Account-based marketing (ABM) is a business marketing strategy that focuses on various objectives across the entire market. This strategy works with personalised campaigns tailored to specific target groups. It works with marketing activities that resonate with the needs and particular attributes of these groups.
Account-based marketing works particularly well for B2B companies that want to create a solid customer base. B2B marketers apply this targeted business strategy for one simple reason: It works.
ABM method takes a holistic view of marketing. In other words, this approach understands marketing in the sense of the -whole- is -more- than- the- sum -of- its- parts-concept and, therefore, it strives for more than a mere customer identification or the creation of leads. If you want to make the most of your customers, you have to motivate them to buy more expensive goods and offer them related products.
ABM is becoming increasingly popular among B2B companies whose clients are big corporations. Compared to other marketing methods, ABM works well for companies with long sales cycles and high cost of transactions.
The basic principles of ABM include:
Instead of sending a generic message, marketers try to reach their target customers and use all the information they have about the client to personalise their message as much as possible. Therefore, each marketing campaign is adapted to the specific characteristics and particular needs of a customer.
Union of sales activities and marketing
ABM motivates marketing and sales departments to work together to identify key customers, tailor campaigns to clients’ needs, and cooperate throughout the entire process of a business transaction.
Shorter sales cycles
Important business decisions usually depend on several actors. The decision-making process might be held back by the buying process, which starts at the lower management positions and very slowly reaches those who take the final business step. The goal of the ABM method is to shorten the cycle and target all prospects at once.
A transparent return on investment
ABM methods should be clear and measurable. Most B2B marketers state that ABM provides a higher return on advertising investment than any other marketing strategy.
Spend less money
Thanks to ABM, the time of your employees spent at work and your advertising investment focus on a target group of potential clients who are most likely to buy your product or service. Therefore, you will not waste your time and money on unproductive activities.
An example of account-based marketing
ABM starts with the creation of meaningful segments and corresponding marketing plans focused on a specific target group (whether it is a microsite, e-mailing or an outdoor event). Each company uses its own tactical mix.
The process of targeting a particular customer takes into account the specific characteristics of the client, his importance and the effectiveness of the marketing activities used so far. Companies you want to attract within the ABM strategy should be the most valuable ones in your portfolio.
Examples of successful advertising methods:
Personal meetings are the best opportunity to reach target customers. ABM works with personalised invitations for defined customers, special VIP dinners, personal gifts and care after the end of the event.
Like events, webinars can be adapted and timed to the needs of a specific group of customers. The follow-up after the webinar can be built according to the needs of your clients. Do not forget to consider their requirements when thinking about the topic of a webinar.
At the time of bulk e-mails, sending a gift per post is becoming an increasingly popular method to address specific employees of a company. ABM method is based on detailed knowledge of the target group and, therefore, gifts and marketing items sent per post can be more expensive than usual, because they should bring higher profits.
Despite the increasing popularity of direct mailing, e-mailing is still a relevant marketing channel. While traditional mass marketing utilises sample e-mails and automation, ABM seeks to prepare personalised e-mails.
PPC advertising and paid posts on social networks are regularly used to reach the target group in a web environment. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, allow you to reach the selected companies and their employees. Technologies, such as IP targeting and subsequent retargeting, help you focus carefully prepared messages on specific recipients.
Web campaigns do not end by generating traffic using SEM and inbound campaigns. Once a visitor enters your webpage, you need to use personalisation technology to support specific visitor experience.
How to work with account-basedd marketing
To start your own account-based marketing strategy, follow five essential steps:
- Select the most valuable clients.
Select the companies that bring you the highest profits. You can apply the Pareto Principle.
- Learn as much as possible about your most valuable clients.
If you want to have in-depth knowledge about your customers, you must look at your business with their eyes.
- Prepare individual marketing campaigns.
Use the information collected during the survey for the development of a communication strategy and the preparation of creative approaches that help you target the selected group.
- Customise your marketing activities.
Focus your advertising activities on selected customer groups.
- Track and measure advertising campaigns.
Carefully analyse all data available and continue to improve the performance of your campaigns.
How to personalise your webpage
Personalisation of your website is an essential part of the ABM strategy as it enables you to customise the appearance and content of your website according to the needs of individual customers. To identify the visitors of your webpage, you can work with reverse IP search of firmographic data, your company data or their offer from external companies.
Once you find that the visitor comes from a company that is or should be your key customer, you can prepare personalised content of your page, which can take various forms, from direct messages through images to personalised notifications.
Why should you use ABM?
The answer is really simple and is outlined at the beginning of this article. Because ABM works. American businessman John Wenanecher said that: "Half of the money invested in advertising is thrown away, but unfortunately we don't know which half it is".
Thanks to ABM, you can maximise the effect of your advertising investments and maintain maximum control over them. In military terminology, instead of carpet bombing of potential customers, hire snipers who shoot directly to a specific client and address him with the most relevant offers. And it pays off!