At B2BNXT in March, Phil Barden, author of the book, “Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy”, said: “When faced with a hundred choices, people go for the cheapest option or the brand they know. They often just give up.”

That’s because the brain is wired to take the path of least resistance. It wants to use as little energy as possible to make a decision.

On top of that, everyone’s brain is wired slightly differently, making it just that little bit more difficult – but once you understand that, you’re ready to take the logical next step in affecting the modern B2B buyer’s decision-making process: personalisation.   

Here’s a quick rundown of where we are now with personalisation, and how you start your own journey to personalised marketing.

Is personalisation the future of B2B marketing?

Yes. It’s what buyers want, so it’s what marketers need to give them. It’s becoming increasingly hard to argue against personalisation being the future.

But when 80% of B2B enterprise stakeholders believe that personalised content is more effective, why were only 60% doing it at the time of the survey?

There are a few reasons, but none of them are big enough to be showstoppers. It comes down to a lack of the right:

  • Technology stack (59%)
  • Resources (59%)
  • Data (53%)

These percentages will continue to decline as marketers get their heads around the systems, technologies and automation needed to provide personalised messages and experiences.

A personalisation spectrum

Marketers have been personalising their marketing for many years, but at a basic level. There are multiple levels of personalisation, including:

  • Email personalisation, which is a basic function in any decent email marketing software
  • Customised web experiences, which remember a buyer’s last visit and offer content or products based on their earlier choices
  • High-end personalisation, which supports the buyer’s journey with the right content and experience at the right time. Content and experiences are personalised based on behavioural and predictive data, and that makes it a whole lot different

So, how do you get to the future?

If you’re starting from scratch, it’s going to take a bit of work to set up, but it’ll pay off.

First of all, trying to do personalisation without automation involved is next to impossible. Doing it manually will:

  • Drive up the cost to sell
  • Limit the impact of investments in targeting, digital transformation and CRM technology
  • Slow down the process of getting relevant messages to market
  • Drain senior management’s time and attention.

Secondly, you need to have data that will fuel personalised content. That means using well-planned tracking eco-systems that let you collect data in a smart and efficient way, from all types of sources and digital marketing activities.

So, is it really all that difficult? It doesn’t have to be.

It might be easier to first think about how you can personalise your content. Demand Metric has broken content personalisation into various categories:

  • Segment specific – personalised by industry vertical or segment criteria
  • Persona specific – personalised for specific buyer types
  • Stage specific – personalised for a stage of the buying process
  • Account specific – personalised for a specific prospect organisation
  • Lead specific – personalised for an individual lead

As you might have figured out by looking at this list, you don’t necessarily have to create brand new content for each individual. You can repurpose existing content and target it at ‘lookalike’ accounts.

It’s time to get started

If you don’t fancy setting up a whole new system overnight, it’s okay to take baby steps.

For example, you could start by setting up a consistent tagging structure for your content, then map your tracking to find insights about your content tags.

This way, after a short amount of time, you can start segmenting data, create personas and find out which content types are most suitable for each part of the buying journey.

More advanced MarTech tools will allow you to build account-specific and individual profiles. And with that under your belt? You can go all the way down the rabbit hole.

But that rabbit hole can get very deep, very quickly if you’re not careful, so if you want a more structured, thought-out journey to personalised marketing, please get in touch to find out how MOI can help.

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