Mission Possible: Personalized B2B Marketing in the Age of Colossal Data

If you’re not confused about how to “do” personalization, you’re not paying attention.

Business-to-business (B2B) marketers who strive to “personalize” content today are doing more than dropping a prospect’s first name into a promotional email. They’re on a serious quest to deliver a relevant message, at an optimal time, through a preferred channel and device. It’s the mantra on the lips of nearly every marketer. But as we all know, it’s a Herculean feat to pull off – especially with a half-hidden customer calling the shots.

Anyone who attempts personalized B2B marketing is pestered by a niggling problem. It requires us to get everything “right,” but what’s “right” is relative to the individual business buyer in question. So if you’re looking for one “right” way to execute it, good luck. You’re more likely to find a serialized narrative thread for the Mission: Impossible film franchise.

Luckily, B2B marketers are a plucky bunch with flexible notions of what’s possible. As one of these gutsy adventurers, you’re doing everything you can to meet your buyers’ expectations of a consumer-like experience. Every day, you plow through torrents of data, across multiple systems and tools – all while trying to get a grip on buyer intent. And by the time you’ve sorted through piles of personas, assorted buyer stages, distribution choices and messaging matrices, it feels about 12 hours past Miller time.

Personalized marketing requires us to get everything 'right,' but what’s 'right' is relative to individual business buyers. So if you’re looking for one 'right' way to execute it, good luck.
 

We get it. You’re not working this hard just to be on trend. Your motivation runs far deeper than that. You’re in hot pursuit of hard ROI. When customized marketing works, it checks the box. Practitioners have linked personalization to impressive returns, as much as five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and sales lifts of 10% or more.

These returns are tantalizing enough to make marketers want to run off and personalize everything. (Queue Lalo Schifrin’s music score from Mission Impossible here.) A commendable aspiration, for sure. But given your current challenges, attempting the whole shebang is futile, if not self-destructive.

 

Your Mission: If You Choose to Accept It

The mission of today’s B2B marketers is to pare down your personalization efforts – narrowing the scope to what’s smart, doable and measurable. You need to start small with customization, making smart decisions on when to dial it up and dial it down. It’s imperative to master this before fully integrated customer data becomes commonly accessible. When even deeper, more holistic and diverse data becomes available – and ready for exhaustive analysis – it will be all too easy to grow overwhelmed. The marketers who will score personalized victories won’t be the ones swallowed up by too many options, frantically running around, accomplishing nothing. They’ll be calm and focused, drawing on past successes, ready to dive in and mobilize strategic maneuvers.

Will you be among these do-your-own-stunts super jocks?

Admittedly, there’s a caveat. Data limitations restrict what marketers can do well today (more about this later). But it’s not a showstopper. Actually, everyone can benefit from adding strategic guardrails for personalization efforts. First, build a solid foundation of high quality customer data. Next, set clear guidelines on how much to tackle and when. This way, we’ll be less likely to go customization-crazy when we gain easy access to more customer data and even smarter ways to easily figure out what it all means.

Are you beginning to see how our personalization mission is possible? Good. Ready to gear up for it? Get our “Mission Possible” guide, and you'll have everything you need to succeed with personalized marketing. You’ll read about the unique challenges of personalized B2B marketing and the importance of using the right data to customize content. You’ll find clear steps for making your database personalization-ready as well as a reliable method for ensuring your highest-return projects get tackled first. Finally, you’ll read use case examples of how customer insights can be leveraged across channels to personalize content.

Make personalized B2B marketing possible. Check out our guide today.

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