Marketing

Three ways for Personalization at Scale

Andrei Klimovich
March 31, 2021

Personalization, relevance, and timing are three core concepts for effective and fruitful communication with your potential buyers.

While in B2C, there are numerous direct and indirect datapoints processed by multiple ML algorithms to present to best possible output for us buyers to trigger an action,

B2B is much slower and more conservative for such tactics.

There is no secret that personalization matters, and all of us have expectations for personalization and how it should feel.

Many forward-looking marketers and sales managers are working on the future where B2B interactions will have similar feelings as we have with B2C products across our entire customer journey.

Today we will discuss these three ways of making your messaging that helps to stand out at scale into this bucket -

  • Stative parameters about a person, company for initial segmentation
  • Digital footprint (Web activity, social activity)
  • Custom Visuals (Image and video personalization)


There are a few debates about B2B personalization concepts vs. a concept of relevance -

hiring as hyper - personalization from Kyle Coleman
hiring as sales personalization and relevance by Danny Morrisey

As a result, it is hard to do a clear split between them. Still, the first thing that comes to mind about personalization is the concept of segmentation bucket. You want to have different messaging, at least for each industry and buyer persona. We can split the most frequently used data for segmentation into there several buckets -

  • Demographics - age, income, profession, education, gender
  • Firmographics - size, location, industry, title, funding, revenue
  • Technographics - website tech, SaaS,
  • Psychographics - attitude, habits, beliefs, interests, emotions, motivation
  • Behavioral - engagement with our website, application, relevant sources

Let's discuss how these parameters can structure how the the idea of personalization process for sales and marketing teams may look like!

Concept of Segmentation

In your first try at implementing the concept of segmentation for your customers will lead to a transfer from "Non-targeted customers" to "Targeted customers" -

segmentation vs hyper - personalization

While getting from the point "All are equal" to "We have three groups of consumers" is easy.

You can collect three major data points for initial segmentation during the sign-up processes, like

  • Title (aka Buyer Persona)
  • Industry
  • Location

However, going to hyper-personalization or close to it, only with general stative data, becomes the first challenge.

What can we do with a limited budget and best wishes to give our consumers a tremendous entire customer journey? Let's have a look -

Data Enrichment tools

A few vendors on the market are famous for their ability to give a wide range of additional data points about a person based on its email address, company name, or even LinkedIn link.

Clearbit

While Clearbit itself is not a cheap option at scale, it has 100 monthly credits with self--service 1000 credits to give it a try. The price is $0.1 per enriched domain, and you can get a long list of variables, like specialization, company keywords, description, complete firmographics data, even SIC codes -

clearbit API example to use for hyper - personalization

The easiest way to try and start is to check the Clearbit Forms solution, so any submitted form will be enriched with data if it has information on the company.

Snov.io

What about data like LinkedIn Links? It can be a frequent case if your sales team works with potential customers via LinkedIn, saving their links. However, they might not have time to fill in all necessary data points to provide a great customer experience.

To enrich your dataset based on LinkedIn URLs, we suggest trying snov.io email finder. They have an option to import LinkedIn URLs and get data on them -

Eample of Snov.io API to build personalized emails

You can make an import either from UI or using API and integrations like Zapier.

The price starts from $0.04 per profile and gets cheaper if you buy more credits.

Apollo.io

Apollo.io has its database with over 10 million company profiles. The data is collected from public sources like LinkedIn.

The quality of the dataset is not ideal - you can easily find that data is not quarterly refreshed for most companies. Still, it allows you to get a wide range of data points on account level for free directly from LinkedIn!

You can import your list of domains or pull them from your Customer Relationships Management system (CRM) to get a complete data sample -

Example of Apollo.io data import and enrichment for sales personalization

Here is a link to the enriched spreadsheet, where we imported only company names and domains where it was possible - Company Data Sample.

