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B2B Personalization—How to Deliver Custom Experiences to Buyers



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Crafting custom communications for both an individual buyer and specific accounts is a major pillar of personalization, but executing these strategies isn’t without its challenges. Topics in this webinar include: The critical difference between segmentation and personalization; How B2B marketers use their data to understand their buyers and craft the right message; The effectiveness of targeted marketing, versus a “spray and pray” approach; How B2B go-to’s like content, email and account-based marketing are influenced by personalization tactics.

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B2B Personalization—How to Deliver Custom Experiences to Buyers

  1. 1. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Made possible by B2B Personalization: How to Deliver Custom Experiences to Buyers Jillian Ryan Analyst April 6, 2017
  2. 2. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Today’s agenda  The journey to personalized marketing in B2B  Buyers want personalization and marketers try to deliver  Using data to know your target buyers and accounts  Making website and content personalization work  Beyond your website—personalization across channels  B2B personalization and the future
  3. 3. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. The Journey to Personalized Marketing in B2B
  4. 4. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. The spectrum of marketing messages Mass One to one
  5. 5. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. What’s wrong with mass marketing? “The problem is companies are still just blasting to people without knowing whether they are in their target audience or who they are and what they want/need. That doesn’t work. All of the messages delivered should be very personalized to your company, your industry. It should be relevant.” —Adam Schoenfeld, CEO and Co-Founder, Siftrock
  6. 6. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Personalization’s impact on the B2B funnel A high volume of leads is needed at the top of the funnel to generate and maintain a strong pipeline A lesser volume of leads is needed at the top since better targeting results in higher conversions
  7. 7. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Personas can help with relevancy “Personas are a step in the right direction. We try to get that down to four or five groups so that we understand how they seek information and how they digest it.” —Scott Gillum, President and Channel Marketing Practice Leader, gyro
  8. 8. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Segments can provide more tailored targeting “B2Bs are personalizing communications to the segment. A simple segmentation that’s very common in B2B: a technical buyer vs. a business buyer. We personalize to the individual with their name, but each segment gets a message tailored to their role.” —Ruth Stevens, President, eMarketing Strategy
  9. 9. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. But is there a distinction between segmentation and personalization? “Some B2Bs think they are doing personalization, when really they’re just doing the same segmentation that marketers have always done. But what’s exciting about personalization is the data that’s available now allows much more customized experiences that are getting to the level of potentially one-to- one personalized experiences.” —Chris Goward, Founder and CEO, WiderFunnel
  10. 10. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Buyers Want Personalization and Marketers Try to Deliver
  11. 11. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Buyers of all generations appreciate personalized communications Technology buyers who find personalized communications valuable: Younger Millennials: 78% Older Millennials: 73% Gen Xers: 68% Source: LinkedIn, March 2017
  12. 12. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Buyers want to know: ‘What’s in it for me?’ 94% of B2B buyers chose the winning vendor because the company demonstrated a stronger knowledge of their needs Source: Demand Gen Report, June 2016  B2Bs demonstrate this knowledge through personalization, on two levels: – Tailored to the individual buyer/prospect – Developed for a specific account/company
  13. 13. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Buyers want content and web experiences that are tailored to their company 69%of B2B buyers said relevant content that speaks directly to their company was important when conducting vendor research 45%of B2B buyers want a relevant website experience that speaks directly to their company or industry Source: Demand Gen Report, June 2016
  14. 14. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. For B2Bs, website personalization is not widely adopted  Less than 30% of US B2B marketers currently use website personalization technology
  15. 15. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Personalizing content it still a fairly new marketing approach …  More than half of US marketers have been personalizing content for two years or less  Only 18% have been executing this approach for five or more years
  16. 16. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. … and marketers face many hurdles to delivering personalized content  59% of marketers don’t personalize content because they don’t have the technology, bandwidth and resources  53% cite a lack of needed data and 28% say it is too difficult
  17. 17. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Using Data to Know Your Target Buyers and Accounts
  18. 18. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. B2Bs are embracing big data and analytics 70%of B2B marketers worldwide use big data, historical information and predictive analytics to improve marketing effectiveness 38%of B2B marketers worldwide think a key benefit of marketing analytics is identifying precise customer needs Source: Progress, March 2016 Source: Regalix, April 2016
  19. 19. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. B2B marketers use multiple methods to learn about target audiences  Around half use website analysis, keyword search, employee feedback and competitive analysis  Used less frequently are database analysis and auditing existing buyer data
  20. 20. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Other data sources are varied  Again, website analytics is a top source, as is social media metrics  Data from customer service records and customer surveys were used by less than half  CRM systems and third- party databases are used less frequently
