Behind the Scenes of Marketing Personalization

Written by: Patrick Kilgore on 12/15/16 2:08 PM

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Every day we’re marketed to in a fashion that has nothing to do with us. We’ve grown so used to this phenomenon, in fact, that most of us hardly see poorly matched advertisements or emails anymore. The marketers behind those messages are likely wasting both their time and money.

Ensuring your marketing reaches the audience for whom its specifically intended for, however, isn’t easy. Fortunately, thanks to modern marketing technology, it’s possible. For your business to start seeing the results that come with effective marketing personalization, there are a few steps you should take to increase your chances of getting it right.

  1. Take on a data-cleansing project.

High-quality, refreshed data is necessary in order to understand who you’re interacting with, what they’re interested in, and where they are in the buyer’s journey. If any of the data you have is incorrect or incomplete, it will have an influence on your results.

Analyze your current data sets to find any missing information, duplicates, and inaccuracies and work to fill in and update your database accordingly. According to HubSpot, your database is decaying at approximately 22.5% annually. If your data has been aging for an extended period, you may want to look into solutions to verify your contacts are still in their roles. As marketers move from one organization to another, your database with accurate names can quickly reflect latent positions. 

  1. Make sure your personas are specific, clear, and up-to-date.

When was the last time you updated your personas? Developing them once isn’t good enough, you need to revisit and update your personas periodically based on the data you’ve collected and any trends in industry or technology that influence user behavior.

Your personalization efforts will be based on matching your prospects to your personas and delivering up content based on what you know about them. If you’ve been precise in this exercise, then your leads will receive information specific to their needs and concerns. If your personas are outdated or off-target, then the likelihood increases that any marketing you get in front of them will strike them as irrelevant and ignorable.

  1. Shift to ABM.

Account-based marketing is all about focusing on specific organizations and customizing the marketing you present to them. The first step toward ABM is developing a list of target accounts and learning as much about them as possible.

From there, you can leverage ad tech and nurture campaigns to message to the specific needs of your audience – be it on a per account or per account-type basis. Having a number of company profiles will ensure you’re not presenting the same messaging to a variety of prospects.

While ABM isn’t an entirely new approach to marketing, it’s been reborn in the last few years thanks to tools that allow us to drill into our data and learn more about customer behavior.

  1. Uncover the Next Best Message based on data.

B2B buyers often interact with a brand numerous times prior to connecting with sales and still further before making a purchase decision. Someone in the early awareness phase who’s landed on your website for the first time will benefit from different information than a prospect who’s conducted research and is close to a purchase decision.

As such, you need to be able to track your prospects’ interactions in real-time if you’re going to gain sophistication beyond the common drip variety. Selecting the Next Best Message at scale, however, can only be determined by your data.

Pay attention to which marketing materials, messages, and CTAs most consistently lead specific personas to continue engaging with your brand in the desired fashion. By learning the sequence of marketing activities that has most commonly resulted in closed won business, you’ll gain insights into the Next Best Message required. If a prospect is slated to receive the wrong message next, serve them the content that will have an impact on revenue rather than what was on deck in your standard drip program. 

  1. Adapt your messaging dynamically

Another approach to consider is that of adapting your content to your audience dynamically. This could be as simple as using cookies to serve a different message the first time a prospect lands on your site versus return visits – a common practice in ecommerce for abandoned carts and promotions.

In B2B, there are solutions designed to allow your landing pages or website to adapt based on predefined criteria (e.g. one company sees a different message than the next on the same page). This approach not only reinforces ABM, but can be mapped to your personas or target account lists.

In addition to having the right technology, marketing personalization requires a lot of work from your marketing team. Creating multiple versions of all your marketing materials that account for the distinct needs and interests of your various personas will involve some real time, thought, and effort. But the results can make that effort well worth it.

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Topics: Hive9, Marketing Personalization