The final way is that Apollo has its API and it is allowed to enrich and get data through it -

Apollo.io company enrichment API for qualified leads

HubSpot (internal database)

Data was one of the pain points for users to use CRM at its total capacity. As a result, companies like Salesforce acquired data.com late in 2011. Like them, HubSpot also acquired a data startup and enriched any company domain imported into it with relevant data.

Since data is free, its quality is also questionable in many aspects, but it solves its task in general.

You can import a list of domains or collect form requests using HubSpot Forms or use Non-HubSpot forms.

The final result per each record will look like that -

HubSpot after import data enrichment response for personalized content


Rocks & Gold

Many intent data providers collect company and contact data to make better predictions about what the company needs based on its static parameters.

As a result, we also enrich each profile we collect from public sources like LinkedIn to get a better picture of our data.

Also, as a unique differentiator, we collect primary data from job boards. Many companies leave better/fresher descriptions of what they do compare to LinkedIn description data.

You can enrich our dataset using the Enrichment feature and export data via CSV or CRM integration -

Rocks And Gold data enrichment import tab to check sales-ready leads

The final list you can find in the Enriched tab -

Rocks & Gold piece of content example of enriched company profile

In addition to general stative data, you will also get a history of the company hiring requests and export the most relevant trigger to your case.

Data Collection tools

LinkedIn Helper/Expandi/Dux-Soup/Phantombuster/TexAu/Any LinkedIn parsing tool

Similar to the concept of Snov.io/Apollo.io, we want to get public data on people we collect data from our forms.

While data enrichment might not be the case for you, it is always an option to collect data directly.

One of the public data sources to look at is LinkedIn. We can use plenty of automation tools to push Company names, Company LinkedIn URLs, personal LinkedIn URLs, websites to get the data about these companies and people -

Options to collect data for personalized emails from LinkedIn by TexAu

Example from TexAu

Commercial Datasets

There are many vendors on the market that collect and keep data up to date. They have an option to enrich and update your records on request. Some examples are ZoomInfo, Crunchbase, Cognism, etc.

All of the listed datasets have significant investments in UI, self-service model, so we also suggest you review a marketplace for data vendors - datarade.ai

You can find services to buy and enrich your data using developed API n much cheaper terms compared to popular alternatives on the market.


Applying any of the presented sources will help you to segment your incoming leads or raw collected consumer profiles in such a way, so you can structure your welcome message into a bucket where a person follows a profile like that -

Buyer Persona - VPs of Sales

Company -

  • 11-50 size bracket
  • from Finance sector
  • in the US
  • working with P2P systems
  • searching for Sales Development skills
  • on Remote
  • in 35+$/hour rates
  • the latest company online activity was 6 days ago

Successful implementation of segmentation in your company highly depends on your process and ability to set up labels and segments in your marketing software. Then it is crucial to have a dedicated person to structure messaging for each segment. Finally, only when you have a process and responsible people should you look at the right software to accomplish your targets.

Concept of Digital Footprint

The concept works in the B2C sector amazingly and intensely exploited by IT giants like Facebook and Google to be addicted to their services.

To give you a fresh view of how Google can personalize your experience in real time, please try to login into YouTube incognito -

Challenge of hyper - personalization based on YouTube search window in incognito mode

That's my view. Some music, travel, documentary, science, talk-shows, lifestyles in several languages. Each proposal is 350k+ in views.

There is how all of you will see YouTube without any digital personalization and data on you.

At the same time, using personal, 3rd party, and engagement data, YouTube start to propose very similar topics to my interests -

Real Challenge of beating YouTube search tab with personal account sign-in

I even get videos with 55 views, "What Complacency looks like in your marketing strategy," cause there might be a high probability for me to treat it interesting and watch in full!

So the cost of acquiring my attending is much lower on the personalized premise for not so trendy topics compare to top trends where I may take a look at a few.

