I travel the country meeting with companies of all sizes across industries, from leading financial institutions to niche retail customers and prospects. When discussing the potential benefits of optimization for their businesses, a lot of the conversation focuses on where the company’s digital marketing division is with its testing and optimization program (see AdobeTargetPro.com to assess your company’s program). We also discuss what capabilities, process improvements, and resources they need to move to the next level of test optimization. Using Adobe Target, many customers have grown their programs exponentially in just a few years’ time to an advanced level of optimization and have improved the personalization of the customer experience for great returns.

With our recent advances in data and solution integrations, companies can now move their programs ahead even faster than before. I’ll be focusing a series of blog posts on these capabilities, and for this first post I’d like to talk about the B2B industry. In this space, partners like Demandbase are leveraging our APIs and integrating with our master marketing profile to offer advanced levels of personalization, from first touchpoint to subsequent visits within long sales cycles. Exciting discussions will be taking place around this topic at the Demandbase Summit this Thursday, so be sure to sign up if you haven’t already. More on Demandbase in just a second.

No matter their industry or size, personalization—or the tailoring and stitching together of the best customer experience to an individual visitor across touchpoints—is the ultimate goal for all of the companies I meet with. In the travel industry, the focus is on leveraging visitor and customer data from both online and offline interactions (from website purchases and searches to flight check-ins, status queries, and even information gathering at the kiosk in the airport terminal) to better serve the most relevant offers and services for a specific customer to increase conversion and loyalty. For financial institutions, it’s the stitching together of branch interactions with the online banking experience as well as third-party data to determine prequalifications for new accounts and investments. For media and entertainment companies, it’s quickly identifying and then recommending the most relevant articles, videos, games, and experiences to keep the visitor engaging in more high-value pages, resulting in increased ad revenue.

What ultimately fuels this personalization is the ability to identify a visitor in real-time with a unified profile, and then to make that profile accessible to a testing and optimization product to use for personalization in a next-click scenario. It’s not enough to claim to have a “visitor profile” created mostly from session-based data or data collected within an optimization tool alone, as so many point solutions do. A limited data set or view gives you a skewed or limited view of a visitor’s preferences or true intent.

In my next blog, I’ll discuss how we’ve recently resolved the main obstacle to identifying a visitor profile across sessions, touchpoints, and channels: namely, the variance between data sets and the inability to synch profile data sets into one master profile in the Adobe Marketing Cloud. But first I want to discuss how this can be effective in the B2B and high tech industries utilizing the rich firmagraphic data provided by Demandbase.

In the past, B2B websites were viewed mostly as glorified brochure-ware. The main conversion has always been lead generation, but the website’s focus was on enticing a prospect to reach out to a sales rep for a personalized conversation or demo. The site itself or the connecting of the content acquired offsite to the onsite experience was not a major focus, because it was difficult to determine who the visitors were and what they were most interested in seeing. So, the short-term resolution was to “throw up” all of your offers and products on the homepage in the hope that something would grab the prospects’ eye. With the rich actionable data of Adobe’s master marketing profile along with the valuable firmagraphic data of Demandbase, however, this is no longer the case.

Adobe’s master marketing profile captures all visitor data from Adobe’s digital marketing solutions in the cloud, and allows it to be aggregated with the valuable company data delivered by Demandbase. Demandbase provides Web and digital marketing teams with critical business information about the prospect (at first touch and at subsequent visits) such as the company name, industry, size, location, number of site visits, and what they’ve previously engaged with. This, along with the environmental, referral, behavioral, temporal, and other data captured in the master marketing profile can help you define the right category and depth of collateral, content, or experience to deliver across digital touchpoints. Using this real-time actionable data elevates a B2B company’s website from glorified brochure-ware to a tool that works to educate a prospect on the most relevant areas of its products and moves prospects forward in the lead-generation process toward a purchase or investment in the company’s offerings.

The synching of and acting upon this unified profile data has become easier than ever based on recent advancements by Adobe (announced at the Adobe Summit in March) and continuing advancements made by Demandbase (which you can hear about at their Summit). Visit Demandbase on the Web to get more information about the Demandbase Summit and the benefits you can realize from the company’s integrations with the Adobe Marketing Cloud. I hope to see you at the event!