Over the last few decades, digital marketing has helped companies deliver their messages through many different channels, reaching a wider audience than ever before. While this has been considered a boon for marketers – and has fundamentally changed the profession – the downside is that marketing activities have become watered down to appeal to the greatest amount of people. And, much like bulk mail and robocalls, the vast majority of these digital messages don’t find the right audience.
These days, B2B marketing is evolving from the “spray and pray” method where you spread your message far and wide – and cross your fingers that it grabs someone’s attention – to more targeted approaches. One of the more popular is account-based marketing, or ABM, a strategy that aims to find, attract, engage with and convert high-value accounts. Instead of attempting to get as many leads as possible, ABM focuses on building relationships with select targets by tailoring content and tactics just for them. There’s no doubt that ABM is gaining steam –- according to a 2020 Salesforce survey, 92% of B2B marketers have an ABM program underway.
The thinking is by focusing efforts on people who are most likely to need your product or service – based on their industry, line of business, or other identifier -- and messaging specifically to them, marketers will see a higher customer yield from their efforts.
Resource requirements of ABM
Sounds great, right? It can be, but not without significant budget, time and skill.
There are different approaches to ABM, but in general you first must identify high-value target customers, whittling down lists of prospects based on their titles, geographies, industries and other identifying characteristics. Lists are typically available from third-party vendors.
Then you must develop content for a multi-touch campaign that will speak specifically to these contacts, based on extensive research into their challenges, preferences, habits, goals, and more. You will want to take a persona-based approach to developing this content, and you may even need to do additional research depending on how narrowly you define your target audience.
Next come your campaign tactics – email, targeted ads and social, nurture – which will require time, money, and know-how to set up and manage. And you’ll want to regularly review metrics to gain insight into what’s working and what’s not. Here lies a hidden benefit of ABM – because the strategy is so focused, the metrics you get from it are more focused, too, and therefore easier to act on. For example, if one piece of content performed worse than the rest in an ABM program, you’ll know it wasn’t because the asset was written for the wrong persona or industry, since those elements help define the strategy to begin with. More likely the problem was with the subject matter or execution of the content.
On the bright side, many aspects of ABM can managed by technology platforms or outsourced to third parties to limit resource drain. And ABM is viewed as delivering higher returns for marketing efforts than most other strategies. If you’re ready to see how targeting your marketing efforts can produce results, contact us to learn how our experts can help you implement a successful ABM program.