Why Personalization is the Future of B2B Marketing

October 28, 2015 | Elizabeth Wellington


Marketers have a lot of how questions when it comes to demand generation: How do we connect with our target audience? How do we drive sales? How do we engage with one person and everyone at the same time?

The answer is always personalization.

Personalization is not just adding someone’s name to a marketing email — it’s so much more than that. To understand the difference between generalized and personalized content, think about the contrast between a meaningful coffee date between two new friends and an awkward cold call from a telemarketer. In both settings, the person you’re talking to knows your name — but you most likely hung up on one of them immediately.

In marketing, you want to give something to your audience. And not just anything, but something relevant, or you’ll be like that telemarketer and send them running.

How do you know what’s relevant to your audience? Just ask.

If you’re worried about whether it’s worth your while to speak to one person at every step of the buyer’s journey, consider these statistics:

  • 74% of consumers feel frustrated when website content pops up but has nothing to do with their interests.
  • Businesses that personalize their digital presence on average experience a 19% increase in sales.
  • 40% of purchasers buy more from companies that personalize their shopping channels.
  • 71% of the best B2B marketers tailor content to the profiles of the decision maker.
  • In Adobe’s 2014 and 2015 Digital Roadblock Survey, marketers listed “targeting and personalization” as their most important priority.

It’s inevitable — to join the crème de la crème of the marketing world, you need to incorporate personalization into everything you do.

Segment First

Here at SnapApp, we love buyer personas — they are the clearest way to carve out a path toward personalization. For B2B buyers, these personas are defined, not by demographics per se, but by work-related attributes that allow you to target prospects.

The personalization process starts with segmentation. Kevin Bobowski, VP of Demand Generation at Act-On Software says it best:

“Great marketing and a great customer experience is all about personalization. And personalization is driven by segmentation — specifically, understanding your buyers and their needs.”

Knowing your buyers and their needs comes down to specific data at your fingertips. You need to find and dive into digital information to figure out who you’re reaching.

These characteristics not only give you an aggregate visual of your average lead but they create distinct blueprints of each and every lead. Mike Weir, LinkedIn’s Global Head of Category Development told Content Marketing Institute that he recommends content marketers focus on these 5 characteristics, and segment their leads accordingly:

Geography

When you meet someone for the first time, chances are, one of the first things you ask is, “Where are you from?” The distinct locations of your audience members shapes the way they interpret your content as consumers. Plus, knowing where your fan base lives can help you speak to leads directly.

Seniority

In the B2B marketing world, the seniority level of your prospect can make an impact on how you communicate. Are they the decision maker? An executive will have a very different intention in checking out your services than a mid-level manager.

Function

To understand the needs of your client, you need to understand the basics of their role within a company and within their lives. Every stage of the buyer’s journey should be oriented to a particular pain point of your audience. Without understanding their role, you will not be able to identify the problem to address.

Industry

Individuals in different industries will implement and benefit from your product in varying ways. Segmenting by industries allows you to develop niches and boost referrals within individual sectors.

Company Size

The size of a company radically affects both the scope of a potential project as well as the process of clinching a sale. Marketing to solopreneurs and Fortune 500 companies can and should look very different.

An Interactive Solution

Personalizing your marketing campaigns into one-to-one conversations starts with identifying these unique characteristics. Through interactive content, you pose questions that engage leads and naturally segment your prospects into distinct groups.

Within a piece of interactive content, you can guide a potential client along a personalized journey based on their preferences and interests. Instead of creating different pieces for different segments, you can create one experience that serves everyone by offering different routes along the same journey.

This kind of interaction replicates a natural two-way dialogue in an easy, affordable way for marketers — with no developers or IT folks needed! In other words, you create content that speaks to everyone at the same time while engaging on a person-to-person basis. What’s better than that?

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