HOW TO USE PERSONALIZED DATA IN YOUR B2B CAMPAIGNS

Wouldn’t it be impolite to meet one of your best customers at an event and call them by another customer’s name? Or maybe you just remember their name on the phone, but forget all about them when they show up at your door. Well, the same things may be happening in your communications with customers and prospects at your front door (i.e., your website). Getting started with web personalization isn’t only a nice to have these days, it should be a critical part of your revenue strategy. Let’s take a look at what personalized data is and four simple steps to B2B personalization and revenue success.

What Is Personalized Data for B2B?

What is personalized data for B2B?

To be clear, this is Data, not personalized data

Though it’s been around for decades now, web personalization is more real today than ever given the new technology that makes it accessible to most digital marketers.  “Web personalization,” is a concept Optimizely has defined for some time now as follows:

“Website Personalization is the process of creating customized experiences for visitors to a website. Rather than providing a single, broad experience, website personalization allows companies to present visitors with unique experiences tailored to their needs and desires.”

However, getting personalization to work at scale hasn’t come without its challenges. Experian notes that data plays a big part in getting personalization right with nearly 40% saying that having enough data is a problem as well as 38% saying that inaccurate data can be an issue.

Many personalization vendors today solve the data issue by providing data integrations. These integrations allow B2B buyers to have access to company and contact attributes that enable a very high level of personalization (install data, media consumption, content consumption, intent data, etc.).

What Are the Benefits of using Personalized Data?

Efficiently personalizing your B2B website will help you attract precisely the kinds of customers your business needs. You’ll be able to create personalized interactions with those customers in real-time and, in this way increase conversions and sales, and you’ll be able to do so across multiple channels.  In getting started with personalization, here are four simple ways to begin the journey:

1.  Personalized Data Based on Visitor Location

When you personalize your website, you can customize the content and options you provide visitors based on where they live. For example, you might promote upcoming events in one or more of the several locations your business serves, or connect the visitor with a sales resource or channel partner specific to their area.

If you offer free access to specific types of customers, you could let those segments know about this benefit without offending visitors from segments that might be paying for access or specific service levels.

2.  Personalized Data Based on Industry

Let’s say you offer CRM tools for different industries.  With web personalization, you can show a marketing agency the CRM software which best meets its need, while displaying various tools for manufacturing, healthcare, IT or educational businesses.

When you showcase products and services that precisely align with the industry of your site visitor, those products and services will be instantly more appealing, and those customers will be more likely to make a purchase. According to Marketing Sherpa, for example, more than 80% of site visitors say that content tailored to their industry is “more valuable.”

3.  Personalized Data Based on Your Best Accounts

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy that prioritizes those customers who tend to generate the most revenue for your business, and you can effectively leverage it through web personalization. If your top accounts are from large enterprise businesses, you could show visitors from those companies case studies or other content related to similar organizations. This way, you demonstrate your awareness of the specific business needs and increase the odds that they’ll purchase your products and services.

4.  Personalized Data Based on Online Behavior

You can alter the content you display based on the web pages your customer visits, the content they download, or the online forms they complete–transforming your interaction with your customers from a monologue to a dialogue. You’re creating a kind of conversation in which the visitor “speaks” (by taking certain actions on your site), and you “reply” (by showing content that’s responsive to those actions).  For example, if a visitor to your site downloads an article about secure web hosting, you could respond with content about the several hosting options your B2B business offers.

Conclusion

According to a recent study from Swirl Networks, almost 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from companies that deliver personalized and connected cross-channel experiences online.  Web personalization is arguably among the most effective means of providing those kinds of experiences that demonstrate to your B2B customers that you know—and care about—who they are and what their business needs.

Mighty & True can help you create beautiful, personalized content and experiences to drive engagement with your customers. To learn more about the ways our digital branding strategy, design and user experience services can help you personalize user experience, polish your brand, grow your business and boost your sales, Hit. Us. Up.

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VR APPS WE’RE PLAYING IN 2018

Yeah, we love VR. The options are endless for creating mind-twisting experiences. That obviously appeals to us as, well, experience designers. But on a more visceral level, what’s more fun than immersing oneself in the metaverse? We already did a round-up of some of our favorite VR apps, but we just had to share some more. Almost all of the following apps don’t even require an expensive headset or ultra-powerful computer to run them–just your mobile phone. So here are more VR apps you need to check out, like, now:

FACEBOOK 360

Remember the eclipse?! This app was one of the best VR apps to experience it. For those who couldn’t travel to the path of totality, CNN teamed up with Volvo to live-stream the eclipse from multiple locations in 4K Ultra HD and 360 degrees. With Facebook 360 and Samsung Gear VR, viewers could experience what the eclipse looked like in seven different time zones from seven different angles.

