Section 1: Overview & User Expectations
The digital marketing space is constantly evolving, changing consumer expectations and forcing businesses to adapt to them. Think back to a few years ago, at the start of the smartphone revolution. If I were to search for a website on my mobile, and found that it was optimized to work perfectly on my small screen, that was great. As nice as it was, as consumers we perceived it as a bonus, not a requirement. Poor mobile websites were to be expected. A few years later, a website that’s not mobile optimized will make us leave it immediately and look for an alternative source of information. We now have come to expect a flawless browsing experience on all devices – mobile, tablet, desktop and properly an adequate version of the site for other form factors such as smartwatches. As more businesses, big and small, adapted to the times consumer expectations changed.
What happened with mobile websites a few years ago is now starting to happen with content personalization. Even though the Amazon’s of this world have been using personalization for a number of years, the small number of big players using it on their own wasn’t enough to change consumer expectations. As personalization becomes easier, both to understand and implement, and the benefits become clearer, and increasing number of companies are starting to adopt it. It is already relatively widespread in retail and B2C, but B2B companies are now also starting to get on the bandwagon.
What does this mean for your business? Well, consumer expectations are changing. Personalization – once considered to be just a “nice to have”, is now becoming expected. In today’s age – the age of the consumer – businesses must address their increasingly demanding expectations. Content personalization is just one of the expectations.
Here’s what McKinsey had to say on the subject:
“Digital marketing is about to enter more challenging territory. Building on the vast increase in consumer power brought on by the digital age, marketing is headed toward being on demand—not just always “on,” but also always relevant, responsive to the consumer’s desire for marketing that cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery. What’s fueling on-demand marketing is the continued, symbiotic evolution of technology and consumer expectations.”
Section 2: B2B
This section is going to look more closely at the impact of content personalization on the B2B space. As we mentioned above, content personalization is affecting the expectation of all potential online buyers, not just B2C ones. We’ll take you through the changing expectations of B2B buyers as well as the benefits B2B companies can expect from content personalization.
A common perception in the B2B space is that the website is less important than for B2C companies, because much of the B2B buying process is done offline – over the phone, or face to face. This is actually incorrect. In fact, organizations are typically 57% of the way through the purchase decision process before they engage with supplier sales representatives. So by having an online presence that’s not up to par (branding, technology, link to CRM, website), your business risks losing potential buyers before you even have a chance to reach them directly.. This all means that a solid website complemented by a clear branding effort and digital strategy is more important that you might have thought. By optimizing your online presence, creating great content and nurturing your potential buyers on your site with relevant content, you give your business a much greater chance of bringing people deeper into your sales funnel. It comes as no surprise then, that among best-in-class B2B marketers, 71% tailor content to the profile of the decision-maker.
Here’s what some experts in the field have to say about the benefits of content personalization.
“Personalization enables sellers to remain competitive and drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy as well as increase profitability. Consumers who have personalized experiences spend more. Companies that incorporate personalization into B2B digital commerce strategies will make their business customers more efficient, provide a better customer experience and increase the likelihood of greater purchase value as well as upselling and cross-selling — all leading to greater revenue.”
“In the age of the customer, companies differentiate themselves from their competitors through the relationships they have with their customers. The ability to deliver personalized customer experiences and contextual, unique offers is essential to retaining and converting customers to brand advocates.”
“There’s little doubt that personalization is becoming a core component of digital marketing. The good news is that sophisticated, yet easy to use technologies have evolved to support it, making it possible for organizations of all types and sizes to take advantage of this powerful approach to engaging audiences.”