How The Oregon Trail Classic PC Game and 4K-TVs Relate to a B2B Ideal Customer Profile

Do you remember playing the classic Apple IIe computer game called The Oregon Trail?  As a Generation X “child of the ‘80s,” I fondly remember fighting over playing time for this educational game with my peers at our elementary school’s Apple IIe computer in our library.  Who remembers making it so far in The Oregon Trail journey, only to die of dysentery?  Wow, the pioneers of the West endured a perilous yet amazing journey, and our country owes a lot to their courage!

So what does this game have to do with my first-ever blog?

To begin, the graphics of this game were very…average for the time (and that’s putting it nicely). This being said, we didn’t expect (or care for) any better, because it was more about the story of traversing the wilderness that made the game.  Plus, the conversations and fun the game spawned among friends more than made up for the poor graphics.

Early computer game graphics are akin to most companies’ view of their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Parallel those early-gen, very limited graphics, to the understanding that many B2B focused companies have about their target market.  It’s based largely upon segmenting their buyers by the only data they have, which is firmographics-based. In other words, how many employees a company has, or how much revenue a target prospect achieved last year.  Therefore, marketers use what they have and target based on these low-resolution details.

This typical, generalized view of a company’s target market is akin to that low-resolution Apple IIe monitor that displayed The Oregon Trail. Most of what’s known about a target set of companies is reported via a prospect’s submitted lead form—sure, there may be some data enrichment applied, but it’s typically data for data’s sake.  There’s often a lack of rich, detailed insight revealed from that lead form that could really inform a marketing nurture track, as marketers don’t dare ask too many questions for fear of form abandonment.  And Sales has mouths to feed, so they receive these leads, as is.  (With limited intelligence on the lead, Sales often questions what they should be saying to that lead, before their initial outreach.  Or worse, Sales unilaterally decides the lead won’t buy and ignores it.)

Unlike The Oregon Trail, it’s hard for marketers to tell a rich story without granular details

The trouble is, unlike The Oregon Trail, there’s not much of a story marketers can tell to prospects with this low definition view of their target market.  “Mr. Prospect, you’re a great fit for our hardware/software/fill-in-the-blank business solution because you have over 1,000 employees, $200M-$1B in revenue, you’re in the software vertical, and you’re based in Fort Worth, Texas.”  Ha, really?!  That story will never fly, but again, this is what most B2B marketers have to use for segmenting their market and surfacing content/telling stories.

Moreover, firmographics aren’t WHY one business buys from another. Its team buys because it’s invested in particular tech stack components and needs a complimentary (or replacement) solution, or it needs better integration between software.  Additionally, the organization may be hiring for particular roles in their organization, has multiple business locations with collaboration challenges between the offices, and they’ve been researching for collaboration software solutions, thus showing purchase intent. But you won’t have these glorious details and be able to tell better stories for your prospects if you stay with a low-resolution monitor.

How an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform enables a personalized story to be told

Jumping ahead in my analogy, this is where AI and predictive data enrichment come in. Today, we have 4K televisions that I read are soon to be replaced by 8K (are you kidding me?!).

The rich detail of a 4K television screen is something many of us can appreciate as it enables an almost real-life view of a scene.  It’s much like a high-resolution view of a company’s ICP.

This high-resolution ICP is enabled because an AI platform like MintigoAI, collects 1000s of data points (facts like tech stack/marketing stack components in use, business indicators, hiring patterns, even offsite purchase intent) for virtually any company in existence with a website.  We also know which of these facts are most prevalent in our customers’ clients.  This immense level of insight fills in the details of which companies will buy from our clients, helping them find and prioritize similar customers.

We don’t buy our data and limit the details you can see or export into your systems, or charge you when you really want to use the “good stuff.” This enables you to action as much of it as you want with your marketing automation and CRM systems.

I love it when we reveal to our clients for the first time what their true, high-definition ICP really is, including which prospects are likely to buy from them and why.  Due to the rich data Mintigo has self-collected, the commonality of these data points (just like the pixels on a screen) coalesce into the profile of their ideal buyers.

Without a 4K view, the details just aren’t there, and they can’t be used to personalize, segment, and tell a rich story to those ideal prospects about why they should buy.

A high-definition ICP is critical to the success of Account Based Marketing (ABM)

We consistently hear that the view we provide is hands-down, so much more detailed and critical to the success of any ABM program.  It’s like our Global Head of Sales, Tim Long, once said: when building a house – a good foundation is critical for supporting that house.  Your ICP is the foundation for which accounts and leads your business will target with its limited marketing (and sales) resources.  If you execute an ABM strategy with anything less than high-definition view of your ICP, your results will suffer, because you’re inevitably targeting some/many (depending on how poor your ICP is) wrong accounts and leads.

As a former US Army intelligence officer, I know the value that reliable insight plays in making predictions that help our soldiers on the battlefield.  Likewise, in business, this kind of knowledge is power for marketing to help its sellers in the field win.  With AI, making predictions about who will buy enables Marketing and Sales to be fully aligned and enabled to win on the battlefield of business.

However, to win, you first have to tell great stories.  It’s time to tell better stories with more granular, predictive knowledge about your most likely to buy prospects.  If you’re still targeting like it’s 1980, let us know if we can help you move into the age of high-definition and out of the age of The Oregon Trail.  It was fun while it lasted, but we’re all grown-ups now, and we can do better!

(Before I sign off, I must give a tip of the hat to the legendary Tony Yang for originating The Oregon Trail analogy for how Mintigo’s high-definition ICP enables better marketing.)

Jason Mraz


About the author: Jason Mraz has been a Sales Director with Mintigo since October 2015. Prior to Mintigo, Jason was an Account Executive at companies like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, IBM, Concur, Verizon, among others and has almost 20 years of sales experience, most of which within the digital marketing space. He’s found that Mintigo’s predictive intelligence has changed his life as a seller. He’s been married 22 years and enjoys spending time with his two teenagers, watching the Houston Astros, playing with his two dogs (a dachshund and golden/lab mix), and lifting weights while listening to late ‘80s and ‘90s hard rock (ironically, unlike the other Jason Mraz, you won’t catch him onstage singing).