Website Personalization that Drives B2B Marketing Performance (And How Adobe Does It)


Published on

How do you optimize the web experience for your most important prospects and clients? How do you ensure you’re serving them content that resonates best when they’re just researching solutions versus ready to buy? This deep-dive from Gleanster Research explores a term they coined “Real-time Website Content Versioning,” which enables marketers to dynamically serve relevant content when it’s most-important, like the so-called “moment of truth.” Download now to learn about Adobe’s success with this marketing tactic and why you should get started now.

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Website Personalization that Drives B2B Marketing Performance (And How Adobe Does It)

  1. 1. January 2012 Gleansight Deep Dive . Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization to Drive B2B Marketing ImprovementAbout the Pie Chart How B2B Marketers Can Capitalize on an Emerging TechnologyThe data presented in the pie chart is That Gleanster Terms “Real-time Website Content Versioning”derived from the Q2 2011 Gleansterbenchmark report B2B PrecisionMarketing. The data presented in the Personalization sits at the very heart of marketing performance improvementbody of this report is derived also fromthe Q1 2012 Gleanster benchmark in B2B companies as well as in B2C companies. The latter camp has madereport Web Content Management. enormous strides in recent years in being able to present customers andThe data serves as the basis for prospects with relevant content, offers, recommendations and other types ofthis Gleansight Deep Dive, whichprovides analyst commentary related messages via online channels, including the company website, in an automatedto a particular aspect of the topic. and systematic fashion. They have done this through a variety of means — forThe objective is to provide additionalperspective and illuminate certain example, by using cookies that tie user sessions to web content managementkey considerations regarding the systems. Underlying the technologies are analytic capabilities designed toimplementation of the related technol-ogy-enabled business initiative. impute an individual’s propensity to make a purchase decision based on such factors as their online browsing behavior and also, when possible, by incorpo-This Deep Dive explores the benefits rating personal profile data that might include their past purchase history andof website content personalization. various geo-demographic and psychographic attributes.It looks at how B2B marketers havetraditionally achieved some semblanceof personalization as well as anemerging technology for enablingwhat Gleanster terms Real-timeWebsite Content Versioning. It alsolooks at some of the existing alterna-tives as well as the adoption curve ofa somewhat analogous approach to 96%delivering relevant content — namely,email marketing personalization. Percentage of Top Performers that cite the ability to increase customer acquisition as the top reason to invest in technologies and capabilities thatTo learn more about Gleanster’s drive B2B precision marketing effectivenessresearch methodology, please clickhere or email It hasn’t been so easy for B2B companies. That challenge, however, is being dutifully These marketers are at a disadvantage in addressed today by technology innovation that they operate in a fundamentally different that has produced a next-generation approach Rate & Review world — one where the buying intentions, not to website content personalization. The to mention the identities of the influencers approach, which began to prove out its value Related Research and decision-makers ultimately responsible last year and is likely to gain much broader Tell a Friend for making the buying decisions, are generally adoption in 2012, makes it possible to identify unknown. It’s a world where the ability to the company affiliation of a website visitor theNote: This document is intended for individual dynamically serve up relevant content at the very moment they hit the company’s website,use. Electronic distribution via email or by post-ing on a personal website is in violation of the so-called “moment of truth” has tradition- even before the visitor’s web browser hasterms of use. ally presented a monumental challenge. loaded a single metabyte of display content.Entire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
  2. 2. Deep Dive: Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization for B2B Marketing Improvement 2 When combined with a business rules and web on the business card of the current website content management system, the IP address visitor and then acting upon this knowledge mapping-based technology can deliver real in an automated and real-time fashion to marketing magic. Imagine being able to, in engage that individual in a context-sensitive the blink of an eye, present a new website fashion. Too good to be true? It’s not the first visitor with content — not only text, but also time a new technology has promised to bring graphic elements and even video and other to fruition that long-heralded vision of one-to- rich media — one marketing “Relevant website content that speaks to personalization, them in a highly although few relevant fashion based on their means more website traffic, have touted anything that company’s firmographic longer website sessions, and resembles this capability in profile and anticipated more frequent website visits.” the context of B2B. Figure needs. Website 1 illustrates copy could reference the name of their some of the key milestones in the evolution company and, using real-time database of website content personalization. queries, activate “best next