When you’re looking to buy something, which situation do you prefer? Getting instantly accessible information that’s specific to your needs and decision-making process or sifting through an amalgamation of random content and items? It’s a no-brainer, right?
Accordingly, personalization is increasingly more important in B2B marketing. We’re accustomed to individualized recommendations in our personal lives (thanks to Amazon, Netflix and the like), so more buyers expect this treatment from all the companies they do business with. At the end of the day, we’re all still people.
As we continue to hear about today’s empowered buyers, including their reluctance to engage sales reps and greater reliance on vendor websites, it’s essential that websites and other channels assume the role of top-notch salespeople, too. Online experiences need to give buyers individualized treatment, with streamlined access to exactly what each buyer needs to make a decision.
At Evariant, as we execute on our mission to move healthcare ahead, we’ve embarked on a personalization journey with the destination being differentiated customer experiences. The Evariant Patients for Life PlatformTM solves multiple growth challenges related to patient acquisition and retention, and we work hard to ensure our content — targeted to different personas, pain points, etc. — gets seen by the right people at the right time.
Whether you’re just getting started with personalization or in the midst of your journey like us, here are five tips I recommend:
#1 – Know Your Goals
For example, our goals include maximizing visitor engagement, making website content more “bingeable” and increasing conversions. We also look to personalization as a core component of our ABM strategies. Once you articulate your goals, make sure your personalization campaigns align with them, and measure success accordingly.
#2 – Lay the Groundwork
While often un-sexy, preparing for personalization is essential. In our case, before we could guide buyers to relevant content, such as eBooks or blog posts that addressed their pain points, we needed to categorize and tag our existing content, mapping each asset to distinct solutions, business obstacles and stages of the buying cycle.
The result? As visitors engage on our site, we recognize and address their challenges, interests and intent in the moment, at the individual level, using machine learning to present the experience that’s right for them. We activate these insights to power future campaigns.
#3 – Don’t Slam on the Gas
One key project for us that’s tied to our ABM initiatives involves catering to visitors from key accounts. By using Evergage, our personalization and CDP to recognize our VIPs and present them with personalized “welcome back” messages and cherry-picked resources when they re-engage, we saw double digit conversion rates.
#4 – Don’t Assume; Test!
You can see value fast by using your personalization engine to test the efficacy of various calls-to-action. We tackled our “Contact Us” button right away, finding that “Let’s Talk” works better than any other language we’ve used.
Testing can yield validating, unexpected insights. We were surprised when algorithmic blog content recommendations outperformed our manually curated ones. We now rely on dynamic, machine learning-driven recs for better engagement.
#5 – Think Harmonized Channels
Personalization doesn’t mean making changes on your website and nowhere else. Instead, there should be an overall cohesive experience that builds from one channel to the next — such as email and ads —with your website often serving as a central destination. When you look at personalization as an integrated component of ABM and a core customer experience driver across channels, it moves from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have technology.
We’ve had many great successes, as well as learning experiences with deploying personalization. But we are not — and will never be — done. The more we accumulate data, the smarter our machine learning algorithms get, and the greater opportunity there is to engage customers and prospects in a helpful, action-oriented way.
I wish you luck on your personalization journey – it’s a worthwhile ride!
Sherrie Mersdorf is Vice President of Marketing at Evariant, which provides healthcare’s only Patients for Life Platform™ with actionable intelligence to find high-value consumers, guide patients through clinical journeys and keep them engaged. Mersdorf leads the Evariant marketing strategy and planning, the execution of inbound and outbound programs and the measurement of marketing's impact.