, that sounds great!” If you’re an engineer or a data scientist you’re might be thinking, “Wow, that sounds like a lot of work.” (But if you happen to be thinking, “That’s the exact kind of work I’d like to do,” check out our careers page.) We spent a lot of 2016 tackling these challenges, and made some great strides – especially with innovations like DemandGraph, which powers our ability to deliver buyer insights across the entire business internet, and of course, the new coolest kid in B2B: Artificial Intelligence.

That combination of comprehensive, actionable data plus the power of AI has been the driving force behind our 2016 innovation, our 2017 plans and of course our December release, which focuses on key improvements around our four main solution areas: Marketing, Sales, Advertising and Analytics, as well our data.

The release includes some highly visible crowd pleasers, such as the availability of Account Score in our Sales solutions. Previously, Account Score lived in Eloqua to help our customers track and rank website engagement for known accounts in their Marketing Automation System. Now, they’ll be able to see the Account Score for net-new, in-market accounts, which means even more precise, effective prioritization for prospecting and sales outreach.

It also includes some behind the scenes infrastructure work, that will make precise measurement and reporting across all areas of the funnel simpler in 2017. That includes core data enhancements that increase our ability to identify and target what we call a company’s “digital footprint.” In other words: a deep and accurate understanding of how and when to reach the right employee, at the right company, at the right branch – wherever they may be.

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve taken the first step towards leveraging AI in all of our solutions across the funnel. We’re introducing AI into some of our existing solutions, with the first pilots launching next month. It’s the first step in our mission to optimize every micro-moment of the buyer’s journey towards hitting goals and closing deals. And if you think that was a complicated string of words, you should check out the math that goes into making this work.

Or, you can just plan on seeing it for yourself in 2017. And while we could go on and on about AI and the other nifty things in our latest release, we recognize that you’ve probably got a few end-of-year things of your own to handle.

Of course, if you would like to learn more about our December release, you can send us a note. Either way, we’re excited to show you more innovation in 2017!