What’s Inside Behavioral Data?

Personas have been used for a number of years by B2B digital marketers to craft content that aligns with a visitor’s context. But we all know that personas are also so… 2015. The rise in personalization has revealed both the limits and challenges of persona-based content creation — creating and maintaining content for every persona is a lot of work and getting that content in front of the visitor at the right time is tricky.

Move from personas to personalization

In order to get that content in front of the right person, you have to know a bit about the visitor. Usually that’s done with either first party or third party data that you’ve gathered or obtained about the visitor. But both regulatory changes (see GDPR) and industry practices (see ITP 2.1) are going to limit the effectiveness of such tracking in the near future. So you’re going to have to take a different approach to identifying and segmenting users.

Using behavior data and contextual data for segmentation is one way to be able to deliver relevant content in an environment where persona data may not be available. With this approach, visitors don’t need to hand over any personal data for you to best understand who is visiting your site and what their goals are, and what content they need to see to progress their journey.

There are two types of behavioral data 

  1. Historical behavior: What pages have they visited? What have they viewed on the site? What articles did they read? Where have they clicked? What content have they downloaded? Marketers (especially with the help of advanced technology like text analytics and machine learning) can make use of all of this aggregate behavioral and contextual data to model patterns that are associated with task achievement. 
  2. Real-time behavior: Models are great, but putting them to work is where the magic happens. The real-time data related to a  particular customer’s experience (the pages they look at and the context of those pages)is compared to the model. Task predictions take place and content effective at progression towards those tasks are presented to users. At a minimum, contextual data can be used to recommend related content.

Understanding past behavior is the critical input to being able to predict effective future journeys. This type of personalization reduces the workload on content creators because it maximizes the use of content that you already have on your website. It’s also content that your visitors have already told you is effective. 

How do you use behavioral personalization on your site?

Getting started with personalization can be difficult. Many integrated MarTech stacks include personalization capabilities but many companies don’t use those capabilities. Often that comes down to one of two choke points: IT teams enabling some of the capability, and/or content teams creating the content to be presented.

Behavioral personalization can mitigate some of those concerns by using the content that you already have, data that’s readily available, and easy to deploy technologies to offer content suggestions that progress journeys towards completion. 

Despite fitting your persona classification, your visitors and prospects are wildly diverse with no two achieving their objectives in the same way. No amount of information about demographics or firmographics will help solve that journey diversity problem. Behavioral data packs a wealth of knowledge about not just your visitor, but their relationship to your products. Use that and you’ll connect more visitors with the content that matters.

Madeline Moran

About Madeline Moran

Madeline is the Marketing Assistant for SoloSegment, an AI fueled software company that makes website conversions easier through personalized content recommendation.

Keep Your Content from Disappearing into the Blogroll

Your content marketing is too valuable to waste

How findable is the content on your site? If the answer is that you aren’t sure — you may have a problem. And you aren’t alone. Many marketers spend great lengths of time on content marketing. But a lot of that content goes unread. The main problem is that the people you want to read it can’t find it.

B2B content is just as vital

When we talk to B2B content creators they often lament the fact that their content — especially blog posts on corporate websites — seems to be a lone voice in the wilderness. Their point of view is expressed and then lost for all of time. The metrics make depressingly clear the irrelevance of the effort.

In B2B where a purchase is a group decision, this is an even greater concern. There are multiple decision makers that need to weigh in. It’s all the more important to have a wide variety of relevant content available that is accessible to the right people, at the right time in their journey.

Buyers crave personalization

The more you can direct individuals to content that addresses their business or functional concerns the more likely they are to buy. Infosys research suggests 31% of customers say they wish their shopping experience was far more personalized than it currently is, and 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized.

Personalization becomes key.

A recent report from Seismic shows that personalized content helps achieve B2B objectives. 80% of respondents claimed all of their top objectives were better met when content is personalized. But many marketers avoid engaging in it because it is such a manual process.

The step ahead: automation

Automation is one way to abandon the tedious and sometimes futile work of hand-crafting content experiences and customer journeys. Behavior-based content recommendation suggests the next content piece to a viewer based on where they are at in their journey. Content can not only be found and used to answer questions, but is also offered at the moment it’s most needed.

Content marketing isn’t enough. You need content findability. You need a well cultivated content experience. Is your content well segmented for each user’s needs? Does your blog have sections so the content can be navigated? And with many different products, decision-makers and questions, you may need to bring automation to content. Otherwise, you risk your valuable content vanishing into the blogroll.

Madeline Moran

About Madeline Moran

Madeline is the Marketing Assistant for SoloSegment, an AI fueled software company that makes website conversions easier through personalized content recommendation.

Personalization — It’s Not Just for B2C

This past year, the demand for personalization is at an all-time high.

According to a Lytics white paper, two-thirds of customers want brands to adjust content based on their real-time context. Over 40% are annoyed if you don’t. And another two-thirds of those said they skip making a purchase out of annoyance.

That’s not just a problem for retail.

The Future of Personalization

Marketing’s future is not just about knowing about your customer’s identity. That dream is slowly being killed off by companies like Facebook abusing their power, getting marketers slapped with legal restraints.

But you have far more data than that. You have the potential for behavior based personalization. Track what buyers come to your site and their buyer’s journey — what content they click through to reach a conversion — and you’ll get a guide for content suggestions.

The B2B World is Lagging Behind

B2C took the lead on personalization. Meanwhile too many B2B marketers are either early on in the process, or so behind that getting started feels daunting. According to the Seismic report, of the B2B marketers who responded, 55% have been personalizing content for two years or less. For a little over half of marketers, the main stumbling blocks are a lack of technology, bandwidth, and data.

Marketers make it harder for themselves than it needs to be. 67% are using entirely or mostly manual processes for content personalization. With a little automation plus the data on your website, you could be leading the pack.

B2B Buyers Expect Better

All signs point to B2B buyers being let down. In a SalesForce report, 65% of B2B buyers switch brands if a brand doesn’t personalize communications. 75% expect companies to “anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions” by 2020. This means the future we are headed in is one of content recommendation, of curated and responsive personalization.

You can get started in B2B personalization. You already have more data than you think — all of your website analytics. Behavior based personalization is waiting. It’s just a matter of taking the dive.

Madeline Moran

About Madeline Moran

Madeline is the Marketing Assistant for SoloSegment, an AI fueled software company that makes website conversions easier through personalized content recommendation.