2014-21-August-PaintedLadies.jpgAll savvy marketers -- along with most shoppers -- understand the advantages of personalizing websites. Netflix, Amazon and other companies have trained us to expect a shopping experience tailored just for us.

When we get something else, reactions can range from mild disappointment to utter frustration. Shoppers take their business elsewhere. Click. Click. Gone.

This phenomenon has spilled over to B2B marketing, where business buyers expect the same sort of shopping experience that they have in their personal lives. Is that unreasonable?

No, says Noah Logan, senior vice president of Upland Software and the general manager of its Clickability unit, which provides services to NBC, Cantor Fitzgerald and about 500 others sites around the world. He spoke Thursday in a CMSWire webinar titled "5 Effective Ways to Personalize Web Experiences." The session was sponsored by Clickability.  (Click to watch)

Fundamental Changes

"Over the last 10 years, especially the last five years, a buyer's journey has fundamentally changed," he told the audience. "More than 70 percent of the customer's journey is already complete before they even let you know they're actually shopping."

In that context, it's increasingly important to provide the type of personalization that is available today, he said, citing data from Hubspot, which found highly targeted calls to action had a 42 percent higher submission rate than generic CTAs. He also noted a Forrester report that found the upper half of a company's customer base will spend 50 percent more when they receive personalized offers.

"We're beginning to see marketers leap-frogging their competition by delivering a much more personalized experience," said Logan.

Still, while 77 percent of marketers surveyed by the Direct Marketing Association agree that personalization is important, most haven't made the move. In a poll taken during the webinar, 48 percent of the audience said personalization was important, but not their top priority. Only about one-eighth of the audience already had a personalization strategy up and running.

Personalization Myths

Logan ran through five "myths" about personalization that are often cited by laggards:

"I don't have enough content." Logan said this is a myth because by choosing simple use cases, companies can create personalized variations based on content they already have. For example, he noted one of his customers uses "heroes" from different industry segments for site visitors for those segments. They do that by mapping the company name and the visitor's IP address to their own CRM data.