For years, B2C marketers have realized that creating personalized marketing campaigns provided better outcomes. Pay per click and social media marketing have allowed organizations to determine who is genuinely interested in a product and when to target them. It didn't take long for B2B marketers to take notice and realize that what has worked for retailers and service providers can also work for business accounts. Account-based marketing (ABM) was born.
B2B vs B2C Customers - Are They Different?
In most cases, B2B customers engage with brands in the same way as B2C consumers. They expect to be “danced” with during the buying cycle, they do the same research, and they are just as willing to shift to another brand that better matches their needs.
Consumers are more entitled than ever:
- Content finds them - via email, display banner ads, or social media marketing
- They curate their own channels to allow for relevant content to appear
- Their journeys aren’t linear, but rather provide bits of information about them every time they interact with the brand’s content
Historically, B2B organizations created campaigns that likely appealed to the mass target market instead of the individual. It was believed that the more eyes that viewed the campaign, the better. What came to be realized is that there are micro-targets within large target markets. These micro-targets actually buy or influence purchases, and they want to know about your business. Everything that is viewed by the non-decision maker is just a waste of time, for both the marketer and the non-prospect. Directing sales and marketing's focus on a precise target, and launching personalized campaigns created to connect with each account, produces a much higher return on ad spend (ROAS).
Who Should Use Account-Based Marketing?
Are you selling something? Are you looking for a high-value customer? Do you like using time wisely? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you should be using ABM. Very few companies these days need to reach a broad base. In addition, customers almost expect to have a customized experience in everything that they do. Sometimes they are even put-off if they don't.
What Are the Benefits of Account-Based Marketing?
Glad you asked. First, ABM reduces waste because you're not misusing resources on potential buyers that aren't really interested. Second, it provides clear ROI and transparent results because tracking is measurable through a variety of metrics and dashboards. Lastly, and most importantly, your prospects feel connected to your product or service because they perceive the message to be specifically for them, think it is relevant, and find it helpful. The next thing you know, they are ready to place a massive order (we hope).
ABM allows businesses to connect with consumers on a more personal level, segment the various consumers into particular categories based on brand interaction and, with the help of marketing automation, messages these particular individuals based on each unique interaction with your brand.
How Does Account-Based Marketing Work?
- Identify - Determine your high-value accounts (CRM). This can be done using market data, pulling from client lists, or running campaigns.
- Map Accounts - Who inside these high-value accounts are the decision-makers? Who are the influencers?
- Define Messaging - What are your target customer's pain points? How can you solve them? Find a way to convey that you are the solution.
- Determine Channels - Where does your target get their information? When are they open to messaging? When have they had their coffee and are ready to hear your plan?
- Coordinate Campaigns - Organize campaigns throughout channels with messaging that will deliver optimal impact. Don't waste time on channels that will not reach your true target.
- Learn from Results - How did your campaigns perform? What does the data say? How can you tailor messaging in the future for better results?
How Can Account-Based Marketing Be Used?
Paid advertising is one of the more popular ways to get the most out of ABM, as targeting individuals is the standard method of engagement. However, ABM isn't just for social media and banner ads (although, those are some highly effective channels). This tactic can be utilized on a variety of assets in the marketer's toolkit. Invitations to events, email campaigns, personalized gifts, VIP seminars, and webinars are just some of the methods that can benefit from customizable messaging.
More Than a Buzzword
Account-based marketing may be one of those "hot new trends" everyone is buzzing about, but the truth is that GO has been using this technology for over five years! We find it especially useful for our clients that target large accounts, with long sales cycles, because our ABM efforts are able to reach them during various times of the cycle. However, we think ABM works great for our clients with smaller account bases too, primarily because those customer's needs may be more specific. Every company's approach will have its own distinct array of tactics, and we are ready to GO with it!