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B2B marketing personalization is a broad term that covers a variety of different marketing techniques used to capitalize on the latest data and information that is gathered from the customer.

These techniques can help companies identify with customers and help them solve an issue quickly.

But how does it work? And how can you use it to your advantage?

Let’s step back a bit

Back in the 70s, it was reported that the average person saw between 500 to 1600 ads per day… Fast forward to 2021, and although there are no official figures, the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day.

If you’ve ever lamented the overwhelming amount of spam you receive, you’re not alone: in 2020, 85% of all email traffic worldwide was spam. 

Every single day, your prospective customer is inundated with information that they do not have need. 

The reality for every single B2B business like yours is this: the digital marketing battleground is fierce and brutal.

So how can your B2B company win? How do you get your customers’ attention? 

The solution: tailor your content to stand out and to connect to your audience. That’s where B2B marketing personalization comes in.

The problem is that many companies have tried it before but failed miserably because they didn’t know how to do it right.

If you don’t understand what makes each customer tick, then you won’t be able to create personalized messages that will resonate with them.

This can cause you to lose potential clients or, even worse–alienate existing ones.

In this article, I’ll discuss how marketers can use data to create personalized experiences that drive engagement and revenue growth.

What is marketing personalization?

Marketing personalization is a process of delivering the right content to the right person, at the right time, based on their past behavior, preferences, and patterns.

Personalization includes using data to discover the best communication tools for reaching customers, using web application programming interfaces (APIs) to drive digital engagement, or using customer relationship management (CRM) software to retain current customers.

B2B marketing personalization doesn’t mean targeting every single person with exactly the same message.

The concept is really simple – if you want to sell to someone, tailor your message to their needs and interests. That’s it!

Marketing personalization – why do it?

Personalization allows marketing teams to target their customers with content that is more relevant to them.

It can be used to:

  • increase customer loyalty,
  • increase the number of customers, and
  • reduce the cost of marketing

The goal of marketing personalization is to create a 1:1 communication with customers, which reflects their specific interests and needs at the moment of communication, or interaction in every digital channel.

Remember this: personalization is not just about making marketing and sales individual. It is about making things relevant to the individual.

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How does B2B marketing personalization work?

There are two main types of personalization: behavioral and contextual. Let me explain both briefly.

Behavioral Personalization

This involves using customer data to identify patterns in their buying habits and preferences.

Then, when interacting with those individuals, you can provide individualized messages through targeted offers, read: personalized campaigns, and promotions.

For instance, let’s say you own a software tech company. You could look through your database of previous business customers and see which of them have not upgraded to the latest version of your software.

Based on that “behavior,” you can create a personalized communication by offering discounts for them to upgrade. Or maybe you’d like to promote new features of your latest and greatest software release to them.

In either case, you would provide personalized marketing to these leads.

Contextual Personalization

Contextual personalization is a way to make marketing content more relevant to a user at a specific time in a specific place.

By taking data about user context, including location, time of day, demographic variables, etc, and combining it with behavioral data to determine users’ psychographic profiles, B2B companies can make more relevant content to that user, resulting in a higher engagement and conversion rate.

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How do I get started with marketing personalization?

There are many ways to personalize your marketing messages to your individual customer cluster.

I’ll walk you through three different methods for a personalized marketing strategy, and explain how each works.

Method 1: Use customer data to create customer personas

The first method involves using customer data to build customer personas.

Buyer personas are fictional characters used by digital marketers as they plan out campaigns and create dynamic content – whether its email, social media or web page.  

The key thing about building these personas is that it helps you identify which type of user you need to communicate with for more impactful marketing experiences

If you know exactly who you’re trying to reach, then you can ascertain that all of your messaging applies to them. This means that you won’t waste time sending messages that don’t resonate with your potential customers.

By using data to create personalized content, you can get the attention of the right customers using the right content. And once you’ve got their attention, you keep them engaged with a marketing content that matters to them.

Once you’ve created your personas, you can start creating content specifically targeted at each of that customer base. Let me show you some ways to do this…

Step 1: Create persona profiles

To begin, you’ll need to collect data from your existing database.

You can either ask your current clients directly or look into third-party tools like SalesforceIQ and other robust CRM.

These platforms allow you to pull together demographic details such as age, gender, location, job title, company size, etc.

Step 2: Identify common traits across your personas

Now that you have a list of demographics, you can start identifying similarities between your users.

  • What does everyone share in common?
  • Are any of your personas working remotely?
  • Do they love entertainment?
  • Do they have children?
  • Does anyone own pets?
  • What are their job titles?

Once you’ve identified commonalities, you can group your personas together.

Also, this step isn’t just helpful because it allows you to better organize your data; it also gives you insight into why certain types of people respond well to specific kinds of content.

Step 3: Build personas based on behavior patterns

Now that you’ve grouped your personas together, you can start looking at the behaviors associated with each one.

