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The End Of Segmentation in B2B-Marketing

Jörg Wenzel | Jörg Wenzel / June 10, 2024
The End Of Segmentation in B2B-Marketing

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Within business-to-business (B2B) marketing, the transition from traditional segmentation techniques to hyper-personalised strategies is a game changer. This transformation requires a fundamental rethink in the way companies interact with their customer contacts, enabling a level of marketing personalisation that was previously either too expensive or technically unfeasible.

One-to-All-Marketing: When the Sprinkler Missed


One-to-all marketing aims to reach as wide an audience as possible, but is often not precise enough in B2B marketing to achieve progress in the sales funnel or even a conversion among the target group. Therefore, attempts are made to attract the attention of recipients with creative campaign approaches and/or by emotionalising the rational B2B message in order to increase the conversion rate in the sales funnel. This is comparable to a lawn sprinkler watering a large area at the same time, which is efficient if the aim is to water the entire field. However, sometimes not all areas of the field are watered evenly and valuable plants that may need more water or special fertilisers may not get the nurturing they need to thrive. In B2B marketing, this means that the general approach is not precise enough to address the specific needs of the contacts that are crucial for conversion in the sales funnel. For this reason, most B2B companies have moved to a one-to-many marketing approach.

One-to-Many-Marketing: Almost Hit is Not Enough


The majority of B2B companies use the ‘one-to-many’ approach in their marketing in order to target contacts more effectively. This method segments the audience into target groups with common characteristics or interests. The aim is to better tailor marketing messages to the specific needs and preferences of these groups in order to achieve better conversion.

The most common systems for segmentation are:

  • Buyer Personas

    Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of ideal customers based on a combination of socio-demographic and real-world data. Buyer personas are typically given specific characteristics such as demographics, behavior, professional goals, and personal motivations. They help marketers empathize with their target groups and develop marketing strategies that provide communicative added value. This approach enables companies to target their communications and make them more relevant to the specific needs of each segment. When companies understand what motivates each persona and what challenges they face, they can develop messages that lead to higher conversion rates. In addition to demographic and geographic criteria, behavior and psychographic factors are also taken into account when forming buyer personas.
  • A,B,C segmentation

    This type of segmentation divides customers according to their value and importance to the company.
    A-customers are the most valuable and often highest-revenue customers and are given priority. They receive the most attention and personalized service because they make the biggest contribution to the company's revenue.
    B-customers are important but contribute less to revenue or profits than A-customers. They often have the potential to advance to A-customers and are therefore targeted with marketing efforts to encourage their development.
    C-customers make the smallest contribution to revenue and are often served with standardized marketing strategies. Although they typically receive less attention, they are also important for maintaining market share and can often be promoted to higher segments through effective marketing strategies.
  • CLV segmentation

    Customer Life Value (CLV) calculates the total value a customer brings to the company over the entire duration of their relationship. This segmentation helps companies identify the customers who deliver the most value over the long term.
    Customers with high CLV often receive more personalized attention and exclusive offers because their long-term commitment to the company is particularly valuable.
    Customers with medium or low CLV can be developed and nurtured through targeted marketing strategies to increase their value over time.
    This segmentation by CLV is useful because it takes into account not only current customer value but also potential future customer value.
  • Account Based Marketing (ABM)

    ABM is particularly suitable for segmentation in B2B marketing because customer distribution often follows the Pareto principle, according to which 20% of customers generate around 80% of sales. Resources and marketing efforts are concentrated on the key customers who make the greatest financial contribution to the company. ABM is used to carry out personalized communication campaigns that are tailored to the "pain points" of the employees of these key customers. Every interaction aims to at least maintain or, at best, maximize the value of the relationship with these major customers. Since the needs and positions of the contacts at key accounts can change quickly, it is crucial to have up-to-date CRM data in order to be able to react flexibly.


