We’ve all done it.
Even though we know it doesn’t work.
Despite the fact it embraces a short-term tactic at the expense of long-term returns.
As B2B marketers…we have all sent out one-size-fits-all, generic content and communications.
In our current global climate, we can no longer afford to make this mistake. It’s even more crucial now than it was 4 months ago as businesses are figuring out how to maneuver the pandemic we’re currently facing, combined with an uncertain economy. Today, generic content is exponentially more damaging to us and to our businesses. The “why” is abundantly clear when we look at what to do instead: Accelerate your adoption of ABM (Account-Based Marketing).
ABM is the B2B marketing currency that can get CFOs and CMOs alike to understand the value in dollars spent and business outcomes achieved.
Here’s three reasons why.
Reason ONE. Embrace Relevance, It Works.
As peer-based, in-person industry events are cancelled around the world, our digital connections surge, creating unprecedented levels of digital content. Amidst this roar of digital communications, tailored content matters even more. Individually, we require content that cuts through the noise and discusses something we want or need to know. Further, when we are disconnected physically, restricted from travel and working remotely, we need business empathy to help solve current challenges. Relevance says, “I understand you”, spurring powerful digital connections that simultaneously create forward momentum for the greater good.
ABM’s core premise is a focus on specific targets with tailored content at the industry, account, and job function or individual levels. The narrower our targets, the more we can tailor our messaging to our audiences’ specific interests. Starting with customers ensures that content relevance is based on their needs, not our product capabilities.
Targeting can be based on a number of selection factors, such as:
|Firmographic Data||Mining SIC / Industry, geography, size (revenue, employees)|
|Behavioral / Intent Signals||Capturing online activity (content, websites, online forms)|
|Technographic Data||Leveraging data on technology used to operate, make purchase decisions; refines firmographic and demographic data|
|Predictive Data||Using data sources and analytics algorithms to predict behaviors and generate actionable insights|
Reason TWO. Boost ROI, It Matters.
The numbers don’t lie, ABM marketing works. In one example, my team and I helped a large B2B company craft a highly targeted nurture campaign, using relevant content and a narrower list of accounts, roles and individuals. After 9 months in-market, the campaign is the highest ROI-generating campaign in the history of the 62+ year-old company, generating incremental revenue from hidden opportunities, uncovered by ABM.
This is not an anomaly. Take a look at these B2B marketing stats:
- 89% of marketers report a higher ROI with ABM than traditional marketing approaches
- ABM generates 208% more revenue for marketing efforts
- 91% of ABM marketers see a more than 50% increase in average deal size
Download our Guide: Metrics Matter: A B2B Guide to Finding Real Marketing ROI
In ABM marketing, the catch is this: When done the right way, there is more upfront work to set up the campaigns and it can be a daunting concept to many marketers to narrow targets to smaller, more focused ones. However, logic and real-world proof points demonstrate ABM’s worth. And, ABM allows marketing to speak in the “language of the business” such as revenue, new logos, increased velocity to closing deals and ROI – valuable metrics to the business, the CEO and the CFO.
By the way – doing ABM the right way also means this is not set and forget it until those accounts engage. ABM is a strategic approach, not a tactic. And optimizing an ABM strategy means constantly learning from the data you have. There is a lot of ABM technology out there. You must invest in technology that can allow some AI-powered and/or in-market intent driven models to help provide you with actionable insights. Account lists and target segments will evolve over time.
Reason THREE. Minimize Old-School Tactics, It’s Harmful.
Although it is obscured from most marketers, the hidden, yet damaging, costs of vanilla messaging sent to broad audiences can be significant. Worse, that damage is often difficult to reverse.
Many of us B2B marketers look at the positive metrics for prospects and customers that engage with our campaigns. However, we also need to consider the cost of customers who disengage with campaigns. For broader campaigns that do not align messaging with specific target audiences, the risk of alienating recipients is real. Since most B2B companies have a limited pool of prospects and each relationship is high value, reverting back to old-school tactics (broad, impersonalized, un-segmented) carries a steep cost.
Consider a volume-based campaign that generates a 2% response rate, but “turns off” or disengages the majority of the remaining audience with irrelevant content. What is the cost of that disengagement? Your conversations are compromised – and potentially shut-off – damaging future potential with disengaged recipients. By contrast, non-responders to relevant ABM content might simply be a timing issue on their path to purchase. “Not now” does not equal “not ever”.
Let’s look at the math for a hypothetical example, assuming 2% response, 25% not interested at this time:
A volume campaign to 10,000 recipients
- 2% response → 200 warm prospects
- 25% no response, not interested at this time → 2,500 cold prospects
- 73% disengaged from irrelevant messaging → 7,300 prospects disengaged
In the midst of marketing pressures, our temptation might be to focus on short-term growth at the expense of long-term growth. At best, that is a reckless approach.
Today, B2B marketing is ABM. It makes sense, generates returns and nurtures crucial relationships by meeting customers at their point of need. To boost the ROI on your marketing dollars, especially now as we figure out how to reach our B2B buyers in a remote working world, ABM is the way forward.