It’s Not About Personalization — It’s About Being Personal

By Georgia Bradley

We have all heard the statistics that show that B2B customer experiences are lagging behind. Sixty-two percent of buyers feel that B2B advertising is too vague to be relevant to their business, while 64 percent feel that ads don't always demonstrate a good understanding of their organization's problems. The answer the industry is telling us is that personalization is key. B2B is the new B2C, with personalized experiences being the critical door-opener to success.

But is that true? Yes, we can leverage data and technology to deliver more tailored messages, creative, content, and experiences, but has the term personalization become over-used? Have we hit the trough of disillusionment?

Simply knowing your B2B buyer's name, what content they have consumed, and the events they have attended is no longer enough. What B2B customers and prospects are looking for is a demonstration that you understand their business and that you are prepared to partner with them to solve for the challenges they face.

This is where a deeper analysis of buyer behavior comes into play – where it is important to understand the meaning behind the data and then deliver experiences that are meaningful and memorable. Experiences that deliver valuable content and advice that helps B2B buyers achieve their business and personal goals.

Our recent B2B Superpowers Index report highlighted that one of the top seven decision-drivers in B2B requires brands to demonstrate they have shared personal values. Being personal goes beyond responding to how a person may have engaged with your brand to demonstrating empathy with their needs.

What is also interesting is the interest in intent data in B2B is increasing at an exponential rate. According to Bombora Company Surge®, interest from B2B marketers for Intent Marketing increased by 523 percent, and interest in customer Intent increased by 164 percent in the last three months.

Interest from April 21, 2023 – July 20, 2023 compared to the 90 days prior

Why is this? Intent data provides real-time data on the topics and themes that are most relevant. This provides an additional layer of intelligence into what your customers are interested in, leading to more relevant communications.

Ultimately, B2B buyers are looking for partners who can help them solve their toughest challenges. They do want more personal experiences, but they have to be real. Generic personalization won't cut it anymore. Our B2B customers are sophisticated. They understand how digital tracking works, and they expect brands to be able to leverage all data signals to deliver more meaningful interactions that address their individual business needs.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Georgia Bradley is SVP of strategy at Merkle.