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Are You Prepared for the B2B Content Personalization Arms Race?

An uprising is occurring among B2B organizations. B2B sales and marketing teams have been building up arsenals of tools necessary for selling effectively and efficiently—such as CRM and marketing automation—in order to address the power shift that has put buyers in the driver’s seat. But as B2B technology continues to evolve every day, the industry is becoming more saturated and organizations are left in a constant search for the newest competitive differentiation. We saw it with CRM and marketing automation tools, and in its most recent benchmark report, Demand Metric partnered with Seismic to uncover the newest secret weapon for B2B sales and marketing teams: content personalization.

The report, Content Marketing’s Evolution: The Age of Hyper-Personalization and Automation, set out to discover whether the use of content personalization can increase content effectiveness, especially in digital mediums. Leading B2B marketers intuitively understand that personalized content is more likely to be consumed or interacted with, and Demand Metric was able to validate this through the benchmark study. But just how much more effective is personalized content than generic? Should every piece of content be personalized? And what about automating the personalization process? Demand Metric and Seismic addressed all of this and more in the benchmark study, and in the process discovered how high of a priority content personalization and automation has become for B2B sales and marketing teams.

Of the participants surveyed, 61 percent personalize content in some way, and 56 percent stated that personalization contributes significantly to content marketing effectiveness. Only 29 percent of those who do not personalize content were able to give the same effectiveness rating. There is no doubt that content personalization matters to marketers and salespeople alike, as 80 percent of respondents indicated that content objectives are better met when content is personalized.

While content personalization is becoming a legitimate and established best practice for B2B marketing organizations, the means and methods of personalization still differ. Twenty-eight percent of companies surveyed have a mostly automated personalization process with some manual intervention, but around two-thirds of respondents still have a predominantly manual process for content personalization. This finding offers a huge opportunity for B2B organizations looking for a competitive differentiation in content automation.

Content automation is the final frontier for B2B sales and marketing success, as they allow both teams to deliver engaging and relevant content to the right audiences without compromising time. Over half of the organizations surveyed are currently considering, implementing or using content automation, which replaces the manual processes of customizing each and every piece of collateral delivered to sales audiences or buyers. Content automation assembles content from existing materials, contextually targets the right audiences with the right content, and makes content accessible from CRM and other programs where reps spend the majority of their time, such as email.

Sixty-five percent of business decision-makers agree that much of the content received from salespeople is useless. Content personalization helps ameliorate this dissatisfaction, and according to Demand Metric, promotes “content that was created to speak to an audience and have it perceived by that audience’s members as if it were talking directly to an individual recipient.” If your organization is one that has embraced content personalization and the automation of the personalization process, you’re right in line with this trend and will continue to reap the benefits of personalization down the road. If you’re still in the camp that personalization is a waste of time, can’t be automated effectively, or isn’t as high of a priority for organizations as Demand Metric has reported, you may find yourself scrambling to catch up in the B2B technology arms race.