EXPEDITIONS

With a growing list of 200+ expeditions, Google Expeditions is one of the best educational VR apps from Google Cardboard. As the “guide,” you have the opportunity to lead a group of explorers through your adventures. Take a virtual trip to historical landmarks, travel through the infinities of space, or dive into the deep depths of the ocean.

INSIDIOUS


Another Google Cardboard app, Insidious VR has the checks all the horror boxes. Tension and suspense build with sinister sounds, eerie signs, and, of course, heart-skipping jump- scares. Horror, as a genre, has been extremely successful with VR, and apps like Insidious make it clear why. 

FULLDIVE VR

With over one million videos to explore, FullDive VR creates a movie theater environmentfor you to watch your videos. You can also browse the internet in VR mode. Currently, though, the app is only available for Android users.

SOUNDSTAGE


The VR music application allows you to instantly transform your room into a personal studio or DJ sandbox. The retro low- polygon instruments connected with colorful cables are simple in design but appealing. You can play around with wireless controls like drums, synthesizers, cassettes and speakers. With major updates that allow the user to import and export sounds, SoundStage is a fun app for living out your musical dreams in the comfort of your bedroom or living room. It is available on Steam and Viveport for the HTC Vive. 

END SPACE VR


Since space is the ideal 360-degree experience, End Space VR takes advantage of this bottomless, limitless region. You can look and travel in all directions with your spacecraft and fight intergalactic enemies with weapons. With the help of excellent graphics and 3D immersive audio, you tend to forget that your feet are still firmly on earth.

VR ROLLER COASTER


Rollercoasters aren’t for everyone (i.e. they can be terrifying), but VR Roller Coastergives users the thrill of riding one without that whole possible loss of life-and-limb thing.

Do you have any favorite VR apps? Or maybe you just wanna get down and nerdy about experience design? Hit us up.

About Our Blog

Mighty & True’s Hall of Awesome is our place to write about all the things that our clients and community care the most about. We’ll try to keep things focused on B2B Marketing, Marketing Technology, Creative Best Practices and all things digital. Let us know what you think.

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SKETCHY OPINIONS: CONTENT GENERATOR FILLS YOUR NEEDS AND YOUR SHAPES

Professional digital design tool Sketch may be one of our favorite applications. Not only is the UI incredibly simple to master, but there is also a huge community of developers and designers that make a dizzying array of plugins, templates, and other goodies to make it an even more useful tool. In this HoA series, we take a look at some of our favorites. Today, we’ve got the skinny on Content Generator, a plugin that makes creating placeholder and filler content a snap.

Content Generator is one of our favorite time-saving plugins for Sketch. This free tool gives you a rich array of dummy content to populate your mockups with. Thanks to Content Generator, you no longer need to rack your brain or scrounge around for realistic content. Nor do you have to enter it by hand. Content Generator provides the ways and means to see what your site or app will really look like once it goes live and attracts users.

content generator

To get started, open up the Sketch Toolbox plugin (which you should definitely download if you haven’t already). In the search box, type “content.” The Content Generator plugin should be the first result to come up. Click Install. Simple as that.

To use your freshly installed plugin, click Plugins from the main Sketch menu, then select Content Generator Sketch Plugin. Four categories of dummy-content to choose from will appear:

  • Geo
  • Persona
  • Photos
  • Text

These four categories should cover nearly every dummy-content demand you’ll come across. Suppose, for example, you need a bunch of names, faces, emails, locations and, of course, text to populate your mockup of a community site. Furthermore, suppose you don’t want to use the same names, faces, text and so on again and again.

Without Content Generator or a similar plugin, you will have to scrounge for realistic content and enter it manually. Unless you have hours and hours to spare, we wouldn’t recommend this approach. On the other hand, with Content Generator, the whole process is practically automatic.

insert text

Sticking with the example of designing a community site, let’s suppose you wanted to start with images and names of community members. Simply select the shapes in your sketch page or screen where you want the headshots to appear. Then go to Content Generator and select Persona >> Images. You can then choose female, male or gender-neutral photos. Then watch as all of the fields you selected on your page or screen suddenly populate with corresponding faces. It’s really that easy.

To add names to your faces, select the fields in your mockup where you want the names to appear. Next, return to the Content Generator menu and the Persona category, but select Names this time. Then watch as the fields you selected in your mockup magically populate with names to go along with the faces in your community.

You can continue through this same process to add locations. First, choose a country, then (at least in the case of the U.S.) select StateCity or even Full Address.