  21. 21. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Data provides insight, enabling personalization  Marketers use data to determine: – Who the prospect is and their role in the organization – What business pain points and problems that prospect has – How to position your product or service as a helpful solution – When to speak directly to them with that message
  22. 22. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Descriptive and behavioral data are key data tactics used by marketers for personalization 41% use descriptive data – Basic demographic information about who the buyer is – Includes the prospect’s name, title, company name, location, email address, telephone number and more 39% use behavioral data – Provides information about the buyer’s interactions with marketing materials – Includes what pieces of content were downloaded, how many emails were opened, what was clicked on the website and more Source: Demand Metric, February 2016
  23. 23. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Understanding a buyer’s intent helps create personalized messaging “If we can understand their needs and interests, especially if we already have a relationship with them, then we can understand better where they are in the buying process. Next we can come up with messages that are designed to move them to the next level, closer to where we want them to go. That is where the communications creativity comes in.” —Ruth Stevens, eMarketing Strategy
  24. 24. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Descriptive data isn’t always reliable “The problem is job titles vary greatly between different organizations, and the decider within an organization can also vary pretty widely. But if we look at intent signifiers, these behavioral pieces of data are so much more valuable. They really answer the questions that help B2Bs get better acquisition.” —Justin Adler, Director, Product and Marketing, SourceKnowledge (Editor’s Note: Alder is now Head of Operations at Ferst Digital)
  25. 25. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Combining data sources to fine-tune the target audience “We stay away from third-party data sources to know that we’re reaching the core audience. It is a combination from their CRM, lead generation, data management platform or from a core niche site. We use analytics to validate the audience with intent signals, like the target’s activity on the site or engagement with the content, to ensure that the audience is right.” —Whitney Powell, Media Director, DWA
  26. 26. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Starting at the account level and developing a personalized communication strategy “It usually starts off by account identification and industry characteristics. Then we build a profile through LinkedIn and HubSpot data to understand who and what we know inside of the account. After, we can start to fine-tune messages based on their actions.” —Peter Middleton, Vice President, North America, Comptel
  27. 27. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Consumer data isn’t off limits, either  Weight Watchers, a client of Stirista, uses consumer data to supplement its B2B database.  To sell its corporate wellness program, WW sought out C-level execs with an interest in health and fitness.  Merging these lifestyle attributes with B2B buyer profiles, WW engaged prospects with personalized communications tailored to their personal interests.
  28. 28. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Staying focused on relevancy is key for personalized messages “A personalization messaging strategy has to start from the core, most important value proposition for my buyers. B2Bs must use relevant data points and not focus on fluff around the edges. Then you can test and validate whether that different approach matters to those different buyers.” —Chris Goward, WiderFunnel
  29. 29. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. The union of data analytics and creative messaging is key “Leveraging data analytics and relevant creative communications are necessary. You may have amazing technology and data, but if you don’t actually create a good experience and message behind that is relevant, you won’t be successful in personalization. And you may be amazing at creative, but unless the message is data- driven, it won’t work either.” —Rishi Dave, CMO, Dun & Bradstreet
  30. 30. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Making Website and Content Personalization Work
  31. 31. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Using marketing data for content personalization is effective 51% of US B2B marketers say content personalization is the most effectiveness use of marketing data
  32. 32. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Half of B2Bs who use website personalization technology say it is effective  But 40% also say they are not sure whether the technology is effective, and 11% believe it is not
  33. 33. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Machine learning allows websites to dynamically personalize based on past actions “A lot of the personalization we do for the individual is based on behavior. So if a buyer clicks something on the site, it responds and shows them what they indicated they want to see. Our navigation and content will reorder itself based on their actions. This is personalization very far up the funnel.” —Stephanie Robotham, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Optimizely
  34. 34. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. In advanced cases, content is personalized for the target before it renders on the site  Only 17% of US marketers are personalizing the vast majority of their content before the target audience sees it
  35. 35. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Producing and delivering personalized content in real time “We’re producing personalized content and delivering it in real time. Essentially within 300 milliseconds, we have to predict, assemble content and dynamically construct it based on the customer profile. That’s how we deliver unique and compelling experiences in an always-on manner.” —Todd Forsythe, Senior Vice President, Digital Marketing, Dell
  36. 36. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Personalizing website content at the account level before the audience views it “Using IP-detection technology, we personalize the website for 23 very strategic accounts where the imagery and content are altered before the page loads. This is account personalization that is designed to resonate.” —Stephanie Robotham, Optimizely
  37. 37. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Personalized content is a pillar of account-based marketing (ABM) strategies 49% 47% of US B2B marketers deliver personalized/custom content for each account for ABM currently use personalized website content to deliver targeted offers to their ABM list Source: Demand Gen Report, EverString and Domo, August 2016 90% plan to use in the future
