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Talking Personalization, Part 7: High Tech

An Interview with Michael McLaren

In our in-depth look at what it takes for organizations to deliver personalized experiences, we shift focus to the high-tech industry which also has significant B2B considerations. In part seven of the Talking Personalization Series, we discuss how the industry is working to deliver more personalized experiences in our discussion with Michael McLaren EVP, High Tech Vertical Lead at Merkle.

1. What challenges do you see organizations facing as they relate to delivering personalized experiences?

It all starts with data. In most organizations the customer data has been siloed and there is no single view of the customer. Being able to coordinate a single view for a client is a game changer. In the B2B space, where high-tech organizations have significant business, there is also the challenge of having very long buying cycles with multiple stakeholders. This requires an organization to adopt account-based marketing instead of B2C approaches.

2. How does organizational readiness enable organizations to deliver on personalized experiences?

Again, it is all about having a more integrated approach to data and being able to have a single view of the customer. Once you have that, you must figure out how to extract insight and then drive marketing automation. Next, how will you manage the content and creative? Once you figure that out, your next step is to pinpoint what tools and platforms you need to execute.

3. What are some key questions organizations should ask vendors and partners?

Large B2B enterprises are not being served by traditional agencies so it’s key to ask how the agency specializes for the B2B market. Many times, a B2B client will get the “b” team assigned from an agency who does not have significant B2B expertise.

4. What questions should organizations ask themselves when it comes to personalization? 

People live in a hybrid mode, balancing both their personal and professional lives. A B2B buyer could be researching specifications while on his “off time.” Merging that data will provide a richer more actionable and holistic profile of the buyer. The question to ask is, how will the organization understand the customer from both a personal and professional standpoint?

5. What trends do you see forming in personalization?

Account-based marketing and being able to zero in on a group of stakeholders. A piece of that is intent data, which gives organizations access to the digital body language of an organization. Businesses are doing research online and if that data is intelligently collected, we can use those breadcrumbs to understand where the organization is in the buying cycle.

Our next interview in this series will be with Aaron Tellier EVP, Insurance & Wealth Management Vertical Lead