One-to-One-Marketing: Not Enough Resources

One-to-one marketing, which aims for extremely hyper-personalized contact, brings with it a number of challenges. Collecting, cleaning and analyzing large amounts of data required for personalized contact is time-consuming and error-prone. Companies must be able to develop a 360-degree view of their customer contacts, which requires integrating and updating all available data. 
Another challenge is being able to scale personalized marketing campaigns. Marketing teams must invest time and resources in developing and implementing customized campaigns and messages for each individual customer contact. The ability to respond to their contacts' behavior in real time is another challenge. This is often not satisfactorily achieved with the workflow and process tools provided by marketing automation software. Marketing and sales teams therefore have difficulty responding quickly enough to changes in their contact structure, which leads to poor conversion rates or even missed sales opportunities.
Furthermore, accurately measuring and optimizing one-to-one marketing campaigns requires advanced BI analytics tools to understand which strategies are working and which aren't. AI solves these problems by providing the technologies to adaptively and automatically implement hyper-personalized marketing strategies.


WHy Hyperpersonalization is a good Ideea in B2B Marketing


In B2B marketing, hyper-personalization is the game changer. Products and services in the B2B sector often require specific adjustments that are tailored precisely to the technical and business needs of each individual customer contact. The 1:1 approach makes it possible to communicate and argue for these specific requirements effectively. Since customer acquisition and business relationships often extend over a longer period of time, hyper-personalization not only supports the maintenance of these relationships, but also strengthens the bond. In addition, an individual approach along the customer journey enables a much more effective and deeper interaction. In addition, hyper-personalization offers the opportunity to address the various stakeholders within a buying center individually and in a targeted manner, which is crucial for successful conversion to a business deal.


What Does AI Profiling and GENAI Enable in One-to-One MArketing


AI profiling and GenAI unlock the potential of hyper-personalization in B2B marketing. Marketing professionals are thus able to process large amounts of personalized information in real time. This opens up deep insights into the individual preferences and behaviors of contacts and fundamentally changes the marketing of B2B companies:

  • GenAI enables hyper-personalization by adapting interactions to the unique context of each stakeholder in the B2B environment.
  • Unlike traditional segmentation, which is based on semi-static data, AI profiling continuously adapts to changing customer data to ensure that marketing strategies meet current customer needs.
  • Implementing a personalization strategy in marketing is costly and technically demanding. GenAI lowers these hurdles and makes hyper-individualized messages economically viable.

The reason why B2B and B2C marketing is like comparing apples and pears

In B2B marketing, AI profiling and GenAI primarily support complex business relationships and long-term partnerships through highly personalized communication strategies. In the B2C sector, on the other hand, the focus is on addressing mass markets on a daily basis. The rapid adaptation and scaling of campaigns is key here. Unfortunately, this differentiation is largely lost in the general AI hype of the marketing community.

Differences between B2B and B2C marketing with GenAI

Criteria Apple: B2B-Marketing Pear: B2C-Marketing
Target group Business customers, often within specific industries Broad consumer groups with diverse interests
Product Complexity
Products/services often require specific customization and detailed explanations
Products are usually standardized and easy to understand
Product Decision Involves multiple stakeholders with specific roles and requirements Fast and emotional; decisions are often made by individuals
Marketing Strategies Focus on tailor-made solutions and long-term relationships Focus on mass market strategies and immediate conversion
The Use of AI profiling and GenAI Creating personalized marketing materials, managing complex data, continuously learning to adapt the strategy to customer needs Fast analysis of large amounts of data, personalization of communication to maximize reach and conversion
Customer Loyalty Building long-term, trusting relationships is crucial Often transaction-based, with repeat purchases encouraged by customer satisfaction
Data management Complex interaction histories and continuous adaptation of customer profiles Real-time analysis of consumer behavior and immediate adjustment of marketing measures
Account Based Marketing  Often used to manage the 20% of customers that generate 80% of revenue Less relevant as the focus is more on broad consumer segments




Traditional segmentation methods neglect the individual differences within a segment. This often leads to less relevant and effective marketing and sales processes, as not all the nuances and specific needs of each contact can be taken into account. While traditional segmentation approaches are semi-static and require regular manual revisions, AI-based profiling is largely automated and therefore scalable. 
Gen-AI in conjunction with AI profiling enables hyper-personalization. AI profiling systems analyze and process large amounts of customer data in real time, recognize patterns and continuously learn. This ability to respond dynamically to changes in the behavior of contacts makes AI profiling an effective tool. 

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Tags: B2B AI

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