During a recent Sana event, our own E-Commerce Success Manager, Robert Pennings, gave a talk on personalized marketing. He kicked off with a question:
“Who of you has ever experienced personalized marketing?”
Hands shot into the air across the room. This wasn’t very surprising: after all, we live in a time when re-marketing and personalized emails are the norm. However, Robert’s next question got a very different response:
“Who of you has implemented personalized marketing yourselves?”
Three hands hesitantly went up. Attendees looked around, unsure.
Maybe these results were to be expected at an event focused solely on B2B. But why?
Consumerization: Bringing the Best of B2C to the B2B Market
54% of B2B buyers say they want a B2C shopping experience.
The consumerization of B2B sales is a popular topic for a reason. But does this mean that B2B companies should copy B2C practices wholesale? According to Robert Pennings, the answer is a resounding ‘no.’ Instead of adopting everything, only use the elements that work.
Personalized marketing is a tactic that really works.
B2C has a huge head start when it comes to personalization. One of the reasons is that personalized marketing has a long list of well-documented benefits. A few Robert mentioned in his presentation include:
- More page views
- Higher email open rates
- Better email click-through rates
- Higher average order values
- Improved conversion rates
And, another important benefit: stronger brand loyalty.
In short: personalized marketing helps you keep your clients happy and coming back to your web store.
Segmentation + Personalization = Relevance
Personalized marketing’s biggest benefit is the value it offers (potential) clients. What kind of value? Relevance.
In a time when consumers and business buyers alike are constantly confronted with a continuous stream of information, it can be hard to make sure your message stands out.
Relevance is a crucial part of overcoming this obstacle. Can you create relevant content? Then you will be seen. Your message will stand out because the recipient feels as if you’re speaking directly to them. It’s clear that they’re the intended audience.
How Can Personalization Make You More Relevant?
It’s important to start with segmentation. How do you get started with this? Just ask yourself one question:
“Who is my customer?”
As a B2B merchant, you have a considerable advantage over your B2C counterparts when it comes to answering this.
In the majority of B2B scenarios, you already know your client. How much valuable information do your various colleagues have stored not in your Microsoft Dynamics or SAP ERP system, but in their own memory?
Another valuable data source is one you might not immediately think of. Logging into a site for full access is normal for B2B buyers. As a result, you often have a wealth of client data to use to better understand your clients.
Given how valuable this information is, it’s certainly worth collecting and saving somewhere central. Once you have done so, you can start segmenting it. You could create segments based on location, industry, job title and seniority, for instance.
This lets you use personalized marketing to do offer (prospective) customers more relevant content, and therefore more value.
The GDPR in 2018: Threat or Opportunity?
After Robert’s presentation, there was time to answer a number of questions. One was about an important topic within personalized marketing: privacy and clients’ personal data.
In May 2016, European privacy laws changed with the introduction of the General Data Protection Act. This affects not only companies based in the European Union, but all organizations that do business with European customers. Do you do business overseas? Then you have until May 25, 2018 to align your operations with the new legislation.
The GDPR can be seen as the inevitable result of the immense amount of data moved online in recent years. We live in the information age. Much of our data is used and even exchanged online, but we often don’t even know when we shared this data about ourselves, or where.
The new privacy legislation (GDPR) was created to prevent abuse of this data. It includes measures such as mandatory consent and transparency regarding data usage. Consumers and professional buyers will also have the right to request companies to adjust or even delete their personal data.
Does the GDPR mean that you’ll be limited in how you segment and market to your European clients? Definitely not.
As Robert said during his session, this new status quo offers plenty of opportunities, all based on one crucial element: consent.
And if we look at the core of personalized marketing (adding value for clients through relevance) it’s clear that the GDPR isn’t a threat, but an opportunity. An opportunity to build a relationship with your clients based on trust and transparency.
That’s more value for your clients, and more valuable client relationships for you.
Sana Commerce and the GDPR
The GDPR doesn’t have to get in the way of successful personalized marketing and online sales. For more information about the GDPR and Sana Commerce, download your free factsheet.
28 February, 2018