Similarly, McKinsey researched in 2019, stating that personalization efforts can

  • decrease costs of new users by more than 50 percent
  • increase income by 5-15%
  • improve the overall effectiveness of marketing activities by 10-30% with the increase in response rate

Besides, based on research done by Adobe, 2/3 of consumers want to receive a personalized message. Almost a half gets annoyed when they receive content not tailored to them.

Finally, based on Accenture Interactive recent study, almost any consumer is more willing to buy from a business showing knowledge about customers and delivering relevant recommendations and offers.

However, based on recent Forbes Insights, almost half of marketers struggle to implement great personalized experiences based on the data quality they collect.


So what can we do today to deliver an effective personalization strategy and create great customer journeys for each customer?

First of all, we need to understand

  • what type of footprints we want to collect
  • what sources of these data

Only after that choose the right software to build a personalization at scale experience.


In terms of data collection and digital footprints, the best approach is to choose software that collects all historical actions and allows you to tag/label actions during your ongoing updates in customer journeys.

As a result, if you decide to create a new segment of users that visited a not labeled webpage or done not tagged clicks, you can still update it based on saved raw actions without a need to start again.


As for data sources, the most important for you should be our digital assets, like your website and your app. There is the best channel to understand how your customer sees your product and its stage.

If the person

  • visited only your landing page
  • scrolled to 50% of it
  • pent around 15 sec in total on your website

It is strange to treat him as the best loyal customer and spam with product features or ROI calculator.

You still need to educate them about your brand and focus more on stative data about a customer and a company in your approach.

While a person that did specific actions in your product, read a few blog posts and case studies should receive a drip about new product features or best practice insights on features he is using right now.

As for 3rd party data sources, like comments-engagement in social media (company profile follows, the response rate on specific content on other digital channels, content consumption on affiliate networks), you can use scrapping and analytical tools TexAu or Phantombuster or custom set up using software like DataMiner.

So let's have a quick review of available software on the market to deliver close to the B2C experience we have on YouTube or Amazon -

Marketing Software

Today, B2B-focused marketing software made a big jump in features and pricing, so with limited marketing spend, you can get a lot -

  • Entire user journey on your webpages (attach relevant script for each webpage)
  • Tailored customer experience via dynamic content
  • User identification for forms with auto-complete or form removal (no need to push for additional data entry or sign-up among users that left their data in the past).
  • "Smart" pop-up, notifications based on mouse interactions on the screen (help to catch leaving users, or suggest other parts of the website)
  • Chatbots to engage in direct conversation with company representatives, showing the receiving side all info about user interactions with your brand.

All that you can receive in just one product!

Examples of such solutions are ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, Drift/Intercom, Encharge.io, User.com, and many others!

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)

With the growth of different marketing tools that collect additional data types from each channel, there appeared a need to store all that data in one place and make it easy to use by marketing leaders and sales executives.

Before CDPs, the initial approach was to store all that data in the warehouse and, using SQL, create relevant datasets. However, with the growth of data volume, complexity in operations, and required training/additional staff/IT support to make it work, CDPs like segment.com appeared on the market.

Started just as a data collection and data transition tool, building several dozens on sources and destinations, segment start offering products like Personas (aggregated user profile with all data from connected sources).

Since many modern Marketing software products have similar features in their suite, companies like Salesmanago, with positioning as Full Marketing automation software for many years, changed their messaging to an AI-focused Customer Experience and Data platform. Similar to it, even HubSpot start using the Customer Data Platform definition in its blogs.

Analytics Platforms

While there are many tools to collect user data using basic features of marketing software, they are frequently pretty limited in their capabilities or have a high price tag for collecting custom engagement like specific button clicks.

Product analytics software like Heap.io, Amplitude, or Mixpanel was initially created to capture all that data.

Using features like Event Visualizer in Heap, it is easy to create required events to track -

Digital channels assets tagging with Heap.io

Then you can connect the Analytics Platform with your marketing software to receive custom triggers.

