How Does Collaborative B2B Decision-making Affect Personalization? (The Digital Nirvana)

In the world of personalization, we rely on data on individual recipients to target and personalize content to be relevant and meaningful to them. But in the world of B2B, decision-making has been more collaborative. In fact, according to IDC, the number of stakeholders for each purchase decision has grown by 40% — from five in 2010 to seven in 2012.

Tom Pisello, also known as “the ROI guy,” has written two very interesting blog posts on this topic from the sales perspective that are worth the read (“More Stakeholders = More Sales & Marketing Complexity in 2013” and “Are Buyer Personas Dead?“).

From a digital printing and personalization perspective, the impact of the expanding number of stakeholders could be significant.

As the number of stakeholders in any B2B decision grows, this will impact the ability of marketers to use personalization to promote their products and services. But for the better or the worse?

On one hand, we could say that it makes personalization to the individual less relevant. Stakeholders can range from IT to product management to finance, all of whom have differing agendas and motivations. Even the best, most sophisticated personalization efforts cannot span them all. The higher the number of stakeholders grows, the more watered down the impact of any individual marketing effort to any individual person on that team becomes.

On the other hand, every project often has one individual champion within the organization who advocates for the decision and propels it forward. We never know which of those 5–7 stakeholders on the team it’s going to be. Sometimes all it takes is one. The recipient of that 1:1 marketing piece could be the person who makes the difference.

What is your experience? How do you think the expanding number of stakeholders affects personalization in marketing?

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