Although the Persona category is enormously helpful (as is the Geo category and the Photos category), the Text category is where Content Generator gives you the greatest degree of control. The free plugin gives your four options to choose from:

  • Custom string
  • Dummy text
  • Enumerate
  • Time ago

For the purposes at hand, let’s drill-down on Dummy text. Here Content Generator offers not only your run-of-the-mill Lorem ipsum text, but Hipsum (short for “hipster ipsum”), among other options. Suppose your community skews relatively young. Depending on your audience, you might choose Hipsum to populate the respective profile bio fields and conversational content throughout your community mocks. Content Generator makes it easy not only to put something more familiar than Latin in there, but has a Replace feature that makes it easy to mix up the dummy content for a more varied and realistic appearance.

Hipsum Generator

Content Generator: a must-have plugin for Sketch

We’re big fans of Content Generator, and now you can see why. This free plugin saves you tons of time, populating your screens and pages with a variety of photos, names, email addresses, locations and even hipster ipsum if the need arises. Either way, Content Generator will save you hours or even days of effort racking your brain or scrounging around for realistic dummy content. And thanks to the plugin’s tight integration with Sketch, the content will flow directly into the corresponding fields you select. The result: you can now get a quick and realistic sneak peek of what your future site or app will really look like.

To learn more about the wonders of Sketch and how we use it to create beautiful, human-centric designs and mock-ups, hit us up.

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BIG THINGS WE NOTICED IN UX AND DESIGN IN 2017

If you had a brick-and-mortar store, your first concern is usually stocking the products your customers want. But you’d also want an attractive store so you could showcase those products in the best light. You’d also want to ensure your employees were effectively trained to help your customers find what they want—and you’d want to make sure you didn’t waste your customers’ time with long checkout lines. In other words, your products are important, but so is the experience your customers have buying those products—and that applies whether they’re in a physical store or on your website.

WHY USER EXPERIENCE (UX) MATTERS

In 2017, user experience made the difference between businesses that win and lose. Say you and your chief competitor offer the same products at the same price. If their website loads faster, your competitor is going to sell more than you. If they personalize the buying process and you don’t, they’ll build trust with customers more than you will.

Consider some of these metrics from Hubspot:

  • 39% of B2B and B2C consumers will abandon a website if images won’t load or take too long to load
  • 38% of people will leave a website if the content/layout is unattractive
  • When people have 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds prefer reading something beautifully designed versus something plain
  • 77% of agencies believe that poor website UX is the number one weakness their clients have

In 2018, user experience will matter more than ever, and UX, more than anything else, is what will ensure your business can compete effectively. As UsabilityHub notes:

“UX also continues to be pushed forward by the move towards “experiences” over products. In a more sophisticated market it’s not enough any more to simply have a product. Embracing this thinking enables us to discover new opportunities to empathize, and ultimately improve the experience of users, which will become vital in maintaining a competitive edge in the long run.”

Forward leaning marketers and designers continue to find new ways (and embrace new technologies) to enhance user experience. Here are three big UX trends to watch this year (and beyond):

CHATBOTS AND VOICE COMMANDS


Recent advances in smart technology, coupled with enhanced design, have increased the popularity of chatbots and voice commands—hence the emergence of virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana, and the widespread adoption of home interface products like Amazon Alexa. That same technology and design smarts is making its way into an increasing number of business applications. This doesn’t signal the end of the graphical user interface, but increasingly businesses will embrace these conversational interfaces, and designers will compete to create their most effective use.

VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES

VR is Real

In July 2016, consumers got their first look at Pokemon GO. There have been Augmented Reality (AR) apps and experienced before, but none of them quite entered the zeitgeist like a game where people walk down the street to capture adorable monsters. At the same time, Virtual Reality (something we really, really like) was gaining traction in industries like tourism, building, education and gaming. Once again, driving the increased popular of VR and AR was technology, in this case, improvements in supporting devices like headsets and enhancements in mobile technology.

AR and VR are still in their early stages as regards user experience, but they did make significant advances in 2017. Expect to see designers finding new ways to engage users and improve usability with AR and VR over the next few years.

(Just a pro-tip, if you get into a convo about VR, make sure you’re actually talking about VR)

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE ON PERSONALIZATION

While the past several years focused on pushing responsive design to accommodate the many ways people access the internet, the next few will be about creating increasingly personalized interfaces. As businesses become more adept at collecting increasingly granular data about user behavior, they’ll use that information to offer user experiences which conform to their demonstrated preferences. This could mean everything from interfaces which adapt color to accommodate color-blind users (and a host of other accessibility issues) to those which adjust text size or theme preferences based on previous usage.

