It’s not just a “nice-to-have” or a small competitive advantage. Personalized marketing is a strategy you must have to survive in an oversaturated market. According to Gartner’s personalization marketing statistics, 79 percent of B2B marketers believe that personalized communication is the best way to engage with potential buyers.
So, what is personalization in marketing? Why do you need hyper-personalization more than traditional personalization? How can you enhance your account-based marketing strategy with hyper-personalization? Keep reading to find out:
Defining personalization and hyper-personalization in B2B marketing
The definition of personalization marketing states that its main goal is adjusting messages and communication approaches based on data.
Hyper-personalized marketing utilizes the power of intent data and machine learning tailored to the exact stage of the individual buyer’s journey. Such technologies help learn if the company needs to buy a solution like yours and uncover their interest.
This marketing strategy is especially relevant for B2B. One example of hyper-personalized account-based marketing is in-depth research about the professional goals of a particular person at a particular company to display a relevant message to that person across various channels.
B2B marketers should understand the difference between standard personalization and hyper-personalization. The first one usually includes accumulating data such as the client’s name and behavioral patterns, while the second allows personalizing the whole of the buyer’s journey. Consequently, if you want to deepen your personalization and deliver advertising beyond email greetings, hyper-personalization is what you need.
Benefits of personalization and behavioral marketing in B2B
A personalized marketing strategy demands effort and the use of costly technologies. Is the strategy really worth it?
Here is a list of personalization benefits that may help you to make a decision and get inspired:
Better customer experience
Decision-makers at enterprise businesses do not have time to read mass emails and interact with irrelevant ads. They want to quickly gain access to useful resources, recognize why they need them, and understand what a specific seller can provide that others cannot. Many of them need several engagements with a company to become truly interested. It’s more about building a relationship than a fast conversion.
On top of this, decision-makers are not always willing to share their personal contact information or fill in forms to receive content.
This brings us to two conclusions:
- The content itself should be highly tailored.
- The tool you use for its distribution must enable you to see the audience’s interactions with it, even if viewers are not keen to submit lead forms.
Let’s take a hypothetical John Smith, who is a VP of Sales at ABC Company. He receives a relevant ad on LinkedIn. It addresses him as a VP of Sales and provides benefits that are pertinent for his position. He is not quite sure yet.
John then sees an ad from the same company on Facebook showing a case study. He proceeds to the website and reads the case study. John then interacts with a few more pieces of marketing communications and starts considering the company. He has not submitted any forms, but suddenly he receives a friendly message from a business development manager — and agrees to talk. And that’s not the end. He continues receiving timely and relevant communication from both sales and marketing teams until he converts and beyond.
Hyper-personalized digital marketing helps to make the message relevant, and the right software allows you to keep it consistent across platforms.
Avoiding the paradox of choice
Your business may provide a variety of services or products. If there is too much on offer, your audience could easily get overwhelmed, which is well-known as a paradox of choice, perfectly explained by an American psychologist Barry Schwartz. Personalization helps you to showcase products that are relevant for the specific business and decision-makers within. Precise recommendations will save you from the phenomenon of clients choosing businesses with fewer goods just because it’s an easier decision.
Since personalization requires effort, it is better to work smarter and devote your top efforts to the right people, rather than giving bits and pieces to everyone with a “spray and pray” approach. Also, some prospects do not need your services. If you keep spamming them with ads or content, the only feeling you will evoke is irritation.
Reasons to avoid over-personalization
Although Gartner’s research revealed that a properly executed personalization strategy has the potential to increase the likelihood of closing the deal by 12 percent, it also demonstrated that poor personalization can decrease the purchase likelihood by 15 percent. For example, conveying the message of “we know everything about you: name, position, location, everything” can understandably creep people out.
Moreover, over-personalization of everything for everyone can result in devoting a lot of time and effort to an account that is less valuable. To avoid this, you need to define clusters of potential customers and prioritize them.
The most reasonable way to deal with different personalization levels is to divide all your targets into 3-5 tiers, depending on your business. There are several things to consider:
- How well does a company meet your buyer persona profile?
- Is the business already in the market looking for a new solution?
- How big is the size of the potential contract?
- What is the current status of your target: is it a cold lead, or are you planning an upsell?
By leveraging the questions above, you divide your target accounts into groups from the most to the least valuable. That defines the level of personalization to be implemented and helps plan your investments accordingly.
Avoid over-personalizing, and save your energy for strategic prospects.
Account-based marketing best practices
The right personalization strategy could raise your account-based marketing efforts to a new level. Getting started is probably one of the most challenging parts of great personalization. Here are the first three things you should do to begin the journey:
Firstly, the content you use in your ABM campaigns can’t be generic. It undermines any relevancy you won through email or advertising. Each target account should be receiving content that is timely and empathetic to their needs and pain points.
To make this scalable across multiple accounts, you can adopt a modular content approach. This is where you produce dynamic collateral that is designed to be repurposed and restructured. This gives the impression of hyper-personalization without excessive manual input. Content automation platforms like Turtl can help automate this process so that all of your target accounts receive a personalized experience through your content.
Secondly, the challenge of B2B marketing is that it needs to precisely target exact decision-makers, not just blanket a whole business with the same message. To achieve this, it’s recommended to write ad copy that leverages the type of business and the positions inside the business. Learn the behavior and pain points of each company type and position to make your messaging appealing.
If you are searching for advanced marketing personalization tools, you might consider using Influ2. It allows you to see the names, companies, and titles of targeted people, as well as their interactions with the campaign. There are many examples of this type of personalized marketing to choose from, including a case study with Aristomenis Capogeannis, Revenue Director at NVIDIA. It showcases the boost in account-based marketing metrics NVIDIA experienced after applying Influ2 to their marketing stack.
Thirdly, no matter how great your marketing efforts are, they won’t ultimately matter if your sales team does not communicate with the leads you generated in a timely and relevant manner. All the communication with a potential buyer should be aligned, and both marketing and salespeople need to be focused on the same accounts.
Once a salesperson receives a signal from marketers that the target person is interested, they should immediately jump into the conversation with communication that is relevant to a specific position, company, and stage of the buyer’s journey.
Measuring the progress and results of your personalized marketing strategy
Before starting the upgrade to personalization, it is beneficial to identify KPIs that you want to focus on and achieve. The KPIs would vary depending on your business type and goals, but here are some of the metrics you could consider:
- Accelerated number of sales calls
- Widened marketing-sourced pipeline
- Increase in win rates
Account-based marketing tactics improve customer experience, help you to become consistent in your marketing efforts, and keep choice paralysis to a minimum.
In summary, personalization helps B2B marketers to develop relationships with their target decision-makers inside the desired accounts. Marketers today are much more than just promoters of brands, products, and services. Consequently, they understand the audience and use appropriate content to encourage engagement.
I believe that ultra-personalization will displace the generic one-size-fits-all approach. Targeting your buying committee with relevant content tailored to their needs is what all of us should be focusing on.