actions” according The system of IP mapping goes far beyond to a set of predefined parameters. Is the merely making it possible to serve up regional company a medium-sized business? That or localized content based on the geographic may influence how the product or service is location of a website visitor, as is now common positioned on the homepage and even which practice. Instead, the technology seeks to products or services to feature, in the first enable what Gleanster calls Real-time Website place. It may also dictate which client examples Content Versioning (RWCV). And although and informational resources to present. Does still in its infancy, it has shown enormous the company have a retail franchise structure? promise in helping more than a few B2B Are sales down from last year? Is it a seasonal companies improve website effectiveness in business? Is it currently doing business with ways that drive significant increases in lead a competitor? Does it sell direct or through generation and new customer acquisition. reseller channels? Where is the company likely to be in the consideration-and-buying process? Website Content Personalization Precision marketing nirvana is knowing as It’s a foregone conclusion that personalized much as possible about the company printed website content should – and generally does – Rate & Review Related Research Tell a FriendNote: This document is intended for individualuse. Electronic distribution via email or by post-ing on a personal website is in violation of theterms of use.Entire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
  3. 3. Deep Dive: Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization for B2B Marketing Improvement 3 lead to higher conversion rates and increased content and the likelihood that the accumula- return on marketing investment (ROMI). It’s tion of interactions will ultimately culminate not surprising then that, according to survey in a transaction and new client relationship. data captured for the Q1 2012 Gleansight In fact, according to Gleanster research, benchmark report Web Content Management, “content engagement time” is a performance a majority of companies within the B2B realm metric that Top Performers are more apt to are investing in technologies, capabilities, and use than Everyone Else (67% compared to resources to bring the concept of web content 54%). The reason, no doubt, is that the former personaliza- have a deeper tion to life. In fact, 71% of “Today, the vast majority understanding of the direct Top Perform- ers, compared of visitors to a company’s correlation that exists between to 60% of Everyone website remain anonymous.” the amount of time that a Else, indicated prospect spends that they on the company’s website browsing and are making improvement in web content interacting with relevant content and eventual relevance a priority focus area this year buying outcomes. Companies can deploy (see Figure 2). These companies recognize web analytics to track and measure engage- that a one-size-fits-all approach to prospect ment time and activity in the aggregate, with engagement via the website generally results click tracking, heat maps and other reporting in higher abandonment rates, fewer return tools providing some level of insight into how visitors, and fewer overall conversions than website visitors are interacting with the content an approach that offers content tailored to and where they are spending their time. specific segments of website visitors. But these tools have limited value when all Simply put, relevant website content means visitors are seeing the same content, regard- more website traffic, longer website sessions, less of company size, industry vertical and and more frequent website visits. More to other defining characteristics that align with the point, Gleanster research points to a differentiated engagement tactics, and also direct correlation between the amount of time regardless of where they rank as a target that a prospect (which, in a B2B situation, account from the perpective of the sales is actually likely to involve multiple individu- organization. In an ideal world, a company als – both influencers and decision-makers would receive a notification whenever a high – from the same company) spends on the value, high priority target account spent an company website engaging with relevant average of x number of minutes on the website Figure 2: B2B Companies Focus on Improving Web Content Relevance Rate & Review Related Research 71% 60% Tell a FriendNote: This document is intended for individual 71% of Top Performers (compared to 60% of Everyone Else) within the B2B realmuse. Electronic distribution via email or by post- indicate that “improving web content relevance” is a “high priority” focus area in 2012ing on a personal website is in violation of theterms of use. Source: GleansterEntire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
