Personalized Marketing For B2B Sites - Three Ways To Avoid Complexity

Marketing via personalization is everywhere online in the B2C world. We are served dynamic ads that reflect our recent shopping behaviors. We get news and video recommendations tailored to our interests. We are offered SKUs or titles that other shoppers “like us” have purchased. The trend is a good thing -- making advertising more relevant to consumers and marketing spend more efficient. But what about B2B marketing? Is personalization feasible in a B2B context -- and how would it play out?

B2B marketers today work hard to develop large volumes of content that is targeted to the ideal sales prospect and on navigation and messaging that shepherds that prospect to become a lead. The question is, where would personalization fit into this lead-generation formula -- and how? In a recent eConsultancy study, 94% of digital marketing professionals surveyed agreed that personalization is “critical to current and future success.” Nearly as many said they didn't know where to start.



That figure is not surprising, because any new IT initiative can seem daunting with content and traffic generation already consuming time and resources. And the prospect of building personas for all your online visitors -- not to mention corresponding content -- is an outright deal-breaker. But the fact is, B2B site personalization doesn't have to be complex -- and it can make use of the content assets you already have.

Here are some strategies to get started (the easy way):

  1. Focus on what (or who) you don't know. Many marketers ask whether personalization should focus on returning prospects, anonymous visitors, known leads or all three. At the outset, personalization should focus on unknown visitors. You have spent a lot of time, money and people bringing new traffic to your site, and it's that traffic that is most likely to bounce. In addition, you already have options for reaching known or repeat users via email and other lead-nurturing tactics, so reserve your Web personalization channel for generating new leads from anonymous traffic -- boosting the ROI of your inbound marketing.
  2. Let math do the work: Designing a personalization Web site strategy based on your marketing personas is not always practical -- particularly when your resources are limited. Even with today's personalization platforms, there is a lot of manual work involved and money to be spent on design elements for each persona. Plus, marketers can never fully predict the online behavior of each visitor. That's where automation saves the day. Let technology do the work for you to automate the process of categorizing visitors based on their behaviors. With some technologies, you don't even need CRM or marketing automation integration.
  3. Leverage your existing investments. All that marketing content you develop -- those white papers, product demos, infographics and webinars? Apply those existing resources to the personalization process -- it's just a matter of exposing the right content to the right visitor at the right time. Again, an algorithmic solution can make the matches for you automatically.

Keep these three guidelines in mind as you look for a vendor, and you will be on your way to a very manageable approach to using automated content recommendation to generate more leads from your marketing content.

Also keep in mind that any system that requires IT intervention, training or a major time commitment from your marketing team will probably fall flat -- your goal should be “set it and forget it.”

Content recommendation inside your B2B site can be highly automated and easy to deploy. Remember, the more you eliminate unnecessary manual efforts in segmenting or managing your system, the more resources you have to create fresh, meaningful content as needed (not to mention handing off all those new leads to your sales team).

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