  • How often do they visit your site?
  • Where do they spend their free time?
  • Who else do they interact with?
  • What time are they typically around digitally?
  • What is their life event?

By understanding the habits of different groups of people, you can craft marketing messages that speak to their unique preferences and interests.

Step 4: Use behavioral triggers to customize your content

What is a behavioral trigger?

A behavioral trigger is a piece of content that triggers a specific action from a visitor. For example, when someone visits your website, they may be interested in learning about your product, but they might also want to learn how to use your software. If you create a video that shows how to use your software, then you’ve just created a behavioral trigger for that person.

One of the best things about having detailed knowledge of your buyer personas is being able to use that information to improve your messaging that impact your sales process.

For example, if you see that a lot of your leads come from LinkedIn, you might consider including tips on how to optimize their profile.

Any small changes go a long way towards improving engagement rates. But remember—not every piece of content works equally well for everybody. So before you try something new, test it first!

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Method 2: Create buyer journeys

A second option is to consider the buying process from initial contact until purchase decision.

By doing so, you can ensure that each of customer journey stages is covered.

If you are looking to increase B2B conversions for your sales teams, then you should look at the customer journey to develop a personalized marketing strategy.

This means understanding the customer experience of how they interact with your brand and how they move through the buying stages using different touch points you create for the entire customer life cycle.

This approach allows you to focus on specific stages of the sales funnel.

As well as helping you better understand where your leads come from, the buyer journey gives you insight into why certain steps may not work. So, instead of just focusing on getting new leads, you can also spend time improving existing ones.

Here’s an example of one such buyer journey:

  1. A prospect sees your ad on Facebook. They click through to your landing page.
  2. On this page, they fill out some basic demographic info. This helps you understand what kind of business they are.
  3. Next, they answer a few short surveys to help you determine whether they would benefit from your services.
  4. Finally, after answering these questions, they receive a personalized welcome email. Besides providing useful information, this email includes a link back to your homepage where they can continue exploring your company.
  5. After clicking through to your homepage, they have several options available to them. These range from viewing case studies to requesting a demo. Depending on which path they choose, they will move down another section of the funnel.

The customer buyer journey is great because it shows you where there are gaps in your B2B marketing communication strategy. And once you see where things aren’t working, you can fix them before moving onto other areas.

If you’re looking to improve your sales funnel, you’ll find that the customer journey is a good place to start in your personalization efforts.

Method 3: Build segmented lists

Finally, we have list-building.

List-building refers to any activity that creates segments of contacts based on criteria.

Once you’ve built your list, you can begin building separate campaigns targeting each segment.

The reason behind this method is pretty straightforward. When you send messages to different groups of people, you increase the chances of reaching those most relevant to your brand.

If you’re a technology company as an example, you can create a list for:

  • Your affiliates
  • Existing software subscribers
  • Your existing partners
  • Your prospects – these are those that are using your software for free

List-building is a powerful tool because it lets you create highly focused groups of contacts. These groups allow you to narrow down quickly your outreach efforts. You can focus on one list at a time. In addition, they give you insights into how different parts of your business communication perform.

Personalization baseline

All these methods require research.

Customer research can help you to better understand your target audience and ultimately create more engaging content that will boost your conversion rates.

Regardless of which b2b marketing personalization method you select, the best way is to start with a baseline, and then segment your audience. Use the 5 Ws and H (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How) are a journalistic method of gathering information.

The purpose is to provide a framework to get information that can be used for research. The questions provide a way to get the details and facts quickly and with a minimum of confusion and time and effort.

The more you can segment your audience, the more effective your b2b marketing personalization strategy will be for future campaigns.

What are some examples of B2B personalization strategies?

Once you have identified your customer, you can personalize your content to fit their needs by:

– Creating different versions of your email based on interests/lists

– Creating custom landing pages for each segment

– Sending targeted ads via social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn

– A/B testing an ad using different images and/or texts that “speak” to your desired audience

– Writing content that addresses certain pain points and needs. (Like anything about personalization, this also needs research)

– Posting content during certain times of days. Note: Your customers do not think about buying your service at 5 in the morning

– Sharing unique social media copies for EACH platform

The key takeaway is that there are several ways to implement personalized messaging within your B2B company.

You don’t have to go overboard; simply using some basic tools will help you create better customer relationships and garner better marketing efforts results.

How do you make sure your B2B marketing personalization is working?

To measure the effectiveness of your B2B marketing efforts, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • Is your content – website, social media ads, and blog content and other content marketing campaigns – converting visitors into leads?
  • How much revenue was generated by each sale?

Let’s get personal!

Using the marketing personalization techniques suggested here – on your website, social media messages, or on your landing pages – can help make your products & services more appealing to your leads and customer.

The more you know about your audience, the more you can customize your marketing messages to make them more responsive. This will help you increase your sales and your ROI.

So, while B2B marketing personalization isn’t easy, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

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