  4. 4. Deep Dive: Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization for B2B Marketing Improvement 4 perusing relevant content and engaging Most B2B companies are unlikely to need in calls-to-action of a specific kind (e.g., hundreds of permutations, in contrast to their downloading a particular white paper or other B2C brethren, but they certainly need their content asset). They would know who these messaging to be sufficiently granular. That companies are by name. Moreover, they would granularity comes not only from prospect profile be able to adaptively engage these website information, which they may or may not have, visitors in a real-time fashion to enrich the but also from their online behavior. What are quality of their experience and help ensure they clicking on? What are they downloading? that they’ve accomplished their objectives. Of course, B2B marketers have a number of Current State of B2B Content Targeting tools at their disposal that go beyond push email for delivering relevant content to target For many B2B marketers, email has served, customers and prospects. These tools can and continues to serve, as the backbone of have a positive impact on achieving the desired their prospect engagement strategy. The ability objectives to personalize around lead “The interest level and email content generation and according to the conversion firmographic attributes of the buying intentions of any and are being increasingly target recipient ranks as a key given contact name within embraced by B2B marketers success factor by Top Perform- a B2B distribution list who, by and ers. Everything from subject are seldom known and large, are under more pressure line and copy difficult to ascertain.” than ever to maximize to the selection the value and position- of their marketing investments and ing of the various graphic elements within the demonstrate ROMI. In many cases, body of the email can and should be designed their job security depends upon it. to resonate with the target audience based on who they are (title, role, function within the An example is event-based marketing triggers, organization), the business of their company in which case a business rules engine is used (industry sector, company size, customer base) to automatically send an email with embedded and the likely nature of their current needs content or related landing page links in and buying intentions. The problem, of course, response to a website visitor who has “tripped is that the interest level and buying inten- a wire,” so to speak — by downloading a white tions of any given contact name within a B2B paper from the company website, for example, email distribution list are seldom known and or via a content syndication partner. Inviting difficult to ascertain. This dearth of informa- new email subscriber opt-ins to a website tion can prove to be detrimental if companies preference center where they can indicate their choose to hawk their wares to prospects needs and select from topics of interest as they that aren’t currently in the market to buy. relate to the company’s products or services can also trigger predefined responses. The content permutations in an email marketing campaign, whether one focused Marketing triggers work well in theory. But on customer acquisition, customer retention, again, In practice, only a small percentage and/or customer cross-sell / up-sell, can (in most cases, less than 1%) of a company’s be as numerous as a company deems website visitors take the bait — that is, necessary. Most large enterprises rely on the engage in a call-to-action that enables the principles of experimental design, conduct- company to capture their contact informa- Rate & Review ing extensive multivariate, or A/B, testing to tion, let alone gain actionable insights into help ensure that their marketing content is their (and their company’s) buying intentions Related Research optimized by narrowly-defined segments of with respect to a particular product or service prospects and/or customers. Experimental offering. Today, the vast majority of visitors Tell a Friend design helps ensure that they are generat- to a company’s website remain anonymous,Note: This document is intended for individual ing the best possible campaign performance and enticing them to volunteer their contactuse. Electronic distribution via email or by post- information is likely to remain a monumen-ing on a personal website is in violation of the given their budgetary, time, or other contraintsterms of use. and based on their marketing objectives. tal challenge for most B2B marketers.Entire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
  5. 5. Deep Dive: Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization for B2B Marketing Improvement 5 Knowing when prospects are in buying mode, browser that can be used to identify them in or at least in the early consideration stage, the future. When the visitor visits a website may be indicated by their browsing behavior that supports retargeting, companies have the or response ability to display to a call-to- a follow-up ad action — or, “Companies need to be able to this same importantly, prospect across by the simple to determine what content multiple websites. fact that they visited the is most likely to resonate While the technology may website, in the first place. with prospective buyers by help marketers increase brand Company identification narrowly defined segments awareness, the relevancy of technologies can help and to then create and deliver the content is generally lacking. compensate the messages and offers in Moreover, the for the fact continuous that only a compelling fashion.” recurrance of a small the same ad can fraction of feel like a pesky website visitors submit an email address. housefly following you around the room, Information captured through website buzzing incessantly in your ear. visitor analysis can inform email, direct mail and/or phone outreach. Content Mapping Next-generation tools promise to make Another recent technology innovation that Real-time Website Content Versioning a reality. pertains to content personalization is retarget- Yet, even then, companies need to be able ing software. Also known as remessaging and to determine what content is most likely to remarketing, retargeting means presenting a resonate with prospective buyers by narrowly targeted display ad via various ad networks defined segments and to then create and to a prospect after they were either previously deliver the messages and offers in a compel- presented with an ad but failed to convert or ling fashion. Addressing them by industry or they visited the company’s website but failed even company name only goes so far, and, in to convert. The technology works by allowing fact, may have a negative impact if the content a website tag to write a cookie on the visitor’s itself doesn’t also reflect an understanding Rate & Review Related Research Tell a Friend Note: This document is intended for individual use. Electronic distribution via email or by post- ing on a personal website is in violation of the terms of use. Entire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