CONCLUSION

Increased emphasis on user experience is part of a larger understanding among marketers and website designers that metrics like clicks and conversions are more than data points—they’re real people with real needs. The companies that commit to improving user experience are the ones which will build user trust and grow in influence.

If you want to learn more about how our digital strategy, design, content and code, and user experience services will help you drive sales and grow your business, hit us up.

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A GENTLE CRASH COURSE IN EMPATHY MAPPING

If you want to create a positive experience for your users, it’s absolutely essential that you understand their needs and feelings. If you’re not taking into account the humanity of your users, you’re doing it wrong. A process called “empathy mapping” can help you get into their heads and hearts to find out what makes your users tick. Here we cover what empathy maps are, where they fit into the overall UX design process, and most importantly, how to create them.

YOUR USERS’ NEEDS AND FEELINGS: WHY THEY MATTER

It doesn’t require a Ph.D. in psychology to know that your users are driven by a complex of conscious and unconscious motivations. Furthermore, their thoughts and feelings do not fit neatly into a linear format. Your users are not just happy or sad when they first encounter your site/app/product, but confident or fearful, hopeful or suspicious, and so on, often embodying many of these internal states at the same time. So the challenge becomes how to visualize this psychological complexity without losing sight of the unity of your user. Enter empathy maps.

EMPATHY MAPS

WHAT THEY ARE

Empathy maps are visualizations of the likely feelings, thoughts, actions, influences, environmental factors, pain-points and goals of your users. A general empathy map captures the internal landscape of your users or customers as a whole, but you can also create a series of specific empathy maps to capture particular user or customer segments.

WHEN THEY’RE MOST HELPFUL

In short, at the beginning. Of course, you can’t create an empathy map until you know something about your users. So you’ll have to wait until after the initial user research stage. But once you’ve done your research and started working on user personas and stories, the time is ripe to try out a few empathy maps with your team.

HOW TO CREATE THEM

Empathy maps require little to no design skill (evinced by that drawing at the top of the post). Otherwise, following the classic approach, draw something resembling a face (perhaps a smiley if you’re at a total loss for inspiration) in the center of a large whiteboard. Use four diagonal lines radiating out from the face to divide the whiteboard into four equal areas, positioned above, below, to the right and to the left of the face. Although you can come up with your own labels, the area above the face often gets the label THINK and FEEL the area below SAY and DO, the area to the left HEAR, and the area to the right SEE. Many teams also add a PAIN area in the lower left and a GAIN area in the lower right in order to add another useful dimension to their empathy maps.

Roughly speaking, these labels are shorthand for various aspects of a user’s psychological landscape with respect to your site or app:

  • Think and feel = What the user is consciously experiencing and pondering when encountering your site or app.
  • Say and do = The users routines, habits, and activities as they relate to your offering.
  • See = The user’s general environment, including friends, coworkers, the marketplace, distractions competing for their attention, etc.
  • Hear = Statements “in the air” influencing the user.
  • Pain = Pain-points, obstacles, or challenges the user faces.
  • Gain = The user’s goals.

With this basic template in place, give each team member a stack of sticky notes and ask them to write down whatever comes to mind when they consider the various aspects of the user’s experience (represented by the labeled areas on the empathy map). For example, suppose you’re building a site for buying wholesale clothing online. In the THINK and FEEL area you might have sticky notes that read something like:

  • I’ve never heard of this site, can I trust it?
  • Buying clothes without trying them on first makes me nervous.
  • I hope they have the jeans I’m looking for.
  • Their sizes better be accurate.
  • If they don’t fit, is there an easy refund/exchange policy?
  • Free shipping?

In the SAY and DO area you might have sticky notes that read something like:

  • I’m a bargain shopper.
  • I’m willing to hunt for good deals.
  • I buy direct whenever I can.
  • I tell all my friends when I find a scorching deal.

And so on…

After placing all of the sticky notes in their corresponding areas, the empathy map is complete. You now have a rough-at-the-edges, appropriately messy, yet holistic depiction of your user’s inner world as they come face to face with your site or app for the first time.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT EMPATHY MAPS?

Understanding your users’ needs and feelings is essential to creating a positive experience for them. This is where empathy maps shine. They give your team an opportunity to creatively visualize your users from the inside-out. Generally coming immediately after the user-research stage of the UX design process, empathy maps make great complements to personas and user stories. Their flexible, organic, participatory format also make empathy maps easy to quickly create and re-create with the whole team. At its best, the process of populating an empathy map is like an inverted brainstorming session, where the ideas are not yours, but ultimately those of your future users. And their true motivations, if accurately uncovered, will help drive your design in the direction it needs to go.

Want to find out more about how empathy maps can help you connect with your users more effectively? Hit us up!

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