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getting Personal: How To Make Your Marketing More ‘relevant’

By Liane GrimshawComments

Getting personal: How to make your marketing more ‘relevant’


The cornerstone of emphatic marketing. It drags you from the trivial trash pile, gives you a reason to exist, and says to the customer “We’re here for you.

Relevance is something that’s always been at the top of the agenda, but famously hard to grasp or quantify. Now, with technology at the helm, marketers suddenly have access to a world of new insights into people’s online behaviour—this data is your golden ticket.

The burning question is: How do we make our marketing more relevant?

...and the answer? Personalisation.


Acquia’s recent webinar outlined four ways personalisation can deliver value:

  1. Speak directly to small, but valuable audiences: 
    Target each audience with unique content.
  1. Drive cross-sell, upsell and retention: 
    Showcase offers in the right way, in the right place, at the right time.
  1. Guide visitors through the conversion funnel: 
    Apply your marketing funnel to your website.
  1. Enhance data-driven decision making: 
    Leverage the power of customer data.

Content is becoming more connected. Data, behavioural interpretation and the push for automation are powering a more complete marketing experience.

People want the content they come face-to-face with to feel like it was made for them. It’s why we try to relate the lyrics in songs to our own lives, and why streaming services like Netflix and Spotify make suggestions based on everything we’ve watched and moved to.

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 Demand Gen research suggests businesses see a 20% increase in sales opportunities when leads are nurtured with personalised content. That’s a pretty big number.

The verdict is about as clear cut as they come.

Personalisation is the stand-out opportunity to differentiate, especially for B2B brands marketing complex products or services to high consideration buyers. And yet only 29% of B2B marketers practice it, with less than half of those finding it effective (Demand Wave).

So, what’s the crack?


Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s bring it back to basics...

...the foundation of all marketing.

Who are we talking to?

It’s funny how such a simple question often goes unanswered.

Your audience puts the “person into personalisation. It’s why you need a detailed and accurate perception of your buyer before anything else.    

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 Are you talking to Facilities Managers?

What about Health and Safety guys?

Financial Directors?

Brand Directors?

Site Managers?

Who is the individual—the professional—who suffers from the problems your product and/or service can solve? Do they have the authority as a stakeholder to drive the purchase? What industries do you want to hit? Do you have more than one audience?

This is all A-Z audience stuff that you need to know. It’s the stuff that will help to drive your early decisions and get you on-course to building personalised content experiences.

how to create a b2b buyer persona for inbound marketing

Think about it.

Why wouldn’t you create role and industry specific content that speaks directly to your ideal buyer(s)? Demand Gen’s 2017 B2B Buyers report found that three-quarters of buyers see relevant content that speaks directly to their company as ‘very important’. And it makes sense. It makes sense that you would want to meet their exacting requirements, solve their unique issues and demonstrate your knowledge of their industry.

EXAMPLE: Imagine you’re a B2B HR software provider trying to reach SMBs. Which content will resonate more?

  • How to boost employee productivity in the workplace
  • 5 things HR don’t know about improving SMB productivity

Simple tweaks in how you position your content can make all the difference.

Get this nailed down as early as possible. Although it may only be the beginning of a complete and personal content experience, it’ll immediately elevate your content way beyond anything that came before it, and give you real direction as you plan for the future.


“One of the things that traditional targeting didn’t really account for is that in B2B, especially, it’s not one person doing the buying,” says B2B Content Marketing Strategist Ardath Albee.

One size fits all is modern day marketing blasphemy. The number of stakeholders involved in the path to purchase may be higher than you think…

  • 48% of B2B buyer journeys involve 1-3 people
  • 35% of B2B buyer journeys involve 4-6 people

[People Metrics]

B2B marketing must accommodate for the growing influence on purchase from multiple departments. Beyond basic persona personalisation, best guesses and gut instinct, businesses can use data to create and orchestrate a personalised journey.   

This is where things get more elaborate. Marketers can use the data at their fingertips to build customer profiles based on all sorts of information and behaviours...

  • What content has the user been engaging with?
  • Which stage are they at in the buying lifecycle?
  • What is their role in the company?
  • What device are they using?
  • What is their location?
  • What is their business size?

Data can answer all of these questions and more. It can be used to determine how hot your leads are, create segmented audiences and drive a dynamic content approach where users are qualified to receive specific content based on their activity and personal information.

“67% of consumers say it’s important for brands to automatically adjust content based on their current context.” 2018 Adobe Consumer Content Survey


One Demand Metric study found that a massive 80% of marketers say personalised content is more effective than “unpersonalised” content. It’s enough to make your eyes water, but let’s be real. Personalised content experiences aren’t built in a day. They ask for time and resources that many business just don’t have access to.

In fact, the same study highlighted a whole raft of reasons why many businesses are still primitive in their approach...

Content Personalisation

If you have an existing database, you should have a grasp on who your contacts are and how they found their way into your CRM in the first place. The challenge now is to aggregate their data and squeeze as much out of your resources as possible.

how to create a b2b buyer persona for inbound marketing

Here are three solutions software platforms such as HubSpot and Acquia can provide:


Tagging your content will make it easier for you to determine what each user is interested in. Start simple. Tag by funnel stage to understand where people are in their buying life cycle—awareness, consideration, decision.

This will put you in a position gather huge amounts of data based on user engagement and help to inform your ongoing lead nurture program.

Learn more about content tags here.


As Acquia put it “Dog people want dog content, and cat people want cat content”. So give them what they’re there for, and guide them effortlessly through their journey.

If a known healthcare prospect lands on your homepage, think about how you could customise their experience. From dynamic microcopy, to featured content, and the images that greet them when the page loads, you can shift the homepage focus to healthcare. Just for them.   

Optimizley did just that...


Generic version of Optimizely homepage


Homepage optimised for users in the travel industry

Learn more about homepage personalisation here.


Applying smart rules will also enable you to deliver dynamic, site-wide CTAs that provide what Acquia describe as “the next best action” for the user based on their data. While HubSpot report that “personalised calls to action perform 202% better than basic CTAs.”

If a visitor works for a Construction company and they’re at the Consideration stage of their lifecycle, make sure they’re seeing calls to action for Consideration content that’s applicable to their industry—maybe a Construction based case study or infographic.


Learn more about Smart CTAs here.


Personalisation has a big future in marketing—it just makes sense.

Everyone likes to feel understood, and this is what brands can achieve when they build customer journeys that feel natural. The more people feel a connect with your content, the better. Especially in the modern, complex world of B2B buying.

Getting personal with your content is a no-brainer, but it does require a lot of brain power. With a distinct lack of resources it’s a big undertaking, and with the growing influence of data the possibilities can seem almost endless, even overwhelming for some.

Right now, brands need to get the basics right, collect all existing data and build in maturity over time. Take action today to make your marketing work harder tomorrow.


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