  6. 6. Deep Dive: Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization for B2B Marketing Improvement 6 of their identity. Figure 3 illustrates the basic you may want to just clear your cookies.” steps in data querying between website visitor On the topic of cookies, proposed “Do Not identification and web content delivery. Track” legislation may severely curtail the use According of cookies for to the benchmark “In the past, it has been website content personaliza- report B2B Precision next to impossible to tion. IP lookup technologies Marketing, 93% of Top optimize website content, comply with “Do Not Track” Perform- for the simple reason that standards of doing so requires advanced ers view online privacy the need because there to create narrowly- knowledge of the identity is no applica- tion or usage of defined customer and characteristics of the cookies or pixel tracking, and that segmentation schemes individual website visitor.” may ultimately be viewed as the as key to icing in the cake. maximizing the value of an investment in a related initiative. Companies, like individual Website Content Optimization consumers, don’t exist as two-dimensional Multivariate experimental design processes, cardboard cutouts. Rather, companies are also know as A/B testing, are used to complex and unique entities that possess an scientifically match different prospect enormous range of differing characteristics. segments with different marketing treat- When creating a segmentation scheme, ments, content variations, to optimize consider the following firmographic attributes: offer-matching. As discussed, the technique is standard in email marketing, where the • Company size / revenues target audience is well-defined in advance. • Industry / types of products The concept is equally applicable in the & services sold context of website content, given the ability • Geographic location to do real-time identification. In both cases, the objective is content optimization. • Markets served In mathematics, optimization refers to • Competitor / market activities choosing the best element from some set • Business structure or of available alternatives. It’s about solving process considerations problems in which one seeks to minimize or maximize a function by systematically • Perceived wants and needs choosing the values of variables from within an • Perceived readiness-to-buy stage allowed set. It means finding “best available” • Projected customer value values of some objective function given a defined domain. In the past, it has been next to By understanding customer context and impossible to optimize website content, for the serving up relevant content in response simple reason that doing so requires advanced to that understanding, companies can knowledge of the identity and characteristics deliver more relevant and productive of the individual website visitor. Lacking this prospect and customer experiences. capability, companies have strived to optimize When it comes to Real-time Website Content by routing content based on the visitor journey Versioning, one question to ask is whether a through the website, by allowing people to Rate & Review high degree of personalization on company navigate their way to relevant content. Related Research website could be off-putting. Early adopters The goal and perhaps a key performance don’t seem too concerned. “We are targeting metric should be to reduce the amount of Tell a Friend B2B marketers who do online marketing searching and navigation required to arrive at and testing and targeting and understand the “right” content, by being able to anticipateNote: This document is intended for individualuse. Electronic distribution via email or by post- that,” noted one marketer. “Way more than what that content is and then serving it uping on a personal website is in violation of the creepy, it’s just awesome. It would probably in a real-time manner. With the implementa-terms of use. be very different in a B2C environment, where tion of real-time website content versioning,Entire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
  7. 7. Deep Dive: Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization for B2B Marketing Improvement 7 friction is reduced and the notion of “zero- conversion lift over the generic versions. “InDeep Dive Talking Points click website” inches closer to reality. most of the A/B tests, offers targeted specifi- cally by industry generate a call-to-action liftThe following are a few key takeaways: Of course, B2B marketing success doesn’t of 5-15%,” he says. “We’re now optimizing happen solely by being able to identify• The ability to dynamically serve up the funnel metrics to get down more into the relevant content at the so-called website visitors by company and industry sales oppor- “moment of truth” has tradition- or even tunities and ally presented a monumental challenge for B2B marketers by buying intention and “Combining Real-time sales-accept- ed leads and,• An emerging approach that uses IP mapping technol- purchase authority Website Content Version- ultimately, ogy seeks to enable what Gleanster calls Real-time — that is, whether ing technology with its revenue. Any time own image rendering Website Content Versioning. we’re able to they’re a• Company identification technolo- increase our decision- gies can help compensate for the fact that only a small maker, an system, Adobe is now able conversion rate on those to serve up highly targeted fraction of website visitors influencer submit an email address. offers, we’ll or merely an typically see• Addressing website visitors by industry or even company name employee entirely discon- messages and offers.” a lift further may have a negative impact if the down the nected from content itself doesn’t also reflect funnel.” the process. The art of creative development an understanding of their identity. will continue to be as important as ever in Clearly, there’s stil work to be done.