Data driven marketing is changing the face of marketing today, in both the B2C and the B2B space. Personalization, segmentation and customization of messages designed to suit the customers’ needs, as well as utilization of marketing automation tactics, are critical components of success. And while many marketers understand this on a fundamental level, there are many who aren’t yet adopting these tactics as part of their marketing strategies.
Customization and Personalization, It Happens to Us All
Marketing automation, personalization and targeting happens to us all, on a regular basis. It’s sometimes even a little bit creepy. Have you ever been shopping for something and then days later surfing the web and realize that you’re seeing ads for that item you were shopping for appear pretty much everywhere on the web? That’s just one example of personalization out of many, and it’s called “remarketing” or “retargeting,” which is essentially continuing to serve you “content” (in the form of ads, in this instance) about something you’ve already demonstrated an interest in. From a marketer’s standpoint, since you’ve already expressed interest, either by visiting a website or by making a purchase, you are a “hot prospect.” Chances are good you’ll buy more. I know I do (thank you Coach and Free People, for stalking me so relentlessly and giving me a perfect example to use for this post).
Smart marketers are serving up customized website experiences and remarketing campaigns that rely on browser history, on-site behavior, location, purchase history and so many other things. Email campaigns can be highly personalized based on prior purchase history, segmentation, time of day purchases and so many other things it makes me giddy just to think about it. See? Personalization abounds.
This infographic produced by Monetate (a platform we like a lot but don’t use), is based on data from eConsultancy, Forrester, Garnter, Search Engine Watch, Nielsen and others (read that: an infographic that contains data from sources we trust). I thought it did a great job of explaining some of the changes in marketing in recent years and how personalization and customization are truly the route to success in marketing.
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Get Over the Channel, It’s the Customer That Matters
And as this infographic so clearly illustrates, it’s not about the channel, it’s about the customer. And giving customers a personalized experience based on what they tell us they want (e.g. website visits and on-site behavior, landing page visits, social listening, white paper downloads, purchases, email marketing results and other behavior). And it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about focusing on segmentation and targeting, it’s about testing your messaging and your offers, measuring, then testing again. Over and over and over again. It’s about building loyalty (and rewarding it) and it’s about humanizing your brand so that customers trust you to have the solutions they need and the products or services they want and need—and it’s also about behaving in such a way that they want to buy from you.
Personalization in the B2B Markets
Personalization and letting data drive personalization, which ultimately leads to more leads and more sales, is true in both the B2B and the B2C space. B2C is easy, marketers pretty much get the opportunities there. But when it comes to the B2B customer, that’s where marketers seem to fall off. Here’s an example that we see all the time with companies in the B2B space. They have great data and create white papers that might be of interest to their customer base. And the way they use them? They upload those white papers to their corporate website and let them languish there. Expecting, based on what, I don’t know, for prospects and customers to just magically find that content.
That’s not how it works. And it’s so easy to transform those white papers from static web pages into valuable marketing pieces. Here’s how.
Consider instead taking that same white paper and putting it behind a gate on a landing page. Develop several different versions of the landing page so that you can do A/B testing (which is relatively inexpensive and the data gleaned as a result huge in terms of the ROI of your marketing efforts). Ask for a modicum of information on the gated form like name, title, company, contact information and allow the prospect an easy download of the white paper. Now, you’ve got a lead. And you know a little about that lead, so that you can market to them in the future, based on the information they’ve provided. You know their company, their industry, their position and what information they are interested in and their contact information. That’s what we call lead gen that’s worth something–not to mention an opportunity to develop customized, personalized messages to those leads moving forward.
How much more valuable do you think that might be to you and your company than tossing that white paper out on your corporate website and never having any idea who accesses it, what they’re looking for and how they might benefit from the data (or your company’s services) in the future? That’s rhetorical, by the way—I already know the answer. And I hope you’re nodding in agreement at this point, too.
Personalized Marketing Leads to More Sales, Greater Profitability
If we, as marketers, are creating opportunities that allow customers to tell us what they want and need and let the data we have (which they know about and willingly allow us to collect) guide our marketing, we can serve them better and more efficiently. For them and for us. As a result, we’ll likely sell more stuff.
That’s why it’s important to understand the importance of developing an inbound marketing strategy for your business. It’s important to take stock of your existing marketing strategies and tweak them to adapt to a customer centric viewpoint and to allow for segmentation, personalization and customization of your messaging across different channels. And it’s equally important to know that the marketing exercise doesn’t stop. It’s not like a print ad, where you design the ad and you sit back and wait. Today’s smart marketers continually develop and test new theories, new personalized messaging and campaigns and then let data guide them moving forward. Marketing today is so not a one-size-fits-all exercise—success is most often realized by those who are adept at change and who understand that serving the needs of the customer is the goal to more leads, more sales and greater profitability.