Data: where to source it, how to understand it, and how to use it to drive B2B results. That was the starting point for Current Asia’s recent B2B Roundtable in Hong Kong. However, the conversation soon expanded from there to cover content, training and organizational issues. It was interesting to see the common threads across the diverse group of senior marketing and communications participants, from the technology sector, finance, professional services, government, and media.

The scene for the discussion was set by Ruth Stevens, named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB Magazine, and a guest lecturer at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She recently co-authored the book B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results, and has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM.

Ruth shared a four-step process for B2B data capture and talked about how it really is a small world when it comes to B2B data marketing. B2B businesses are often in very specific niches and the amount and quality of data available can be limited – especially compared to consumer data. That being said, she also cautioned that data is essential but often underleveraged – often it’s the content that makes the difference.

That’s a theme the participants immediately picked up on. The consensus around the table was that it’s essential to create meaningful content – about real issues and real benefits, rather than just more “B2B blah to blah.” The group also touched on the importance of infographics and video in our multi-lingual region – produced in bite sized pieces.

The conversation moved on to organizational issues. Most companies still haven’t found ways to properly align sales and marketing, but there were some great examples of how to get both sides to agree KPIs that meet everyone’s needs from the outset. And marketers need to source fresh data/prospects to truly add business value, rather than simply providing a service to sales.

And as with some many other conversations about digital, the topic turned to people – how to find them, how to train them, and how to assure the whole team is signed up to truly on board to drive the initiatives forward.

There are times when it seems like digital marketing should change its name to HR!