• The goal should be to reduce the terms of eliciting a positive response. The To date, for example, Adobe has been amount of searching and naviga- challenge is to marry the art with the science. successful in matching traffic on less than tion required to arrive at the “right” content, by being able to anticipate a quarter of website visitors. That percent- Case in Point: Adobe Systems age is likely to increase over time as the what that content is and then serving it up in a real-time manner. Software giant Adobe Systems began testing IP mapping library continues to grow. the waters of Real-time Website Content Adobe has experimented with account Versioning in early 2011, using industry identification not only by industry by also vertical, account size, and even individual by company name on external display company name as the basis for personalized media on sites like Clickz and eMarketer. content targeting. According to the project In some instances, a call-to-action would managers at Adobe, deploying IP mapping promote a guide with the message that it to auto-fill banner ads and webpages with had been specifically prepared for, say, content that relates specifically to the identity Hewett-Packard.“We’re going to continue run of the individual browser or visitor has thus these programs because we know that they far produced some impressive results. create more relevant content for users,” says Like all marketers, Adobe has traditionally Fuhriman. “We don’t have significant findings been limited to using generic and broadly down towards the bottom of the funnel but applicable offers and headlines in the online it’s hard for us to come up with that sort of channel. Combining Real-time Website significance for anything because the bottom Content Versioning technology with its own of the funnel is so much bigger than the top.” image rendering system, Adobe Scene Adobe has also experimented with using 7, while also pulling information from a Real-time Website Content Versioning to content optimization plug-in called Test integrate auto-fill into registration forms, and Target, Adobe is now able to serve by pre-populating the forms with existing up highly targeted messages and offers. database information. “We’ve been able For example, a headline that may have to shorten the form by making the fields read: “How sophisticated is your online that are populated disappear, allowing marketing?” can now, depending on the Rate & Review us to go from 12 fields down to 8,” says industry profile of the website visitor, read: Fuhriman. “We’ve done a version where “How sophisticated is your online marketing Related Research it looks the same, with the 8 fields, but for retailers?” or “How sophisticated is your there’s an option to expand the 5 fields Tell a Friend online marketing for travel and hospitality?” that have been populated so people canNote: This document is intended for individual According to Jeff Fuhriman, senior manager, see what’s been populated. The versionuse. Electronic distribution via email or by post- Interactive Conversion Optimization, targeted that hid the fields completely provided aing on a personal website is in violation of theterms of use. headlines consistently yield a significant 33% lift for us, which is very impressive.”Entire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
  8. 8. Deep Dive: Harnessing the Power of Website Personalization for B2B Marketing Improvement 8Lead AuthorJeff ZabinResearch DirectorJeff Zabin previously served asResearch Fellow at AberdeenGroup and in product marketingat FICO. He can be reached Related Research Recently published Gleansight benchmark reports that may be of interest to senior industry practitioners include: Social Media Engagement Email Marketing PersonalizationHeadquarters Social IntelligenceGleanster, LLC825 Chicago Avenue - Suite C BtoB Precision MarketingEvanston, Illinois 60202 Marketing AutomationFor customer support, please Lead Nurturingcontact support@gleanster.comor +1 877.762.9727 Mobile Marketing Lead PrioritizationFor sales information, pleasecontact The Gleanster website also features Deep Dive analyst perspectives onor +1 877.762.9726 these and other topics as well as Success Stories that bring the research to life with real-world case studies. To download Gleanster content, or to view the future research agenda, please visit Rate & Review Related Research About Gleanster Tell a Friend Gleanster benchmarks best practices in technology-enabled businessNote: This document is intended for individual initiatives, delivering actionable insights that allow companies to makeuse. Electronic distribution via email or by post- smart business decisions and match their needs with vendor on a personal website is in violation of theterms of use. Gleanster research can be downloaded for free. All of it.Entire content © 2011 Gleanster, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.