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Can Marketers deliver B2B Personalization at Scale?

By Eleni Lee | June 20, 2019 | 0 Comments


The era of Big Data is over. The era of Data Veracity is here to stay. Speed and accuracy are taking precedence over what was once the age of ‘more’ as B2B marketers strive to influence increasingly autonomous, empowered customers through personalized messages.

With data as the lifeblood of business success, marketers require a well-supported infrastructure supported by cross-collaboration, integrated systems and a content strategy built for scale.

Experimenting with increasingly tailored content has impelled marketers to garner more and more data to satisfy ever evolving customer needs; requiring greater analytical capability and automated intervention. But at what expense?

Verging on the ‘creepiness’ scale, some messages don’t hit the mark and customers left wondering how their data was accessed in the first place. Juggling with production overcapacity and the demand for greater targeting accuracy, marketers need to steer their content creation strategies from ‘‘mass production’’ to mass customization’’.

But how can marketers craft more scalable yet personalized messages while overcoming existing data gaps and capacity burdens?

There are three steps to consider:

1. Segment your Target Audience by Opportunity Size and Fit 

While existing segmentation approaches offer a good baseline for personalization, it’s worth revisiting existing plans alongside Sales and set some mechanisms to standardize how we target customers that can provide the greatest commercial opportunity. To prioritize accounts, commercial leaders can ask themselves questions related to opportunity and fit like:

  • Opportunity questions: What is the future sales potential? Can we win competitively? What is our share of wallet for the existing account and for similar accounts?
  • Fit questions: Do our products and services suit those customer needs well? Is there good internal cooperation?

Once those high-priority segments have been identified, Marketing can outline how to best align future personalization efforts to those accounts. For example, providing more dedicated resources for ‘one to one’, some customized content for ‘one to few’ more mass-market content for ‘one to many’.

To achieve greater scale, Marketing can focus on producing the most customized messages first for those ‘one to one’ accounts, test them in the market and use their learnings to create content for the other segments. That way, they can reuse insights learned or repurpose existing content where relevant in a less resource intensive way

2. Support the Completion of Customer Buying Tasks

Identifying key priority segments would have prompted marketers to understand more about their customer’s business and personal context i.e. the key customer personas. The next step requires marketers to understand how they can best help customers make decisions across their buying journey; with ‘help’ being the key word. Whereas the first step helps capture the overarching needs of that segment, this step requires further insight into the information customers will need as they complete buying tasks. B2B customers are more likely to reward suppliers that ‘‘helps them’’ than suppliers who only demonstrate they ‘‘know them’’.  In fact, Gartner research illustrates that customers are three times more likely to opt for a high-value, low-regret deal if they receive information that help them with purchasing decisions.

3. Select Content Assets Carefully to Minimize Customization

When it comes to aligning content to the customer buying tasks, marketers should reflect on existing content assets and select opportunities for repurposing. When auditing content, there are three possible scenarios:

  • Content that maps to a key buying job and customer question
  • Content that maps to multiple customer questions and jobs
  • Content that maps to no jobs

Typically, older content is not redeployed beyond its initial purpose. Taking the first two scenarios, leading Marketing teams acknowledge that they can repurpose or atomize content as necessary to alleviate the challenge of creating content in volumes. Equally, with the realization of the third scenario, content teams can focus less efforts on content that doesn’t respond well to the completion of customer tasks.

Another consideration based on what leading organizations are implementing, is to create for flexible content under key segments where customers can select the various from the dimensions (such as selection filters on the website) that resonate the most. This feeling of self-selection empowers customers to feel like they’re dictating their own journey while Marketing can reduce the need of over-tailoring.

By following these steps, Marketers can win breakthrough at scale whilst delivering more accurate messages to influence customer decisions.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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