Barter: Engagement for Content

The success of a planned marketing endeavor can be measured on the basis of several defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Conversion rates, views, clicks, downloads and orders are just a few of the relevant key figures that provide marketers with an unvarnished reflection of success or failure.

So what factors should marketers focus on to increase these defined metrics? One milestone is good content work. But what is "good"? One definition that is often quoted describes good content work as follows: "Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.“ [Content marketing Institut]
To put it simply, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable / useful, relevant and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined audience - and ultimately drive profitable customer actions.

Good content must essentially meet three criteria- It must be valuable / useful for the prospect / customer, relevant, and consistent.

Content is useful and relevant for customers when it "picks them up" and offers them information along their individual customer journey. In short, content is "good" when content is personalized.

How can content be personalized in B2B?

Before we answer this question, I would like to contrast the concepts of personalization and individualization, as the line is not always clearly drawn.

The two terms are often used quite differently. The term "individualization" or "customization" refers to the strategy of adapting services or products to individual customer needs.

Personalization, on the other hand, relies on the use of user data aggregated from numerous sources. Personalization, which is only possible on the basis of the data, is the starting point for an improved customer journey.

From our perspective, we look at this issue from three perspectives:

  1. Content
    How is content clustered? How is it individualized or personalized?
  2. Touchpoints
    Which touchpoints does the individual customer prefer? Which touchpoint would they like to be addressed? In other words, which touchpoints do companies use at which point in a customer journey? Which touchpoints are used to address target groups?
  3. Media Device
    Which media devices or channels does a company use to communicate which content? Which media devices does the customer use to consume content? Are they purely digital, do they attend events in person, do they like to browse through print publications, etc.?

Is personalization the highest level of individualization?

When we analyze various advertising materials, such as product catalogs, price lists, data sheets, etc., in terms of their content composition, segmentation is the first step in every production process. It is imperative to reduce paper consumption, due to ecological aspects and the prevailing paper shortage, which always succeeds when the product segments are selected and published as personalized as possible.

The following examples show how successful personalization has been in our customers publishing projects:

Touchpoint: Pricelists

One of our customers uses the priint:suite as a global web-to-publish solution. The group's marketing departments, which are distributed worldwide, create various price lists for different markets and requirements exclusively on the basis of our enterprise publishing solution.

Annual pricelists:

Since the pricing of the markets differs, the individualization in the annual price lists is done according to different brands and markets.

Application oriented pricelists:

In the case of application-oriented price lists, the degree of individualization is even higher than in the case of annual price lists. This is because the range or products are shown here in the context of particular categories, or in the context of certain use cases.

Customized pricelists:

Let's use the following example to illustrate a customized price list: A manufacturer produces hundreds of thousands of items and sells them through retailers. The manufacturer's customers (in this case, the intermediary), offers a wide range of products. For our manufacturer, this means generating customer-individualized price lists for each individual intermediary, in which only the product range of that the corresponding retailer also sells is displayed.

In the majority of cases, the touchpoint price list is no longer printed, but made available to customers digitally.

Touchpoint Catalog

Facet catalogs

WAGO's catalog production provides an interesting example: Using the same mechanics, based on a PIM system and the priint:suite, WAGO annually produces six mass catalogs and numerous facetted catalogs, which allow for a particularly high degree of personalization.

What are facet catalogs?

You know the facet search from online stores. Products in a selected area are narrowed down further and further using intelligent filter functions. The priint:suite uses this logic to create personalized facet catalogs. This means that the catalog or publication structure is not defined in a PIM or other content system. The hierarchical arrangement or structure is generated dynamically, fully automatic and "on the fly".

Facet catalogs for different industries are a concrete application. Depending on the industry in which a product is used, other product criteria, such as safety aspects, icons, etc. come to the forefront, which must be published. For example, a catalog for the automotive industry looks completely different from a catalog for shipbuilding, even though the identical articles are presented.

In summary, users can use rules to filter out, compile and prepare the structure product data from any perspective, and then derive and render completely different or highly personalized catalogs for individual target groups.

Personalized sales catalogs: One catalog for one customer

One of our customers is very successful in using printed catalogs for the sales process. These catalogs are 100% personalized for each individual customer and achieve conversion rates in the double-digit percentage range. Each respective catalog is entirely personalized, encompassing many variables such as products already purchased, the prices, related supplementary products and more. Depending on the customer, the presentation is adapted to their corporate design.

With a personalized customer catalog, sales representatives leave an analog footprint on their customers in a way that digital measures cannot. Today, the content and highly personalized compilation is still done by employees who have gotten to know their customers over the years. The next step, however, envisions artificial intelligence supporting sales staff in this work.

Touchpoint Datasheets

Individualization of the content for the generation of designed datasheets

The on-demand generation of data sheets on websites or in online shops is a basic service of every HTML solution. So why do some of our customers rely on the priint:suite for this? The background lies in the user experience. Data sheets, which are generated via HTML, have no claim to design or aesthetics. So the PDF generators of webshops create pages and pages of PDFs at the expense of the user experience. Correct in terms of content, but typically unsatisfactory in terms of design.

The data sheets generated with priint:suite, on the other hand, follow the print skills that have been tried and tested for decades: space optimization through intelligent compression of content in a limited space, aesthetic presentation and clarity.

Since data sheets are also frequently used at the beginning of the customer journey, the aspects mentioned above should certainly not be neglected.

Touchpoint Labels

Using another example, customers of paint and varnish manufacturers are often companies that, for example, want to have products such as cars, company buildings or other products painted or varnished. A new production batch is manufactured specifically for this purpose. For the graphics department, the task now is to create an individual label for this paint.

Our customer relies on templates that are generated dynamically with the priint:suite to create the labels. This means that the information that needs to be mapped is intelligently arranged on the layout depending on the quantity so that no manual intervention or reworking is necessary. If, for example, only 3 languages and not 5 languages are mapped, the identical template is used for generation, but the result adapts to the defined content specifications in an aesthetically sophisticated way.

Automated adaptation of technical drawings

This application can't really be categorized under "individualization" or "personalization". Nevertheless, content is also automatically individualized to an article here, which is why I'm happy to discuss this exciting application as well.
Technical drawings in publications often deviate from the actual product. For example, a 20-pole connector is described, but a connector with only 3 poles is shown with the captioned comment, "Image differs from article".
To automate technical drawings requires an extension of our Adobe Illustrator plug-in. The feature extension allows users to generate and update diagrams and technical drawings in an automated fashion. You can read more about this in the blog post by our application consultant, Matthias Eckert.

For more personalization examples, especially in B2B, read our blog post at OMT on "Why Print Works as a Booster in Marketing." [Available only in German language]