The explosion of interest in predictive analytics in B2B sales and marketing is long overdue. Making up for lost time, the topic is quickly evolving from a narrow focus on targeting – exemplified by the profusion of companies specializing in lead scoring – to a more expansive view of analytics that includes content personalization. Simply put, we’re increasingly recognizing that what we say is as important as who we say it to. With marketers seeing an average sales increase of 20% from web personalization, it’s clear this trend is here to stay. So, it is imperative for decision makers to step back and review the experiences of others when making their own investment decisions.
Here are some important lessons learned from early adopters in the B2B space:
Content personalization is not “all about the algorithm”:
The big data revolution is about using data and analytics to solve real world problems. Content personalization is a playground for data scientists who have created increasingly sophisticated algorithms to identify the right content at an individual level. These algorithms are the so-called ‘secret sauce’ behind many commercially available content recommendation solutions. wejoe
Proprietary algorithms are worth millions, if not billions, of dollars to Amazon. However, most B2B companies live in a world without millions of buyers, purchasing thousands of products across hundreds of millions of transactions. In the B2B space, getting started with a solid, affordable, easy-to-implement solution is key. Complexity is often the enemy of success.
Good math + bad user experience = failure:
This point may be obvious, but it often gets lost in the excitement. Great recommendations embedded in a bad user experience will not improve outcomes. Design still matters. If a buyer can’t access the recommendations in an intuitive, appealing way, they won’t download your whitepaper or click on your offer. Information must be accessible in a way that buyers can find it, understand it, and act on it.
Content personalization is not just for websites anymore:
A quick Google search on “content personalization” generates a list of results focused heavily on website personalization. While this is a critically important application, advanced companies will find additional ways to leverage this capability. Email personalization is the next most obvious step. However, this is just the beginning. Other applications should include digital advertising, content hubs for partners and loyal customers, and sales enablement tools that recommend content for key clients and prospects.
A content personalization approach should identify gaps in the existing asset base:
The ability to maximize use of existing content is a critical core competency. However, recommendations are only as good as the available content. If existing collateral is not relevant to the target audience, no amount of analytical wizardry or design sophistication is going to generate good outcomes. Useful content personalization approaches will help sales and marketing professionals identify gaps in existing assets, guiding their curation efforts to ensure that the needs of key targets are met.
Organizations with winning content personalization strategies will undoubtedly outperform their competitors, justifying the effort and cost of implementation. When evaluating content personalization solutions, decision makers must look beyond the math and consider how the approach fits into the broader business context. Successful approaches will be easy-to-implement, adaptable with changing business needs, scalable to the appropriate volume of content and usable across multiple applications.