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Introduction to Account-Based Marketing

No one likes to feel as if they’re just one out of a thousand mass-email recipients. We don’t, do you? Luckily, that’s what account-based marketing is for.

Also known as key account marketing, account-based marketing, or ABM, as we like to call it, requires a company to be specific about what customers they are trying to reach, as a way for sales and marketing to align on their target audience. As opposed to a spray and pray method, which is exactly what it sounds like and means that you’re marketing to anyone and everyone, ABM is much more targeted and personalized.

When you personalize your offers and your communications, you are able to connect with your both current and potential clients on a much more personal level, showing them that they really matter. Not to mention, zeroing in on a specific account also allows marketing and sales teams to be more effective in their efforts so that they stop wasting energy chasing dead-end leads. Doesn’t that sound nice?

When it comes to ABM, your goal is to make your content scalable, personalized, and targeted. You’re not writing a single piece of content and sending it to your entire contact list. Rather, you are writing on a very specific issue that is relevant to a certain account, industry, or audience. ABM is truly marketing at its finest.

Benefits of ABM

So, why should you even care about ABM? Well, the benefits of ABM basically speak for themselves.

When sales and marketing are intertwined, it’s been shown that your customer retention rates could receive a 36 percent boost and your sales-win rate could increase by almost 38 percent.

With ABM, instead of concentrating on a lot of leads, you’re focusing your sales and marketing resources on targeted accounts that are the best possible fit for your products or services. When sales and marketing teams share insights, data, processes and goals, they’re able to close deals with target accounts much faster. In fact, 84 percent of businesses using ABM say that it delivers higher ROI than other marketing campaigns. Similarly, Altera Group found that 97 percent of marketers said the ABM approach yielded a higher return on investment. It’s a recipe for success.

Pursuit Marketing

Pursuit marketing is one type of ABM that is gaining popularity in the marketing world today. This approach focuses on targeting and closing a set number of key accounts within a specified time frame. It’s proven effective in winning big deals as it requires a company to implement processes that align all internal teams, such as sales and marketing. While it can be complex, the measurement of success for pursuit marketing is clear, and it’s worth it in the end.

4 Critical Steps to Account-Based Marketing

Now that you know what account-based marketing is, it’s time to learn how to implement it. To do so, there are 4 critical steps to ABM that your company has to take. These steps include:

  1. Identifying Accounts
    Be familiar with who your target is. That’s what ABM is all about. Before you can do anything else, you need to locate your specific target market first, so that you can market directly to them. You need to know what kind of marketing will be most effective towards this one specific target. Define the account selection process.
  2. Profiling Accounts
    Once you’ve selected your target accounts, you need to build a plan to actually reach the right consumers. Map the journey, including each stage of awareness, interest, evaluation and commitment. This allows you to learn more about your target audience, at every step of their buyer’s journey, in an effort to improve your potential campaign’s effectiveness
  3. Launching campaigns
    When launching your marketing campaign, take a multi-channel and a systematic approach. Be smart about it and don’t waste your time or resources. For example, if you send a few emails to a select group of people, take time to retarget and weed out those who aren’t interested.
  4. Measuring analysis
    Create an ABM dashboard to record data on the groups that your company is actively targeting. Measuring analysis can help you gage engagement and keep track of how new leads and closes.

ABM doesn’t have to be hard, and you don’t need crazy marketing technology to do it. Start with a clear strategy and clear target audience in mind, and follow these 4 steps. If you do, you’ll be on your way to creating and implementing successful account-based marketing campaigns like these 3 companies.

3 Examples of Successful Account-Based Marketing

T-Mobile and GumGum’s: CEO John Legere came up with the idea of creating a comic book promoting T-Mobile. This comic book was also posted on their twitter page and it quickly started to gain recognition. T-Mobile focused on its unlimited data plan in the comic book and had a creative team of editors, writers and illustrators who spent months making this comic book called T-Man and Gums. T-Mobile and GumGum’s decided to team up to create this comic book series. This was definitely risky but it ended up paying off big time.

GumGum’s: GumGum’s is an artificial intelligence company with a focus on computer vision. Earlier this year, as part of an initiative to connect with McDonald’s, they decided to design burger kits that showcased their brands. They shipped 100 kits addressed to executives at McDonald’s and the brand’s media agencies, with the name of each person on a fast food receipt wrapped inside the box.

They used the Big Mac’s famous ingredients: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions—on a sesame seed bun, to represent different aspects of GumGum’s technology. The patties mentioned first and third-party data. The onions touched on targeting. The special sauce promoted GumGum’s computer vision software. There was even an augmented reality tattoo that could be accessed by a smartphone.

GumGum’s promoted the ABM campaign on social channels with short videos, making sure to tag the key decision-makers. And like with the T-Mobile example, the personalized targeting ultimately helped secure a meeting with the relevant decision-makers at McDonald’s.

Clorox: For the past five years, Clorox has invited hundreds of its marketers to the annual iConnect conference to learn about the latest digital trends. In 2017, the conference had its biggest guest list with over 400 attendees. To generate attention from a select group of Clorox brands including Brita, Burt’s Bees, and Hidden Valley, they created 3D tattoo kits for the companies that people could use and share during the event.

By combining both augmented reality and experiential marketing, they fueled more than 200 app downloads and significant interest from their booth. Since image recognition software and computer vision technology is still an emerging space, the project gave attendees the chance to learn more about the ways they can use the technology in their own marketing efforts.

Like all good ABM campaigns, the tattoos worked because they focused on the specifics and only targeted a few brands. Some marketers may be more comfortable trying to reach a wide audience. But, going after the right person with content tailored to their needs can lead to incredible results, as seen with all three of these campaigns.

Current State of Account-Based Marketing

With thousands of companies using ABM each year, it’s time that your company does the same and starts to familiarize itself with ABM to optimize your full potential. With all that it has to offer, ABM isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So, it’s important you take advantage of this huge marketing opportunity. Consider contacting a marketing agency to help you get started with your own account-based marketing solution.

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