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Built on sustainability: How Bombora’s core values create value for both employees and customers

The average American sees 10,000 brand messages a day.

Eighty-two percent of Americans consider online ads to be disruptive.

And all this clutter and negative sentiment makes it hard to build a recognizable brand, and even more so, one people actually hold in high regard.

As many companies fight for awareness with more and more un-targeted dollars, exacerbating the problem with more saturation, Bombora demonstrates an alternative course. An option that prioritizes buying experiences and creating customer value. A more compassionate approach.

With a mission to “revolutionize the way businesses market and sell to other businesses through transparent data built on an ecosystem of quality, collaboration, and innovation,” Bombora’s vision is “a world in which business buyers value sales and marketing for their relevance, timeliness, and accuracy.” But in order to help our customers achieve this, we first have to practice sustainability ourselves.

We’ve built the following six key pillars of sustainability into our business to achieve this.

Protect our world ecosystems, literally

  • ‘Ecosystems are essential’ is one of our core values, and Bombora and Bommies take a number of steps to protect our planet while at work and home. Here are a few highlights:
  • Hosting annual company-wide beach cleanups with the Surfrider Foundation in New York, Reno, and remote employee hometowns
  • Only sourcing sustainable swag — like ApPeel notebooks made from apples — and encouraging our partners to do the same for tradeshows
  • Using e-gifting when possible to reduce environmental impacts of shipping
  • Encouraging remote work and use of Zoom meetings when possible (even before the pandemic!) to reduce unnecessary pollution from commuting
  • Sharing resources on solar energy, composting, urban farming, and other similar topics via Slack

When asking Bommies for examples of practicing sustainability at home, the thread was bursting with ideas. A few standout examples:

“We grow our own veggies and switched to an electric vehicle!” — Billy Lin, Partner Success Manager

"A couple years ago, I purchased a small compost bin for our kitchen, hoping to reuse some of our waste to enrich the soil in our garden. At the time, my then 2-year-old son fell in love with the garden, and it has quickly become one of our favorites things to do together. We have since grown our composting operation, upgrading our equipment and growing all kinds of mushrooms, which are both delicious and beneficial for the soil. I am hopeful we can plant our entire garden this spring on the soil we've composted over the winter!" —- Ryan Moline, Sr. Product Marketing Manager

“I use compost, grow my own veggies and only eat meat that was raised locally and sustainably or harvested by us (I archery hunt deer, elk, and turkey).” — Grace Martin, Sales Development Representative

“I use these Swedish dishcloths instead of paper towels (they're reusable and you can throw them in the washer to clean them), and we don't use any plastic water bottles — we fill up our glass water jugs with sparkling water from a restaurant that makes their own, or simply use our faucet filter.” — Kenna Lawrie, Software Engineer I

Prioritize employee health and wellness

Investing in employee health and wellness has been core to Bombora from day one. For starters, every Bombora employee gets:

  • A competitive salary benchmarked against industry standards and reviewed annually
  • Stock options
  • 401(k) plan with match
  • Comprehensive health benefits for employees and their families
  • Flexible work schedule with unlimited PTO
  • 11 paid holidays
  • Summer Fridays
  • 16 weeks of paid parental leave
  • Regular employee team-building events
  • Healthy snacks and lunches (even for folks working remotely)

Some additional benefits that are less common include:

  • Wellness programs (fitness challenges, yoga, preventing burnout programs)
  • Organization-wide initiatives focused on empowerment, advancement, and celebration of diversity and inclusion (LGBT, International Women’s Day, Pride, Black History Month)
  • Career mentoring and support for internal growth
  • Regular internal workshops and lectures to develop employee skills
  • Thoughtful, regular compensation reviews
  • Tuition reimbursement and an annual $1,000 learning stipend

Additionally, many employees explore the question, “How do you sustain YOURSELF?” Nina Interlandi Bell, Marketing Manager, wrote an entire blog post to share tips with others, including suggestions to “opt-out of the over-scheduled life,” “get an average of 7–9 hours of sleep every single night, NO EXCEPTIONS,” and “practice saying ‘no’ to constant invitations and activities.”

