As a consumer, do you remember the last time you experienced a personalized content marketing experience?
Whether an email newsletter used your first name, or an intuitive website recommended blog content based on your viewing history, the personalization likely made you feel more engaged with the brand.
Our culture promotes individualism and customization, and brands that tap into these concepts through personalization reap the benefits of customer loyalty and engagement.
However, we know that consumers positively respond to B2C content personalization.
A study by Salesforce revealed that 62% of consumers expect companies to send personalized offers or discounts based on items they have already purchased.
This theory relates to lead generation activities and calls-to-action (CTAs). According to Hubspot, an analysis of 330,000 CTAs over six months found that personalized CTAs converted 202 percent more than non-personalized versions.
So, consumers have come to anticipate a level of customization when it comes to content and the overall shopping experience.
However, does the same apply to B2B companies? Do companies that sell to other businesses want the same level of content personalization?
Is it valuable it to pursue this in your content marketing efforts?
The Content Marketing Evolution Study
A 2016 study by Seismic, a leading end-to-end sales enablement solution, and Demand Metric, a marketing software company, detailed the significance of B2B content personalization after surveying 180 B2B enterprise stakeholders.
It is easy to think that only B2C companies benefit from personalization.
However, Doug Winter, CEO of Seismic, had this to say regarding the findings of his company’s study, “Much like how marketing automation disrupted the marketing landscape about a decade ago, marketers today that can execute a holistic and efficient content personalization process before their competitors do will be in a much better position to win more deals and close more sales.”
So, how can the information from this study help you as a B2B marketer understand the impact personalization can have in your marketing strategies?
Read on for our takeaways from the “Content Marketing’s Evolution: The Age of Hyper-Personalization and Automation” report.
What is Content Personalization?
Before getting into the details of the study, it is crucial first to understand the definition of content personalization.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content personalization uses visitor information to present content that is related to their interest and motivations.
For example, with customer permission, you might use geographic data to tailor your email marketing messages, or you could change your landing page based on their experience in your respective industry.
The ultimate goal of content personalization is to create material that is more relevant to your audience while also quickly providing useful information at a faster rate.
You are giving your audience what they need when they need it, which will improve the customer and company relationship.
#1 – You are Behind the Curve if You are Not Personalizing Your Marketing
According to the study, 61 percent of those surveyed have added some personalization to their content.
While it is not always widely publicized, content personalization is becoming a more substantial factor in content marketing strategy.
As a result, more marketers are using this tactic to better engage with their target audiences. It is likely that your competitors have already begun utilizing personalization in their communications with B2B audiences.
So, if you have not already started to use this in your B2B content marketing strategy, it is imperative that you see how you can begin to make personalization a priority.
Instead of feeling as if you have to jump in head-first, start small and see how you can begin to incorporate customization in your emails, landing pages, and product recommendations.
Always begin with determining what your goals are, strategize, and then begin to implement personalization while keeping in mind the results you would like to see.
#2 – B2B Content Personalization Actually Works
Before you have a conversation with management or senior-level executives, you always want to have a grasp of the potential for ROI.
While you can never predict the future, you want to have an idea of the possibility for success.
Well, this study provides valuable insight into the impact personalization can have on lead generation and engagement. 80% of respondents said personalized content is more effective than content that has not been personalized.
So, the customization of content works.
Unfortunately, many are still not utilizing this tactic in their content marketing strategies.
The top 3 reasons that marketers have not started using content personalization is a lack of technology (59%), a lack of bandwidth and resources (59%), and the feeling that they do not need the data (53%).
There are many reasons that you may not be able to personalize your content, but it is likely that technology and time constraints are considerable reasons.
#3 – There is a “Sweet Spot” for the Amount of Content to Personalize
Okay, so you may sense that content marketing is the way to go for your B2B content marketing strategy.
Now, what is the industry standard for the amount of content you should personalize? Because of the limitations mentioned in the previous entry, you cannot customize everything.
However, you want to guarantee you are using this strategy in the most effective way possible.
According to the study, the particular “sweet spot,” for the amount of material you should personalize is 21 to 40 percent as it seems to have the “highest correlation to meeting objectives.”
While this may be a standard for those who participated in this study, it is fundamental to do your own research and experiment with your content.
You may find that the B2B audience in your industry prefers more customization in email messaging than they do in landing pages or product recommendations.
The 20 to 40 percent finding can be used as a benchmark, but be certain to conduct testing with your audience.
#4 – Automation is the best way to go
Automation and the use of artificial intelligence to better streamline personalization tactics have proven successful for B2C companies.
So, it is likely that the same is true for B2B marketers.
For example, a content intelligence platform makes it easier to add customization to all of your brand messaging and interactions with customers.
Unfortunately, many B2B marketers are still handling their personalization strategies manually.
According to the study, 27 percent of marketers have an entirely manual content personalization process, while 40 percent are mostly manual with some automation included.
This data amounts to a stunning 67 percent of B2B marketers that do not have a fully automated content personalization process in place.
Since content personalization matters to customers, it would make sense to put an infrastructure in place that allows you to expand upon this as much as possible.
So, take time to see what your budget will allow and make a point to invest in automation tools that can streamline the content personalization process.
The Ultimate Takeaway
So, what do B2B marketers need to ultimately walk away with regarding the state of personalization?
While we can acknowledge that engagement and customer loyalty is of utmost importance, the bottom line tells the story.
Customization is effective, but is it profitable? Is there a favourable impact when it comes to dollars and cents?
The data shows that there is.
According to Monetate’s 2017 Personalization Development Study, 79% percent of organizations included in the report said they exceeded revenue goals as a result of their documented personalization strategy.
There is money to be made in personalizing content based on customer needs.
The Lasting Impact on B2B Content Marketing
If there is any group of individuals who benefit from personalized content, it is B2B buyers.
They are making decisions about suppliers and vendors that best help them reach their own target audiences. Many are combing through case studies, white papers, reports, and articles to find resources that help them move forward in their business.
They too want to enhance their customer’s experiences, and one of the best ways to do that is to provide information them with content that is tailor-made to what they need.
Information is being produced at a rate that we have never experienced before, and unlike consumers, B2B owners are much less likely to have the luxury of time when it comes to finding products and resources that are useful.
Therefore, content marketing personalization is more crucial now than it ever was before. It can mean the difference between converting a lead and having a customer bypass your website or email.
Content marketing customization is not just about email sign-ups or landing pages, but it is using the data you have to make your B2B customer’s experience all the more effective and beneficial.
Good content marketing personalization makes everyone’s job a lot easier and more streamlined.
So, if you have yet to utilize this tactic, be sure to work with your team to see how you can begin to incorporate B2B content marketing personalization into your overall marketing strategy.
If done correctly, it can quickly become your most crucial element in reaching your target B2B audience.