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5 mistakes that ruin your personalization efforts

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November 21, 2022 | Dmytro Zaichenko - guest blog

Let us tell you a little story.

A person signs up for a web app, starts onboarding, gets distracted, and returns to the onboarding in a few days, not at the same point; the user needs to start over from the beginning. Or a user who applied for a custom plan and starts onboarding, receives a lot of notifications/emails with irrelevant promotional content that doesn't help with onboarding. It's frustrating.

These stories are examples of poor personalization efforts. Unfortunately, even huge brands may make sloppy flows in personalization.

We have examined the most common personalization mistakes and would like to offer you effective solutions to avoid them.

Why personalization is essential for B2B marketing

Before we dive into the discussion of personalization mistakes, let's understand it's important for modern B2B marketing.

B2B companies may falsely assume that personalization is only applicable and needed for B2C businesses. However, 72% of B2B buyers want a personalized experience.

Even having different needs and requirements compared to B2C, there’s one thing these two segments have in common – customers need to feel valued and receive tailored offers.

So how does a B2B company benefit from focusing on marketing personalization?

  • personalized marketing strategies improve ROI
  • individual approach with unique offers enhance customer loyalty and retention
  • effective personalization has a strong positive impact on sales revenue

Personalization is becoming not an optional activity but an inseparable part of your marketing strategy. The main point is to do it correctly.

5 personalization mistakes to avoid

If you’ve decided to optimize and foster your marketing and sales efforts, you need to be aware of common personalization challenges on the way.

It's time to review typical personalization mistakes companies commit and how you can prevent them.

Segmentation > individualization

Disclaimer: A lot also depends on what you're selling.

Mistake: focusing all the personalization efforts on segmentation, not individualization.

While segmentation creates groups of individuals with shared characteristics, individualization provides a unique experience for an individual customer.

Let’s take email marketing, for instance. Some B2B companies may often make a personalization mistake of segmenting their users too broadly and sending the same offer to different user cohorts. If they chose individualization over segmentation, they would decrease the number of unsubscribing and enhance user engagement.

Solution:

To improve your lasting relationships with businesses and boost sales, you need to focus on every data point regarding each customer to create a perfectly relevant experience.

If you’re trying to enhance email personalization, you need to make sure that:

  • an email addresses the person by the right name
  • you send special offers tailored specifically for each customer
  • you consider the customer’s previous behavior and purchasing patterns
  • you have the right tech to provide the individual approach

Also, consider hyper-personalization by employing solutions to uncover individual and distinct preferences, patterns, and behavior of each customer. This will enable your company to provide tailored offers and product recommendations.

Poor work with marketing data

Mistake: not collecting and not analyzing marketing data, not using all the data, inability to grab insights from numbers.

Eighty-six percent of B2B companies assume they can reach more with better data, according to a McKinsey survey. Still, using data and using it correctly are two different things. Insufficient data analysis may lead to:

  • inefficient marketing personalization
  • feeble multi-channel sales
  • high customer churn rates

Imagine a customer purchased a custom plan via your call center, but you don’t have an integrated system of your omnichannel data. As a result, your customer gets inaccurate onboarding (for another plan) or many promotional emails. How would this make them feel? Irritated, for sure.

Solution:

If a B2B company gathers all the scattered data in one place, not only will the sales and marketing departments see the complete picture of customer interaction, but also, a customer will receive personalized and relevant content.

To join the dots, you must regularly integrate your tools and examine data from different sources. It would be best if you had a suitable stack for data integration, analytics, and visualization.

For example, if you’re using Tableau to create dashboards and track data, you can connect Tableau to Excel and vice versa. You'll have a bigger picture and streamlined data analytics and data management flow.

Besides, with intelligent data management and analytics systems, you can compare your competitors’ data to prioritize your goals and think of new personalization tactics.

Outdated personalization

Mistake: missing marketing trends, not updating customer information, and not checking the accuracy of customer data.

This mistake is similar to the previous one. However, in this case, a company doesn't pay attention to data accuracy, updating a customer base, refreshing customer information, etc.

Not being able to keep up with the relevant and fresh information about the market and your customers will lead to poor personalization. You cannot succeed in improving your conversion rate optimization if you use outdated inapplicable data.

Assume a company doesn't update customer data or check its accuracy. This business wastes money on personalized marketing campaigns that are no longer relevant or delivers a bad customer experience.

Solution:

To avoid such a personalization mistake, you need to update your customers’ accounts constantly. Staying alert of the changes, you won’t miss upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and you won’t lose your customers’ trust.

Knowing market dynamics and updating marketing data is the way to polish your personalization efforts and improve conversion rates.

Ignoring tech aspects of personalization

Mistake: not paying attention to the technical side of personalization like website responsiveness/speed/development, email campaigns without personal consent, etc.

Customers are now expecting an immersive, personalized experience across all channels.

If you don’t see the need to adapt different devices to different behavior patterns, a user will experience bad personalization.

This is visible in website personalization. It's because of different screens and devices where messages are displayed differently, CTAs may work distinctly, and other tech aspects appear. Some B2B companies may forget that they can tailor their website experience, pop-ups, and offers to different users.

So not taking tech aspects seriously is one of the crucial personalization challenges you may face.

Solution:

When it comes to websites, make sure to have a responsive website that automatically adapts depending on which device your customer is using. Consider creating different landing page types for different customer cohorts and conduct testing.

If it’s a multi-channel personalization, ensure consistency and a similar experience across all your digital platforms. Give people an option to opt-in/unsubscribe. Be compliant with GDPR and other regulations.

Not testing personalization tactics

Mistake: choose one personalization approach and stick to it whether it works or not.

Aamer Hasu, Head of Marketing at Vainu, believes that "people don’t buy what they need, they buy what they want." And the only way to find what your customer wants is through regular testing of personalization tactics.

No matter how great your marketing personalization strategy may seem, you won’t achieve better retention and conversion rate optimization without testing. A typical personalization mistake is making hasty decisions and spending large sums of money without testing the waters first.

Solution:

As we mentioned, A/B testing when leveraging website personalization is a must. It works for email campaigns, ads, and other channels, too. Meticulously choosing what metrics you’re going to analyze is also a must.

What works for one company won’t necessarily work for another. For this reason, you must be ready for experiments to evaluate what makes your personalization efforts successful.

Honorable mention: Not personalizing at all

We hope you understand the importance of marketing personalization till this point. However, there's a need to emphasize that the biggest mistake now is ignoring personalization. It's detrimental.

Around 71% of customers expect personalization, as McKinsey states. But most importantly, 76% are discontent when they don’t find personalization.

Poor personalization is a challenge. Still, you can learn from your mistakes and improve your strategy. Not focusing on personalization tactics is losing an opportunity to grow your business.

If you want to build lasting relationships with your regular customers or reach new audiences, you can’t do without personalization these days. By being scared of making personalization mistakes and doing nothing, it will be challenging to keep up with the competitors.

Customers are looking for a well-crafted personalized experience, as they want to:

  • receive tailored messages
  • enjoy targeted offers
  • be addressed by their name
  • get triggers based on their behavior
  • have personalized user onboarding

Final thoughts

There are tons of personalization challenges you might face. However, you already know the subtleties of the most common personalization mistakes that you can avoid with the help of this article.

Customers look forward to individual and tailored approaches. They’re more likely to purchase from brands that personalize. Bad personalization worsens your relationships with active customers and may lead to a drop in sales.

You can tackle any personalization challenges by building a smart personalization strategy. Don’t view it as a one-time problem, but rather deal with it as a new long-term approach.


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