  38. 38. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Beyond Your Website: Personalization Across Channels
  39. 39. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Email is a big piece of the personalization puzzle 60%use an email experience engine that determines which individuals get which emails and when 55% use triggered emails based on site activity Source: Monetate, December 2016
  40. 40. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. B2B marketers are implementing behavior-based, personalized email campaigns 40% 28%personalize their lead nurturing program with a series of emails determined by the buyer’s actions and interest use demographic and firmographic data to implement behavior-based email programs to support personalization Source: Dun & Bradstreet, December 2015Source: Salesforce Pardot and emedia, July 2016
  41. 41. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Improving email personalization is both a: significant goal (43%) and barrier to success (39%) for email marketing, according to B2B marketing decision- makers worldwide
  42. 42. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. B2Bs turn to advertising to deliver custom experiences 69%use online targeting to alter digital experiences based on behavioral attributes 57% use demographic, technographic or other static attributes Source: Monetate, December 2016
  43. 43. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Programmatic advertising is an enabler of personalization “Programmatic provides the mechanisms for B2Bs to be precise. It’s an opportunity for advertisers to create more value for the single decision-maker and the committee that influences the decision to buy a product. Great data allows programmatic to be one-to- one marketing that is personalized to the context and state of mind of the decision-maker.” —Bob Ray, Global CEO, DWA
  44. 44. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. B2Bs can use lookalike models to execute personalization 52% of US B2B marketers currently use lookalike targeting as a data-driven advertising and marketing tactic 23% more plan to do so in 2017 Source: Dun & Bradstreet and Adweek BrandShare, September 2016
  45. 45. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Sales professionals also named personalization as a Top 5 sales objective 37% of sales professionals worldwide want to provide the customer with a more personalized experience Source: Salesforce, August 2016
  46. 46. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. The best personalization strategies work seamlessly, across channels “Personalization should be synchronized across the touch points wherever buyers are. Often that’s email, the website and even ads on social.” —Chris Goward, WiderFunnel “The hardest thing is connecting with buyers and getting their attention. It’s got to be a multichannel approach, personalized, and contextual.” —Tyler Lessard, Vice President, Marketing, Vidyard
  47. 47. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Yes, even offline channels! “When we think about personalization at Dun & Bradstreet, no matter where that account or buyer goes, whether it’s digitally or offline at an event, we create a personal experience for them. We have to understand both interactions that a customer has with us, whether it’s digital, it’s at an event or some other way, and tie that data back into our systems.” —Rishi Dave, Dun & Bradstreet
  48. 48. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. B2B Personalization and the Future
  49. 49. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Personalization is only just getting started  Just 6% of marketers said their implementation of personalization strategy was advanced  56% say they are in the process  The other 28% are just starting out
  50. 50. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Dell’s journey to one-to-one is not far off “We’re building an infrastructure stack as part of a three-year journey, with the ultimate goal of delivering one-to-one personalized content across channels and devices. Essentially, it’s a big data environment with a machine-learning predictive engine that looks at behavioral and purchase data, and then predicts the next likely action programmatically.” —Todd Forsythe, Dell
  51. 51. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Still, proceeding with caution is advisable “Marketers assume that a personalized experience will obviously get better results for them, but it’s not always the case. If marketers don’t take a rigorous approach to it, they can actually waste a lot of their time. Personalization should be approached at the right stage in their evolution of their marketing. If segmentation is still an issue, personalization might be phase two or three in the evolution of the approach to your messaging.” —Chris Goward, WiderFunnel
  52. 52. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. But personalization technologies might be the future 45%of marketing executives worldwide think that personalization technologies are a trend that will have the biggest impact on marketing companies by 2020 Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), April 2016
  53. 53. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Let’s recap  For B2Bs, there are different types of custom marketing on the road to true one-to-one personalization.  Buyers see the value in having tailored experiences and content, and marketers are working to meet the demand.  Multiple descriptive and behavioral data sources are needed for B2Bs to understand their target buyers and accounts, and ultimately to craft relevant messages for them.  Dynamically personalized web experiences and content are a major pillar of personalization, but marketers need to think about delivering custom messages across all touchpoints.
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  59. 59. © 2017 eMarketer Inc. Learn more about digital marketing with an eMarketer corporate subscription Around 200 eMarketer reports are published each year. Here are some recent reports you may be interested in: Q&A Session Made possible by You will receive an email tomorrow with a link to view the deck and webinar recording. To learn more: 800-405-0844 or Jillian Ryan Analyst B2B Personalization: How to Deliver Custom Experiences to Buyers  Personalization in Retail: The Latest Trends and Challenges  Marketing Technology 2017: Putting Customer Data at the Center  Best Practices for Consumer Privacy and Personal Data: Maximizing Value Without Getting Creepy  Customer Acquisition in the US: A Focus on Data, Audience and Lifetime Value  At B2Bs, Account-Based Marketing Trends Upward as Technology Plays Bigger Role