While B2B marketers recognize that paid media personalization has value (92%, in fact), half say that it’s one of the most difficult tactics to pull off, even when they have the resources to do it. And that explains why only 22% of those surveyed say that they are actually using personalization.
Say you have a target list of 125 companies. How do you make a campaign that reaches people at those companies with the right message at the specific stage each individual is at in the buying journey? It’s a daunting problem to get all the levers switching at the right time to make that kind of impact. You need accurate data, the right martech and ad tech, and efficient campaigns, not to mention solving the problem of creating personalized content without creating too many unique pieces.
But personalization is an increasingly powerful tactic for B2B because it can be used to create very tailored, small programs for small audiences of buying committees within a segment.
And as the digital ad space is becoming more crowded, personalization is the only way to stand apart and have a chance to connect to buyers. Plus, personalization is only going to become a more common practice among your competitors as the technology behind it becomes more available and sophisticated.
In other words, to stay visible in digital media, you must learn to personalize.
The good news is that in 2019, it’s easier than it has ever been.
Personalization has improved for B2B—so don’t wait
Personalization features in ad platforms have greatly improved in the past year, making it easier than ever to personalize ads in several ways that offer good starting points for first-time personalization programs.
Today we can target the right people and send the right message using ABM (starting from a target list), re-marketing (placing a pixel on a website), and IP address targeting (to identify companies we missed), and we can get really niche by identifying specific attributes. For example, a lot of ad platforms can dynamically add in images or other content depending on specific attributes.
Don’t skimp on the setup
The challenge is that it takes time to set up. The largest obstacles include establishing data quality, getting accurate information about buyer behavior, and making it all work right. The hardest obstacle is that if it doesn’t work, you have dissatisfied customers.
That alone might tempt you to postpone considering personalization as part of your marketing mix. Better to do nothing than to risk damage, right?
But doing nothing means that you are diminishing your skills for competing in the emergent landscape of digital advertising.
So, taking time now, and up front, is worth the investment because, when orchestrated right, personalization can achieve three times the conversion rates of non-personalized approaches, in part by making your campaigns more efficient.
That’s right: Paid personalization drives efficiency. Hiring paid media experts (such as the Yesler paid media team), of course, can help accelerate set up and make sure you see efficiency gains earlier—gains you can build on for years to come. We welcome the opportunity to help you with those challenges because we feel confident we can work through them to help you build a good program that will maximize gains.
A strong setup pays dividends in efficiency
For example, we just worked with one client to set up a robust, but simple personalized paid media program starting from a targeted list of companies they really wanted business from. The longest part of the project involved the tech setup and testing, which took about four months to do to ensure that IP addresses and all data mappings were accurate and that systems reliably displayed generic information when the system couldn’t determine a confident fit to personalization parameters. By contrast, content creation—the ads and landing pages—took about one month to complete.
We began by separating the target list into industries (there were five) and creating a set of ads for each industry across a couple of ad platforms, including Demandbase (which is a real-time programmatic platform) and LinkedIn. We developed landing pages for each industry. The pages positioned the product’s business benefits so that they resonated with the given industry. Each landing page used Marketo’s dynamic content feature to connect our client’s key account list to their IP addresses in order to show the proper industry landing page. To catch our target audience’s attention more, these pages would also dynamically insert the company name into the page. If the visitor wasn’t identifiable, the page displayed a generic reference. Then, we tested, tested, and tested.
Start small, with everyday campaigns
On your own you can examine your paid media efforts to see where you can add personalization or improve what you’re already doing.
Ask: Does personalization make sense for your business goals? And if you’re doing it already, is it working successfully? What seems to be missing? Or are you overburdened by too much personalization? Identify any gaps or pain points and see how you can use ad tech or data to help amplify campaigns or make them more targeted.
You can also add personalization into everyday campaigns. For example, if you know you’re targeting specific personas in construction, you can really customize for them. Or you can interchange different words based on browsing history.
Once you begin to assess how it’s going and begin to identify what’s difficult for you and others, it will help you see where you can do better.
The important point is: Don’t wait. Personalization isn’t going away and it’s only going to become more nuanced. You have nothing to lose by at least evaluating how you can begin to work it in or improve what you’re doing. But we encourage you to start personalization now so that you can realize the returns and stay visible in the digital ad game.
Working on problems tough to solve or just want to learn more about our approach to paid media. We’d love to talk. Just get in touch.