Approach funding mindfully

Note that most of this section is borrowed from a post our CEO Erik penned in 2019 that is still relevant today: “Why Startups Should Stop Celebrating Funding Announcements.

Erik explains that every time an entrepreneur raises money, they make a decision that impacts their future options for additional financing or an exit. An angel round keeps every option open for the future, including selling the company, going public, or eventually doing a venture round. Institutional investors often introduce short-term priorities because they themselves are driven by a charter that stipulates when to make an investment and when that investment should pay off. This can conflict with what’s best for employees and customers.

Bombora’s approach is to take calculated risks and raise money when there is a clear use for it. We prefer celebrating the creation of value and positive outcomes for a customer, not an artificial event like raising money from an investor. By only taking on the funding when needed, we can provide more value to our customers without the outside pressure that comes from aggressive revenue targets driven by evaluation and investment.

Sound familiar? This closely aligns with HubSpot’s four sustainable marketing principles and strategies:

  • Have a larger purpose.
  • Place value ahead of profit.
  • Be consumer-oriented.
  • Reflect sustainability in every aspect of your brand.

Build for longevity

A business’s ability to thrive despite changing market conditions — or even laws — is a critical consolidation. When Google announced plans to eventually eliminate third-party cookies, it no doubt raised reasonable questions about how that would impact third-party Intent data. Not surprisingly, the answer depends on how the foundation of the data was built. More specifically: how the provider determines identity.

Most Intent providers use third-party cookies and/or fingerprinting to determine identity, but even those who use IP addresses typically rely on data from a single vendor with an identity graph that identifies who the visitor is at the company level. One of the key problems with this single-threaded approach is that it yields a fair amount of false positives (we know because we’ve evaluated them all).

Bombora establishes identity differently and more accurately thanks to the Data Co-op.

First of all, only consented data is used — which is a big deal because brand safety and privacy compliance are big priorities for Bombora. Then, with the pool of consented data, three methods are used in concert to establish identity:

  • IP addresses are consented through the use of the consent strings from the publisher's Co-op (no bidstream data is used, unlike most Intent providers). Publisher first-party cookies remain in place after the transition away from third-party cookies, and they also persist when people are working remotely. Since most publishers already collect business-email and self-reported demographic data at login, they can build targeting pools at the company level, while also leveraging contextual signals. Other forms of publisher identity remain as well, including single sign-on (SSO) identity options from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. Bombora is the only Intent data provider with access to this method, thanks to the Co-op.
  • Bombora partners with multiple reputable, consented vendors (like LiveRamp) to create a 'graph-of-graphs' approach to create a high-quality composite signal with minimal false positives.
  • Finally, over the multiple years of experience doing B2B identity resolution, Bombora has built proprietary technology that uses behavioral modeling of activity on IP addresses, combined with our own standards-based domain resolution, and a composition-based use of third-party signals. This increases both reach and accuracy.

Identity resolution is what everyone’s worried about when third-party cookies are eliminated, because identity is exactly what those cookies help establish. However, because Bombora was built with anticipation of an industry shift toward consent-first data collection, the impact to Company Surge® data is minimal.

Read even more about how Company Surge® Intent Data continues to deliver despite challenges like remote work and the cookieless future on our blog.

Source data ethically

Not all Intent data is created equal. Bombora’s data isn’t siphoned or scraped — it’s directly collected, with consent, from our proprietary data source — the only Intent Data Cooperative. This Co-op is made up of direct relationships with a wide variety of more than 4,000 publishers, most of whom specialize in B2B industry-specific content. Seventy percent of websites in the Co-op are exclusive to us. These direct relationships offer unique, often exclusive, access to both browser activity and the content from those sites, capturing over 1bn visits worth of data per day. This ensures you get the most accurate reflection of the buyers’ digital journey and understand their intensity of purchase Intent.

