Marketing

Personalize B2B customer relationships in 5 steps – eCommerce Magazin

The traditionally close relationship between customer and brand has weakened significantly in recent years. Several factors are responsible for this: Hardly any product still has a real one unique selling pointbecause from the consumer’s point of view there is an equivalent alternative for almost everything. The increase in online retail is also eroding the bond between customer and brand. Modern retail replaces this bond with personalization in the customer journey. Most customers now rate the customer experience higher than the product itself.

Although there is basically no sensible alternative, small and medium-sized companies in particular shy away from it Way into personalization still – mainly because of the feared complexity of the task and the associated costs. In fact, the opposite is the case: the complexity is manageable, the benefits outweigh the costs. When implementing a personalization strategy, however, it is important not to approach the topic selectively, but strategically. There is a tried and tested process for this, which divides this challenge into five manageable steps.

1. Establish a team and define target groups

A strategic task needs a team to carry it out. Ideally, it encompasses different roles and qualifications. This includes an executive sponsor who drives the project forward with the management and acts as an interface to other parts of the company. Classic roles in a CX team are, for example, those responsible for strategy, content, user guidance as well as data analysis and marketing.

The first tasks of the team include the definition of key performance indicators and the categorization of individual target groups. These groups consist of “personas” – defined here as virtual customers, to whom demographic data, age, location, preferences, behavioral patterns and goals are ideally assigned. Modern CX platforms such as the Sitecore Experience Platform offer further options for personalization, which can be derived from the behavior of customers in the past or the number of visits to the website.

2. Include internal and external data

When defining the personas, the CX team should also include external data sources, for example for localizing customer groups based on geographic features. In addition to the definition, this data opens up possibilities for location-based offers, such as the recommendation of local partners or special products taking into account the current weather.

Linking internal data sources from marketing, sales or service also helps to define the personas and thus the personalized content even more precisely. The only requirement: they have to be consistent and available centrally in order to be included in the data-supported definition of the target groups.

3. Plan the route of the customer journey

On the basis of the personas, the CX team can sketch the customer journey in the next step, i.e. the path the customer takes through the offers of a company. The combination of persona and journey defines the points at which personalized content has to be provided. Macaw recommends mapping this customer journey for every important channel. This will likely result in content overlaps with other channels, which can, however, be used as smooth transitions for customers between these channels.

4. Create and distribute content

With this knowledge, the CX team can set about creating the content of the customer journey. It is important to take into account the character traits of the personas, i.e. their interests, special needs or technical knowledge. All of this shapes the content and tonality of the content. The creation is an iterative process: If the measurements of access and length of stay, for example, do not give satisfactory values, the content must be adapted.

5. Build omnichannel sales

Personalizing the website is only the first step. Modern customers are on the move on many channels: in addition to the classic PC or notebook, also on smartphones, tablets or even with networked speakers or smart watches. Classic display advertising in public spaces is also an option for personalized customer approach, because it is also becoming more and more digital, networked and responsive.

The strategic planning of a comprehensive customer journey should include these touchpoints. CX teams should take into account that the course of the customer journey also depends on the device used: A small screen on a mobile device, for example, requires more compact content and a shorter route to the most important service offers than the customer journey on a desktop PC .

Customer journey: looking to the future

Personalizing the customer journey not only helps companies meet customer needs, it also paves the way for a future that will offer new elements and tools for that journey.

Customer Journey Macaw
Carsten Dalquen is Account Director Digital at Macaw. (Image: Macaw)

“Even today there are voice-controlled offers and intelligent shopping bots. These options will only increase. AI will be increasingly able to recognize moods and communicate with customers in natural language. No company that focuses on the customer can afford to do without personalization – also with a view to their own future, ”explains Carsten Dalquen, Account Director Digital at Macaw.
The digital service provider Macaw supports companies with solutions and services in the field of digital marketing and e-commerce, data and AI, cloud and integrated business applications. Preferably software solutions from Microsoft and Sitecore are used. (sg)

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