Dark Social is B2B Marketing's Secret Weapon

The majority of B2B buying happens in places where attribution can't track - Dark Social.

If you’re waiting for intent data to start doing marketing, you’re way too late. By the time you see intent data, a major portion of the buying process is already complete.

Too often, marketers think they’re being data-driven but are letting their attribution software lead their strategy in the wrong directions. The most important touch points in a B2B buyer’s journey happen in places that can’t be tracked.

 

Dark Social Visual

When you see an intent signal, your buyer has already talked to their peers about what strategies they’re implementing and what products they’re using. They’ve set their business priorities. They’ve decided what features are most important to them. They’ve selected a preferred vendor. They’ve validated these decisions with peers that they trust. They completed these critical, major steps in their buying process in Dark Social - places where there’s no tracking and no intent data.

These places include:

  • Communities & Groups (Slack groups/channels, Facebook groups, Discord, etc.)
  • Content Platforms (Apple podcast, Spotify, YouTube, etc.)
  • Social Platforms (LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, etc.)
  • Direct Word of Mouth (DMs, text messages, zoom calls, etc.)
  • 3rd Party Events & Meetups (VC/PE groups, etc.)

If you’re not allocating resources to Dark Social, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to make an early impact with your buyers. The reality is, the current state of marketing measurement is inadequate. It’s not fully representative of how modern B2B buying actually happens. It is too heavily reliant on technology that solely measures on the visible touch points in a buying journey. The most important touch points in Dark Social can’t be tracked by your attribution software.

There are other ways to measure attribution. You can ask your customers what made them choose you, run a win/loss analysis, push surveys, or put a “how did you hear about us” free response field on your demo request form.

Once you change how you measure marketing, what you optimize for, and how you think about attribution, it opens up an incredible amount of opportunities for B2B companies.

Dark Social is where you actually win deals. These are the places where you build and dominate categories. These are the places where you create demand.

You can sit around and wait for intent data and fight over buyers that see you as a commodity against 5 other vendors. But a much more effective strategy is to win way before buyers show intent. Then they aren’t comparing you to anybody. When they’re ready to buy, they just choose you.