Businesses spend around $40 billion a year on digital content marketing, and Demandbase, which announced a $65 million financing round on Thursday, is looking to cut itself a slice of the pie.
Led by existing investor Sageview Capital with participation by a smorgasbord of others, including Adobe Systems, Altos Ventures and Sigma Partners, the financing is a combination of equity and debt and brings Demandbase’s total funding to $150 million since 2008.
The fresh cash will be poured directly into a bucket labeled “artificial intelligence,” said Demandbase CEO Chris Golec.
“The opportunity is to apply AI to the data we’re sitting on – 3 billion visits per months across all of our customers and 50 billion impressions that come through our DSP every month,” Golec said.
As Demandbase rolls up its sleeves on AI, the company plans to increase headcount from 250 to more than 300 with a particular focus on data science and engineering roles.
The Demandbase technology enables B2B marketers to target consistent, personalized messaging to multiple prospects within a group, aka account-based marketing, by mapping IP address to specific companies and URLs to specific products, service or interests.
Last year, Demandbase acquired Spiderbook, a data science startup founded by Oracle vets, that uses machine learning to automate the process of identifying in-market accounts and the most viable leads within those groups.
The question of who to advertise to is far more complicated in the B2B space than in the consumer-facing world. The buying cycle is longer and teams, rather than individuals, usually make the buying decisions.
“Using AI, you can execute marketing to ensure that you’re showing the right content and then you can measure that activity,” said Golec, noting that the application of artificial intelligence to search is one particularly tantalizing prospect in which Demandbase intends to invest. “It’s the difference between guessing at the keyword you think will make people come to your site and knowing exactly which keywords will attract a company to your business.”
The type of marketer looking to adopt B2B marketing tactics is also expanding, Golec said.
Two years ago, around 70% of Demandbase’s customers were high-tech companies like Google-owned API management provider Apigee or cloud-based enterprise performance platform Host Analytics.
Today, tech companies only represent about 45% of its client base as other sectors like banking, health care and manufacturing put more juice into their B2B marketing efforts. GE and Siemens are both relatively new Demandbase customer wins.
“The whole B2B segment has been massively underserved and most marketing technology is driven around B2C, cookies and consumers,” Golec said. “We’re focused on building from the ground up to help companies do a better job marketing themselves to other companies.”