The 5th 'P' of Marketing: Personalization

Use Marketing Fundamentals To Guide You Through Digital Transformation

As data and technology innovations continue to change how we consume digital media, it is important to ground your efforts in marketing basics. Because it is true what Heraclitus said - “the only constant in life is change.” And this is especially true in digital marketing. However, marketing principles have not changed since the 1960s and applied properly can help you focus and prioritize your marketing program.

It’s been almost five years since we wrote about the 5th ‘P’ of marketing. 

Back then we proposed expanding the 4 ‘Ps’ of marketing, originally coined by Jerome MCarthy, from Product, Price, Promotion, and Place to include Personalization. This was true to then and personalization will be an even more critical component to B2B digital performance marketing and ABM going forward. 

In part, because ABM has evolved a lot over the last five years;

  • New technology
  • Improved intent signals
  • New data sources
  • Enhanced targeting
  • Platform integrations
  • Programmatic media buying
  • The removal of the 3rd party cookies
  • Evolving privacy regulations

This has also made it more complicated

The landscape is confusing and convoluted as to what you should focus on within your marketing efforts. This can be especially challenging when building best in class ABM programs because true ABM is a living breathing fluid program not a static account targeted campaign.

The global pandemic over the last year added it’s own twist on this challenge;

  • Place became less critical per se
  • The work from anywhere movement 
  • Outside sales became inside sales
  • Content rose in value and importance
  • Digital transformation became a must
  • Structured testing is now mission critical
  • Closed loop analytics is no longer a nice to have

But let me tell you, it’s not all that hard to focus, prioritize, and prove results if you build from a foundation of marketing fundamentals.

We are students of marketing

Another favorite of ours to apply is from Lester Wunderman and how he talks about personalization back when he defined ‘direct response’ during a speech at MIT in the 1960s. The three levels to success he identified are targeting, offer, and creative.

Offer and creative really come down to product, price, and promotion. Personalization is all about targeting this mix. Even in the current state of change and business upheaval, these are basics that we can apply to technology and data that focuses what we should be doing in B2B.

It’s about having these fundamentals in place to execute against the three key levers of ABM effectively;

  • A well thought out ICP with key identifiers
  • A well structured and dynamic TAL
  • An understanding of the personas within the buying committee

The ICP helps us understand key triggers and needs based on size and geography and industry of accounts that should be on our TAL. This will help create a fluid TAL that balances known targets and unknown prospects to focus the ABM program on who is in-market and who is not.

We take an ‘audience first’ approach

This approach gets treated with the, aforementioned, marketing basics to help our clients maximize impact and performance. Starting with the audience is key because we target accounts, but people/audiences take action. We must begin to understand how to address these needs from the individual role up to personas within the buying committee (who is the deal-driver, decision-maker, potential deal-blocker). This ladders up to help us better understand offer and targeting against our TAL.

Driving dynamic personalization

Personalization needs to be more dynamic by default. The alignment of targeting, offer, and creative is what does this. Then we can have a formalized structured testing approach to creative, content, and landing pages to better understand engagement signals and move a prospect through the buying journey and know when to hand them off to sales. 

Optimizing activity is about mapping the content and media to the TAL and personas with stepped KPIs to ensure we are measuring what’s important at each stage of the funnel so we can apply learnings for improved personalization. This feeds your closed loop analytics. 

Ultimately applying marketing fundamentals will help you navigate change, prioritize the right efforts, and personalize the right messaging to the right people and accounts. This is a better way to gage demand, qualify leads, and prove impact. The path to improved pipeline creation and acceleration starts simple and builds from there.