You know that feeling you get when you receive a great gift? One that’s been specially picked out for you by someone who really understands you? You can tell the giver understands what you like, they know what you want, and most importantly, they know what you don’t want.

There’s something that feels really good about opening a gift that’s been tailored to you. Especially when we’re surrounded by so much stuff in our lives, a gift that feels personal to us stands out so much more.

It’s relevant. And it’s this sense of relevance that makes it special.

Relevance matters, to gifts, and to marketing

Gift-giving and marketing have a lot in common. How? Well, just like a great gift, great marketing requires us to know a lot about our customer ahead of time.

Not-so-great gifts (the ones you have to fake a smile for) demonstrate that someone knows, unfortunately, nothing about us. The same goes for poor marketing – it’s obvious when a company doesn’t understand its customers.

Marketing in a world of “more”

In a recent webinar with Evergage, I discussed the rise of complexity in today’s B2B marketing environment:

  • We’ve got more buyers to deal with (5-7 on average) [CEB]
  • We own more of the purchase journey (50-90%) [Various analysts, Forrester, Gartner, IDC, etc.]
  • We have more tech to choose from (4,000 vendors) [CabinetM]
  • Buyers spend more time in the sales cycle (24% increase) [SiriusDecisions]
  • We are using more channels to reach buyers
  • Buyers come to us more informed
  • More companies are increasing marketing budgets in 2017 [Gartner]
  • There is more accountability for marketers than ever before
  • This leads to more job insecurity

Phew.

And yet, in this world of more, we’re still falling short on a fundamental part of breaking through the noise: understanding our buyers.

60% of B2B organizations admit to not understanding buyers – SiriusDecisions

How can we expect our demand gen emails to break through the clutter of 88+ other emails received by our prospects in one day, if we don’t know what they really care about, or how best to address their specific problems?

A lack of solid customer insights contributes to the poor results we’re seeing, including:

  • Half of business buyers think the content they get from marketing is useless [Forrester]
  • Only 17% of enterprise organizations think their demand generation is very effective [ANNUITAS]
  • On average, only 3-5% of marketing qualified leads convert (a 95-98% failure rate) [Forrester]

We must do better. A solid foundation of customer insights is the place to start – if your demand generation efforts are failing, this is likely one culprit.

Watch the on-demand webinar for in-depth details on what customer insights you need to find.

ABM brings relevance to high-value accounts

Once customer insights are developed, one tactic being used to incorporate relevance into B2B marketing is Account Based Marketing (ABM).

We’ve hit a kind of plateau with demand generation efforts, historically focused on the individual buyer or lead (think of terms MQL, SAL, SQL, and more).

Thanks to recent energy infused into the market by marketing technology tools, ABM is a hot topic that is causing many B2B marketers to re-evaluate how they approach high-value accounts.

While organizations like the ITSMA have been touting the benefits of ABM for years (saying it delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing tactic), more marketers are putting ABM into practice today than ever before.

This bodes well for the future of our profession, as ABM is essentially relevance in action. The reason it works is because it encourages marketing and sales teams to create highly relevant experiences for individual accounts, focusing your limited resources towards the biggest accounts that are most likely to buy.

Watch the full on-demand webinar for more detail about ABM.

Personalization continues the conversation

Companies are executing ABM using the tenets of personalization, making their websites more relevant to specific accounts is by creating more personalized, account-based site experiences.

After investing the time and budget to drive a visitor from one of your target accounts to your site, you don’t want them to bounce before you can explain your solution’s value to him and his company. Once you get their attention, what do you want them to do?

Reverse IP lookup technology or campaign source tracking can deliver personalized experiences to accounts, changing the content and calls-to-action based on the source data. This helps capture the visitor’s attention and drive them to delve into the content on your site.

Let’s say a visitor from a key account in the brokerage firm industry lands on your homepage. Imagine if the hero image, headline and featured content was customized to them?

This is one way of carrying the conversation through by creating a relevant experience for every visitor. What’s more, by tracking in-depth behavioral data aggregated by account, marketing can help sales teams tailor their conversations when approaching target accounts.

What makes us human makes us great marketers

All the buzz around personalization technology isn’t surprising when you think about the fundamentals of great marketing. When we’re able to understand buyers fully, whether an individual or a target account, we now have the technology in our toolkit to bring the promise of relevance to life.

Be sure to catch the full, 60-minute webinar on-demand, and learn how demand generation professionals are harnessing the power of relevance to turn prospects into engaged buyers.

Katie Martell creates buzz and drives market demand as an on-demand marketing consultant, writer, and speaker based in Boston, MA. She has been named a "marketing expert to follow," a top 10 marketing writer on LinkedIn, top 3 most influential B2B marketer on Twitter, and has been invited to speak at a variety of industry conferences. Katie has spent the last decade marketing in positions including CMO and co-founder of MarTech startup Cintell and Director of Buzz at NetProspex (a D&B company). Follow her on Twitter @KatieMartell.