Account-Based Marketing: Time to take it seriously
Account-Based Marketing – What’s all the buzz about?
I first heard the term “ABM” (Account Based Marketing) more than 10 years ago. Right now, it’s definitely a catchy and very buzz-worthy term, and conceptually a very unique and thought-provoking concept. ITSMA, commonly recognized as coining the term, defines Account-Based Marketing as follows:
A structured approach to developing and implementing highly-customized marketing campaigns to markets of one, i.e., accounts, partners, or prospects. This approach involves marketing and sales taking a close look at key business issues facing the target, mapping them to individuals, and tailoring campaigns to address those issues.
In other words, treating high-value customers as a “market of one” and surgically targeting them with marketing outreach that is perfectly mapped to their specific needs? Yes – that is a no-brainer. Sign me up!
But there was a catch to Account-Based Marketing back then. As a marketer you had very limited ability to truly “dig deep” and truly understand the buying behavior and unmet needs of decision makers and influencers in a specific account. You could (and did) interview every sales person on that account and did your best to connect the dots and build a picture of that account, but let’s face it, high-value salespeople with extremely low tolerance for any discussion that has the word “marketing” in it will only offer you a very small, subjective slice of the big picture.
Knowledge is power when it comes to Account-Based Marketing
Fast forward to today. Depending on whose research you believe, the first 60% to 70% of the buyer’s journey happens on the web. That means that all of those early buying process activities, from the very first Google search to downloading white papers and doing in-depth feature-benefit comparisons are “on the grid” and available for your benefit. In other words, as an ABMer, you are sitting on a goldmine of data that you can easily turn to knowledge. And knowledge is power!
Developing an Account-Based Marketing strategy that works
At CSC we have an unfair advantage when it comes to Account-Based Marketing. We had an opportunity to wipe the slate clean a couple of years ago and we built a digital ecosystem that lets us harness that power and make ABM a program with real teeth and real potential to drive business. So here are some of the things we did to enable our own ABM program (which, like any marketing strategy, is still work-in-progress by the way):
- Enabled Eloqua Prospect Profiler to give us a full 360-degree view of specific decision makers’ “digital body language” . Every digital footstep they take tells us something unique and valuable about the client they represent
- Deployed DemandBase technology that enabled us to employ reverse IP lookup to track the companies visiting our website and dynamically deliver personalized content to them
- Developed a client-specific dashboard of our website traffic. Given that B2B purchasing is a group sport, we are now able to see how the entire company consumes our content, to gain early intelligence on buying intent
- Activated targeted display advertising campaigns, presenting customized advertising messages to only the accounts we care about the most and worked with media partners to develop Account-Based Marketing intelligence outside our own ecosystem
- Piloted an “ABM Concierge” platform where our ABMers and sales teams can go to get deep-dive, real-time intelligence on the companies they sell to, and the individual decision makers that can help them make their number…or not!
So, what used to be just an interesting concept is now a must-have component of your marketing mix and an invaluable tool in your fight for relevance in a sales-centric world.
Nick Panayi is the Director of Global Brand & Digital Marketing at CSC. His areas of responsibility include global brand management, CSC.com, digital content management , marketing programs, marketing operations and marketing automation. Nick’s 20+ years experience in the technology sector encompasses a variety of management, strategic planning and marketing roles with Avaya and Compaq, as well as startups in online services and marketing automation. You can follow Nick on LinkedIn and Twitter.
ABM, account marketing, account strategy, account targeting, Account-Based Marketing, B2B marketing, customer intelligence, customer marketing, ITSMA, Nick Panayi, sales and marketing alignment, technology marketing