Spotify turns ten this year. When it launched in 2008, it forced industry bigwigs to make room for the new kings of the hill: those who write music, and those who listen to it. Today, thanks to Spotify’s visionary use of personalization and behavioral data, the service has attracted over 83 million subscribers who can plug into more than 35 million songs.
A more democratized music industry has created many winners, but it has its losers, too. Especially if your songs are among the millions of tracks on Spotify that have never been played. As they compete for a share of listeners’ finite attention, artists are asking: how do I make sure that people find and love my music, not someone else’s?
Swap “product” for “music” and that question starts to feel familiar to the B2B marketer.
Personalization is key to being heard above the noise
Just as Spotify made it possible for unknown musicians to share a stage with Top 40 stars, low-cost development tools mean that anyone with a laptop can compete against B2B tech giants. As a result, the SaaS industry is expected to grow by 60% between 2017 and 2020. Almost every B2B market segment has become highly fragmented and hyper-competitive.
This raises the cost of search for sellers and intensifies fatigue for buyers, who simply don’t have time to evaluate their options. Instead, they’re turning to each other for advice, creating a buying economy that over-rewards some solutions and deep-sixes others in the blink of an eye.
Against this backdrop, how are B2B brands meant to attract customers’ limited attention? The solution lies in three interconnected layers of personalization.
THE FIRST LAYER:
Tailored data to target best-fit in-market accounts
Working with the one-size-fits-all datasets offered by traditional vendors is like reading a book whose pages are out of order. Sure, the words make sense. But the overall story is nonsense.
To truly embrace big data and protect against extinction, companies need a modern data vendor to help them focus on best-fit accounts that are surging on intent. In other words, highly targeted account data is no longer a premium perk—it’s a necessary tool for survival.
THE SECOND LAYER:
Tailored messaging to attract your customer
Once you’ve identified your target accounts, your next step is to say something that they want to hear.
Today’s buyers don’t have time to investigate for themselves how your product will solve their problem. And even if they did, they may not care about what you’re saying: only 4% of B2B marketers consider their content to be “extremely successful,” which suggests that it’s not resonating with buyers. It may be too difficult to understand, too focused on product capabilities, or too irrelevant.
Relevancy matters now more than ever. If you’re not fluent in your buyers’ language, they’re not going to hear you. A modern data vendor can help you build that fluency. With the right data, you can proactively personalize your message using the same terms your buyers use, creating instant familiarity and “stickiness” between you and your target customer.
THE THIRD LAYER:
Tailored experiences to create an “a-ha!” moment
Now that you’re talking to your buyers in their own language, your next step is to stop talking altogether… and start showing.
Given how little time they have to consider their options, many buyers would rather experience a product than read about it. In fact, research shows that the median rate for B2B conversions from a free trial is 66%. Savvy companies even go so far as to build a series of personalized interfaces for buyers to explore, giving them a memorable experience of the product in a way that’s tailored to their use-case. This makes them far likelier to convert—and to do it quickly.
Conclusion: Personalization vs. extinction.
Spotify has helped underdog musicians find their niche, but has just as quickly buried others in obscurity.
The same fate is being decided in the B2B world, where victory belongs to companies who understand personalization—how to get it as a data buyer, and how to apply it as a relevant content provider.
Which fate will you choose?