THE BLOG
09/30/2014 04:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Use Human Data to Provide True B2B Personalization

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Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMS Wire

An enormous shift is occurring in how B2B customers think about engagement and relationships. Customers expect marketers to achieve relevance by providing personalized communications based on their individual preferences, rather than continuing with irrelevant "spray and pray" marketing blasts. It's this new way of thinking that's unlocking the true potential of human data.

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A SHIFT IN STRATEGY

Gone are the days when B2B prospects and customers would sort through piles of spray and pray "stuff" to uncover the few relevant messages. They expect marketers to find them and provide relevant offers and communications based on their individual needs and preferences. This means that marketers must develop bold new strategies that achieve the delicate balance of requesting in-depth data in exchange for providing the value of significantly improved customer experiences.

That is why after careful research, The UPS Store repositioned itself as a small business peer to peer company which made it more relevant to its target audience. Its research showed that 90 percent of small-business owners would prefer to do business with other local business owners. The UPS Store targeted this small biz niche and carefully crafted its messaging to directly answer their specific requirements.

A marketing initiative was created to let UPS directly connect with this audience in order to provide personalized services, products and offers of real value. They launched a Small Business Solutions portal, offering resources for small-business owners and the Small Biz Buzz, an online community of more than 300 small-business owners.

AN EXCHANGE OF VALUE

Just like their B2C counterparts, B2B marketers are realizing that to be truly personalized, marketing must be based on more than transactional, overlay and inferential data. It has to be based on the individual customer's stated needs and self-profiled preference information.

However, developing a program to gain progressively deeper levels of self-profiled data must start with a foundation of trust. Per findings from Voice of Customer research conducted by ERDM, B2B customers and prospects are willing to provide trusted brands with meaningful information in exchange for more personalized offers, communications and experiences. We call this exchange of value the "Reciprocity of Value."

This Reciprocity of Value, built on trust, is the critical aspect of both B2B and B2C data-driven marketing. It is trust, and a perceived reciprocity, that will motivate customers to provide the preference-based information needed to drive truly relevant, engaging communication.

Keep in mind:
  • Trust is the foundation and basis for obtaining deeper levels of personalized, preference-based data.
  • Marketers must earn the right to obtain deeper levels of preference data by delivering on the promise of truly personalized communications.
  • Marketers should strive to build sustainable relationships with customers based on trust, commitment and reciprocity, from the initial prospecting phase to every aspect of the customer lifecycle.

In summary, earning the in-depth "human" preference data that drives personalized marketing is an essential strategy for B2B marketers looking to go from transactions to a long-term, value based relationships with customers.

Ernan Roman is president of ERDM.
ERDM conducts Voice of Customer (VoC) research to identify high impact Customer Experience strategies.
Inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame due to results clients achieve with ERDM's VoC research driven strategies.
Clients include IBM, MassMutual, Microsoft, NortonAntivirus, QVC and NBC.
Roman is the author of Voice of the Customer Marketing and of the Huffington Post published blog, Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices.
Named by the Online Marketing Institute as one of the "2014 Top 40 Digital Luminaries" and by Crain's BtoB Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
www.erdm.com
ernan@erdm.com