B2C and B2B Customers Expect Personalized Content at Different Stages of the Purchase Journey

February 13, 2023

Personalization of content has been a key priority for marketers, although personalizing at scale can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Still, there are benefits to be had for getting it right: a recent study [registration page] from Adobe, carried out by Forrester Consulting, finds that two-thirds of global decision-makers responsible for personalization programs and initiatives report that their initiatives have exceeded targets and expectations for revenue (68%), customer experience measures (67%) and conversion rates (67%).

The report also fielded surveys among global B2C consumers who have recently engaged with a company via digital channels and global B2B customers who have recently engaged online with a company they’re authorized to make purchases from.

The results of those surveys indicate that both groups expect personalized content across their purchase journeys, though to different extents and more so at later stages.

Among B2C respondents, expectations for fully/mostly personalized content tend to grow as the purchase journey progresses. For example, while only 22% expect fully/mostly personalized content when discovering the company’s products or services, that rises to 30% when researching and exploring, 40% when buying, and 45% when using the product or service. Indeed, post-purchase content personalization is important: almost half (47%) expect this when getting help with a product or service, and 43% when engaging/staying connected with the company.

As it turns out, B2B customers expect personalized content to an even greater extent, with a fairly similar progression. Some 57% expect fully/mostly personalized content when discovering the company’s products or services, rising to 66% when buying and 72% when using the product or service. It’s at this stage when expectations for personalized content are highest, though substantial portions continue to value personalized content when getting help (68%) and engaging/staying connected with the company (71%).

The report also notes that two-thirds (66%) of B2B customers expect the same or better personalization in their professional lives compared to their personal lives.

What Leaders Do Well

The study also segmented the decision-makers surveyed into 3 types based on their personalization capabilities: Experience Leaders (16% share); Evolving Intermediates (66% share); and Rising Laggards (18% share).

Here are some quick highlights regarding Experience Leaders’ characteristics.

Data Practices

  • Compared to Rising Laggards, Experience Leaders are almost 5 times more likely to have a comprehensive set of AI/ML predictive models, to create segments using predictive models, and to categorize and label data to effectively manage and enforce privacy.
  • 3 in 4 Experience Leaders aggregate data across channels and business units into a single customer profile and 71% have real-time accessibility/availability of omnichannel customer data.

Content Creation Practices

  • Compared to Rising Laggards, Experience Leaders are almost 7 times more likely to use a unified work management tool to manage the creative production process, and more than 6 times as likely to provide creative teams with a single place to manage assigned tasks, create content, and collaborate in real time, natively in their design tools.
  • About 3 in 4 (76%) intelligently automate assembly of modular content to meet personalization needs, and 7 in 10 automate rendering and localization of images for different devices, screen sizes, channels, and geographies.

Omnichannel Orchestration Practices

  • Compared to Rising Laggards, Experience Leaders are almost 5 times more likely to build connected campaigns/journeys across paid channels using a single tool/canvas and likewise almost 5 times more likely to personalize experiences triggered by a customer’s real-time behavior.
  • About 8 in 10 (79%) leverage a decisioning engine to determine which customers receive which message(s)/experience(s) over which channels.

For more, register to access the study here.

About the Data: The results are based on surveys of:

  • 1,770 decision-makers representing one of five target industries (retail, financial services, B2B technology, media, and travel/hospitality) based in North America, Europe, or Asia Pacific;
  • 1,921 global consumers who have recently engaged online with companies from at least one of the five target industries; and
  • 1,248 global B2B customers who are authorized to make purchases from one or more target industries and who have recently engaged with those companies online.

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