With some tweaks, you can also accomplish it using Segment.com and send triggers to HubSpot.

Finally, Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager supports script creating and tagging to send custom information to tools where you need it.

All of the products we presented have significant communities, support documentation, years of existence, and long-lasting users' experience. With the growth of customer support and product onboarding, you can quickly start building your digital consumer journey based on their web interactions!

Concept of Custom Visuals

In my opinion, there is a real power of B2B communication. Having much larger LTV values per customer, we have an opportunity to deliver a better individual customer experience compared to any B2C brand. This experience can be tailored on a much deeper level than just segmentation and online behavior.

In B2C, they use relevancy based on your online behavior and more tailored messages using segmentation. It is strong, and it's working. However, B2B can go further.

Also, most B2B companies are even not in segmentation and digital footprint tracking.

It is easy to understand.

You don't need millions of consumers to be successful. There is no need for such experience for most businesses cause unit economics to train or hire experts to implement these workflows have high risk and may not work. It is good enough when your team works just with a small portion of people every year to close deals.

However, the market is growing and changing. Many successful B2C experts start their own business and implement B2C experience to win new customers in their B2B business.

MarTech is booming -

  • Computer processing power becomes cheaper
  • Software is written faster
  • Data intelligence becomes more affordable or even free
  • Great technology from the B2C world with millions of dollar contracts reaches B2B markets and SMB segments, particularly with a price tag below $100 per month to start.

Having all that, there is still a common cause to receive a "Hi there" email from the brand. Despite the fact, you left your data for an e-book a few minutes ago.

If you implement the first two steps we discussed here, you will be ahead of 70% of existing B2B business, especially from the service-related sector.

Having all tech in place, let's use custom visuals tailored to each consumer!

What can we use? Here is the first list of digital assets to consider -

  • Company logo (collected as favicon from a website or as an icon from a LinkedIn page)
  • Company website page screen
  • Company LinkedIn page screen on multiple tabs (insights tab to acknowledge company growth, posts tab to congrats with high engagement, etc.)
  • Contact Photo (collected from LinkedIn to be professional)
  • Contact LinkedIn page screen (to acknowledge professional achievements)
  • Many data points from stative data are used for segmentation and transferred on visual assets (name, industry, persona-based messaging).

What can be an example of the final result?

Here is an example of a weblink I received from User.com, a marketing automation platform -

Personalized emails from User.com leading to custom landing page

On a landing page, we have customized titles with my first name, our company domain, video records starting with my LinkedIn profile and redirect to our company page during video pitch.

While messaging was generic (after event follow-up to receive response and talk about business opportunities), it is a great start and technology to scale the approach in a more personalized way.

At first, a company can put me in Startup/SaaS segment to use words on a Landing page and during a pitch according to my sector - MRR/ARR, customer engagement, Product adoption, etc.

Another point is while I got all custom, manual video, the pitch itself was also general, where only parameters as my name, company, and our website tech stack could differ from company to company. If the approach works for you, it can be done at scale using required visuals collected by other tools and merging audio over pictures with pitch relevant to each segment.

How to accomplish that? You can check the tools like nexweave.com which focus on a personalized video experience, so you can put a video of yourself over several background images and record segmented pitches for multiple cases.


So scalable personalization is not a high barrier process in 2021 with a low price tag and optimal level of technical knowledge where most products provide onboarding support.

Today, with such a wide range of products and marketing vendors, it is more than ever required to

  • spend enough time around your strategy
  • messaging
  • overall engagement process with your audience.

Technology that supports the process is enough on the market and the price for it on the lowest level ever. Tech companies are ready to invest in you to help to grow your business during the first years of usage.

Using segmentation at full capacity with

  • the support of data vendors like Rocks & Gold,
  • full digital journey digital footprints using products like Segment.com and HubSpot,
  • providing custom visual experience with tools like nexweave

You can push yourself on a new scalable level by implementing the right type of personalization strategy.

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