Why Is B2B Marketing So Hyper?

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Hyper-relevant. Hyper-personalized. Hyper-targeted. Hyper-everything in B2B marketing!

What is it with all the hyper? Is it the new “new and improved” label for marketing concepts?

If you look at the definition of hyper, the word is related to phrases like, unusually energetic and easily excitable. And words, including jumpy, jittery, and nervous.

Science Daily explains hyperactivity as:

“Hyperactivity can be described as a physical state in which a person is abnormally and easily excitable or exuberant. Strong emotional reactions, impulsive behavior, and a short span of attention are also typical for a hyperactive person.”

It goes on to say, “…when hyperactivity starts to become a problem for the person or others, it may be classified as a medical disorder.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need marketing to become hyper-anything. It feels like it’s trying too hard. Desperate. Begging for unearned attention.

Next thing you know, we’ll have hyper-experiences; and that just feels exhausting to think about. Oh, wait – those already exist, too. Well, at least in theory. Just ask Google.

But here’s my real problem with hyper – marketers haven’t mastered relevance, personalization, targeting, or experiences in their original forms. So, what makes us think we can jump the shark straight to hyper?

Shouldn’t we master the basics of what our buyers and customers want today before we try to go for hyper-anything?

If we don’t, how do we know we’re hyper-izing (needed a term) something that will make the outcomes we’re striving for better?

Blurring the Lines in Meaning

Natalie Petouhoff says this about ABX (Account-Based Experience) – “ABX is being able to know where the customer is in the buying cycle and using intelligent insights to know when to engage, with what content, and what to say to each and every account.”

Is this an example of hyper-relevance? Hyper personalization? Or, perhaps, hyper-targeting?

It could be interpreted as any of those. But now, also as the definition of ABX. Yet, where does that leave ABM? And how are marketers to distinguish one concept from another? I just see more confusion.

Please note, I’m not picking on Natalie—heck, I agree with her, and I’m a huge proponent for the concept of ABX as a solid marketing practice, but I simply call this relevance.

Getting the Personal in Personalization

When I searched on “hyper-personalization,” I found a variety of articles that state that what makes personalization hyper is context. So, what, then, is just plain old personalization? All personalization that works effectively is reliant on context.

These articles go on to make their case by defining traditional personalization as including elements such as name, company, industry in communications, where hyper-personalization takes into consideration behavioral activity and engagement data to interpret intent and hone messaging.

I don’t think this means “hyper.” I think it means improving on where we started with the concept of personalization, given the advances in technology and our ability to collect and use data. We all know (at least I hope we do) that field merges for a person’s name or company are weak because often they are the only components (loosely) related to personalization. The rest of the message is the same, no matter if sent to Debbie at ABC Corp or Stan at XYZ, LLC.

In a weird—but absolutely spot-on twist—Robert Rose said recently, “The more personalized the content, the less personal it becomes.”

Just think about that. By trying to prove we “know” our audience, we’re distancing ourselves from them. I agree. It’s pretty much a parallel to what I said in this post about a mindset reset for B2B personalization, although Robert is more eloquent than me.

He goes on to say, “The content presented is certainly unique to that individual – perhaps even addressing them by their name, title, and organization. But, in most cases, it’s hardly the most relevant, empathetic, or surprising the customer with something she didn’t already know.”

Sometimes, surprise is good. If your customer wanted to stay the same person they are today, they don’t need you. Messaging that helps them stretch and see things from a new perspective can serve as the trigger that helps them internalize an idea, thereby personalizing it—all on their own.

It All Comes Back to Relevance

Do you see how the lines for “hyper” blur dependent upon author intent? Or even who you decide to trust and listen to? Is any of it really different than the traditional meaning of the concept in question? Or is it a constant quest we’ve bought into to try to create the next-best version of something?

I’m all for evolution. But instead of throwing out what we’ve learned thus far to adopt the shiny new version, why not continue to build on solid, foundational marketing principles? You know, the stuff that marketers continually label their biggest challenges and frustrations related to achieving objectives.

Improving marketing is iterative, not a start, stop, pick a new shiny concept, and start over proposition.

Relevance is the overarching component of all great marketing. It’s the umbrella concept behind personalization, the reason for targeting, and informed by context.

And I’d argue, there’s nothing “hyper” about that. In fact, the less frenetic you are about it, the more relevant you’ll find your marketing—as gauged by audience response and engagement.

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