The Co-op provides a few additional unique and important things, including:

  • Consented data (written to first-party cookies — which are not going away) where consent strings can be traced and data can be deleted under regulations such as California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Bombora does not use unconsented data — like data derived from the bidstream — which is in questionable territory and does not meet privacy standards at most enterprise organizations.
  • Access to the full content of articles, including metadata about an article, that we use to derive the Intent topics for our Company Surge® Intent data. Topics have no reliance on cookies or IP addresses.
    Access to visitor data such as IP addresses and first-party cookie data, which are used for identity.
  • Bombora’s products are designed with a privacy-first approach where consent strings are retained along with the capabilities of data deletion under both existing regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, and future regulations, such as those pending in various states and countries.

Sourcing data in a way that adheres to current, and expected future privacy laws, is another way Bombora is built for longevity. Going forward, industry and regulatory privacy shifts will not only not threaten Bombora; they will be differentiating factors that set Bombora apart as an outstanding data provider in an industry where many have built businesses with disregard for the consumer and consent.

Practice sustainable marketing and selling

You often hear marketers talking about aiming for the ‘right message to the right audience at the right time,’ but to do it right, you need to use more data and do less marketing. For example, using a mix of engagement data from your website with third-party Intent data to get a holistic view of research behavior will give you a much better understanding of a prospect’s needs and interests. With that information, you can better align the conversations you’re having and the content you’re sharing with the audience that’s most likely to be interested.

Sustainable marketing is about conservation. It’s about making conscious decisions based on an understanding of their true costs in terms of human attention and trust. Most importantly, it’s about marketing to people or companies that are interested in what you have to offer, with content that they’re interested in and in a format that resonates with them.

The goal of sustainable marketing is to do less but perform better. Fewer ads, emails, and sales calls, done more selectively and effectively. If we do less and we’re more targeted, it’s better for us and certainly better for consumers.

Simply put, sustainable marketing is compassionate marketing.

Below are some of the strategies your sales and marketing team can improve with the help of Intent data to create less pollution in your output:

  • Lead generation: Drive qualified demand by being more targeted and efficient
  • Sales enablement: Conduct more engaging conversations with higher likelihood buyers
  • Digital advertising: Target interested buyers with tailored advertising messages
  • Marketing automation: Segment your lists better to send relevant emails to interested contacts
  • Events management: Source events in areas with greater interest and send more targeted ads or emails to increase attendance
  • Content marketing: Uncover the content topics that your target accounts are interested in to drive better engagement

For more on sustainable marketing, read Demand Marketer Marissa Bialick’s blog post from Earth Day 2021.

Sustainability is woven throughout the fabric of Bombora’s entire business, and it continues to provide a useful framework for decision making and investments company-wide.

It also attracts talent. Jon Gilbert, Head of Campaign Ops, mentioned, “When I joined Bombora, it was clear immediately we have a culture of sustainability that exists and is extremely valued by all. By being stewards of ethical data in everything we do, sustainable marketing is a key part of our core, and helps reinforce that sustainability in work and life is what being a Bommie is all about.”

The idea attracted me personally, and I knew it was real when the hiring manager complimented my interview thank-you note for being on recycled paper. Yep, she read the tiny print on the back of the note card.

And Multimedia Designer Heather Hendrix Russell mused, “A lot of us Bommies are drawn to Bombora for its holistic philosophy of sustainability. I am sure it’s not just internal Bommies, but I bet there are a lot of customers out there who feel the same.” She’s probably right — IBM ran a study in 2020 on consumer behavior and found that “57% of consumers are willing to change their shopping habits to be more environmentally conscious. In the same study, nearly eight out of ten respondents stated that sustainability is important to them.”

So what do you think? Is sustainability important to you? Does it impact your decision to buy from a company? Do you have a sustainable product or idea we should know about? We’d like to hear your thoughts — and we’d love to have you join us in protecting the needs of future generations.