Even before we got closer to a cookieless world, marketers and salespeople agreed: personalization is crucial to business-to-business (B2B) success. And with the shifting acquisition marketing landscape, B2B marketing strategies are evolving.
Seventy-seven percent of B2B brands say personalization strengthens customer relationships, and 55% say it drives more conversions.
But no one said it was easy.
Forty-two percent of marketing and sales teams admit they struggle to deliver personalized customer experiences (CX). And with changing regulations and third-party cookies being eventually phased out, accurately identifying and targeting prospects will only become more difficult.
Or will it? Anonymous third-party data had plenty of problems, inaccuracy being chief among them. For example, research showed that making decisions based on demographic information provided by data brokers could be less accurate than if companies had simply flipped a coin.
There’s no doubt B2B brands will have to re-evaluate how they acquire and convert customers, but the death of 3rd-party cookies also gives organizations a chance to replace flawed data with valuable insights.
Here are three ways brands can elevate their B2B marketing strategies to make true personalization possible.
B2B Marketing Strategies for a Cookieless World
1. Unify Customer Data Across Marketing & Sales
The average B2B buyer may complete up to 70% of their buying journey before ever even contacting a sales representative. And while there’s no doubt there are plenty of insights to be gleaned — the website pages they’ve visited, the content they find most engaging — it won’t do much good if it’s not shared across teams.
For B2B marketing strategies to be effective in a cookieless future, it’s vital that marketing and sales teams come together and make the most of their customer data. Each team will have a different piece of a buyer’s identity and preferences, but if this information remains siloed, customer experiences will be disjointed.
Your first step is finding a customer 360 that will help you unify and centralize your first-party data (explore the customer 360 solution in our CX Hub).
There’s a reason nearly half of B2B marketers are already investing in customer data platforms (CDP), after all.
But it’s not enough to simply collect information — to effectively identify and target accounts with an intent to purchase, you need technology that will make customer data accessible to the teams that need it most.
Centralizing account and contact data across all existing marketing and sales systems is essential, but ensuring different teams can collaborate around a single source of truth, continue to enrich customer identities and self-serve customer insights is just as important.
Hear ActionIQ customer Autodesk explain why it turned to a CDP to break down data silos:
2. Prioritize Consent and Early Authentication
With the instability of third-party cookies and DMP technology going extinct, a first-party data strategy is the solution brands need if they wish to implement future-proof B2B marketing strategies that will stand the test of time.
But remember, part of the reason anonymous third-party data is disappearing is because consumers will no longer stand for their personal information being collected, used and shared without their knowledge or approval.
To strengthen customer relationships — as well as maintain compliance with ever-evolving data security and privacy regulations — B2B brands must be upfront about what information they’re gathering and how it’s being used.
With that said, it’s not enough to just ask for consent. Look no further than Apple’s App Store for proof — when asked if iOS apps can track their behavior, people say “no” 75% of the time. The key is providing value in exchange.
Sixty-six percent of consumers say they’ll share their personal information in return for additional value. Make it clear how handing over their personal data will help you provide prospects with superior customer experiences.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) brands are fond of providing discounts or similar rewards in exchange for customer data, but B2B brands may explore providing exclusive content or early access to products and services.
Don’t forget to authenticate prospects as early as possible. The sooner you know who you’re talking to, the sooner you can offer a superior, personalized customer experience to each prospect and optimize your customer journey management for higher returns.
Of course, asking for a prospect’s life story right off the bat doesn’t make for seamless CX. One option is employing a progressive profiling strategy, which allows you to collect the bare minimum of information necessary to authenticate a customer’s identity and then enrich that customer profile over time by collecting new pieces of data at different touchpoints.
3. Build Person-Based Customer Journeys
Eighty percent of B2B buyers expect a B2C-like experience.
This makes it imperative for brands to execute B2B marketing strategies that include sophisticated, multi-step customer journeys tailored to specific accounts and contacts. Creating a connected customer experience not only helps brands reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50%, it’s also shown to increase customer lifetime value by as much as 25%.
Industry, persona, product interest and more should all inform how you develop customer journeys, but keep in mind that engaging the right customers with the right messaging is only one piece of the puzzle. You also have to make sure you do it at the right time and place.
Develop omnichannel customer journeys and automate real-time customer experiences to differentiate your brand from competitors and give prospects the personalized experiences they want.
Any which way you slice it, the prospecting and conversion use cases you execute on today will likely need to change tomorrow. By making accessible, authenticated first-party data the foundation of your B2B CX and overall business strategy, you’ll future-proof your marketing and sales while setting yourself up to succeed in the privacy-first future.
Learn More About Elevating B2B Marketing Strategies
Download The B2B Technology Advertiser’s Guide to CX in a Cookieless World to understand how third-party cookie deprecation may impact your business use cases and what you can do to set yourself up for success.