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ABM: Why so few marketers get it right?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is the most in vogue B2B marketing tactic for the near future.

Earlier this year an industry survey found that:

  • 60% of B2B marketers use ABM in lead generation,
  • 52% use it to manage target accounts and
  • 44% use it in programmatic and display advertising.

And marketers shared the benefits they’re seeing with ABM initiatives:

  • More efficient use of marketing resources.
  • Better alignment between sales and marketing.
  • A clearer path to ROI.
  • Faster sales cycles.

Marketers are definitely feeling confident that ABM is the right strategy for their business.

But, at the same time, they’re struggling to execute ABM at scale.

Forget building the perfect program.

You’re better off creating an ABM strategy that makes the most of your existing tools and capabilities.

You need three basic ingredients to get your ABM strategy right:

  1. A list of named contacts, prospects or accounts.
  2. The ability to assign a monetary value that you could gain by pursuing these prospects.
  3. The ability to develop tailored marketing and sales support for each prospect.

Got that? Good.

Now let’s agree on how we’re going to put it all together.

I got my recipe from here:

  1. Client centricity and insight
  2. A partnership between sales and marketing
  3. Focus on reputation, relationships and, ultimately, revenue
  4. Tailored programs and campaigns

Getting ABM right requires a commitment of time and capital from both marketing and sales.

That means making tradeoffs.

And that means the effort must be worth the reward.

There are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ ABM strategies.

Undoubtedly ABM is a powerful marketing tactic.

But it’s not strategic unless you leverage your resources.

And tweak your approach to reach your unique customers.

There are several ways you can go about it.

Choose yours based on your needs.

This ITSMA Marketing tool will help you.

The level of personalisation you’re able to deliver will make or break your ABM campaign.

An ABM campaign from GumGum is a Hall of Famer, for sure.

GumGum, a computer vision company based in Los Angeles, wanted to get John Legere’s attention.

The GumGum team knew that if they could capture attention at the top of the organization, everyone else below would naturally follow.

As the tale goes, GumGum followed John Legere on social media to learn more about his likes and dislikes.

They discovered that he’s a huge Batman fan.

So they created a comic book that would engage T-Mobile’s leadership, explain computer vision capabilities, and express GumGum’s industry points of view.

They came up with T-Man, a Batman-inspired superhero.

And his trusty sidekick Gums, who uses image-recognising technology to help T-Man save the city from bad cell-phone service:

Image: GumGum

I know this one’s a bit out there.

But it’s the level of personalisation that really makes this campaign so cool.

GumGum made the effort to learn about their prospect and came up with a uniquely personalised way to approach him.

The lesson here is that you have to make the effort equal to the reward you’re after.

And you may just win a big client like T-Mobile.

As well as become a legend in ABM. Not too bad for a comic book.

Check out more examples of kick-ass ABM here and here.

Here’s another impressive example of ABM from RollWorks.

They designed a campaign based on pain points they had identified through customer feedback.

  • Step 1: The campaign started with personalised display ads that went live as soon as an SDR approached the prospect.
     
  • Step 2: The ads were accompanied by personalised emails by the SDR.
     
  • Step 3: The email drove the prospect to a personalised landing page to introduce them to the SDR.
     
  • Step 4: After the prospect visited the landing page, they would start getting targeted with personalised ads once again.
     
  • Step 5: Clicking on an ad would take them to another personalised landing page where they could schedule a meeting with the SDR.
Image: RollWorks

You’d think they’d stop there, right?

Instead, they followed up with the prospect with a post-meeting direct mail.

The mail included a note from RollWorks and a poster explaining how their services can benefit the prospect’s business.

For prospects that went cold, they sent a custom Over-the-Line Kit.

The kit included a notebook that outlined a checklist for getting their first campaign up and running.

And it had quotes from happy customers every few pages.

That was for the prospects who didn’t convert.

For those that did, RollWorks went one step further.

Leveraging the insight that new customers only used limited features of their product, they took out personalised display ads to educate the new customer of all the other features of the product.

The fact that the whole campaign is built around a unique customer insight makes it impressive.

And each step is designed to add value to the prospect, make them feel special and uses marketing channels that are available to everyone.

There is no single way to do ABM right.

But there is a way to get it wrong.

7/10 marketers define their ideal prospects to be C-Level executives or decision-makers.

Then they go about building a campaign to target these titles.

That’s a mistake.

A good marketing prospect is anyone who is looking for information.

In fact, that’s the first stage of any B2B path to purchase.

Often the best prospects are the influencers.

These are the employees who are constantly looking for information that:

  • benefits them personally,
  • helps them solve a specific problem,
  • gets them a promotion or
  • elevates their company as a whole.

If you’re getting started with ABM, define your prospect as someone who is going to:

  • introduce your solution to their organisation,
  • initiate the buying process and
  • be a brand advocate for your solution.

No matter where you are in your journey with ABM.

This is the ONE thing you need to get right.

Ready for Facebook’s biggest update in 5 years?

The New Facebook, or FB5, announced last year was a milestone in Facebook’s push towards improving privacy.

Facebook has gone through many changes over the years and has increasingly become a Group centric platform.

Zuckerberg in Time Magazine:

“In addition to the digital town square, we also need a digital equivalent of the living room that is just as built out as a platform.”

Unsurprisingly, then the new update has a much bigger focus on Groups and Events. 

The new navigation bar also points towards what Facebook thinks is important for its users. Engadget says:

“The slither at the top of the page is a little taller than before and has five centrally-aligned icons, which represent Home, Watch, Marketplace, Groups and Gaming. The search bar, which used to dominate the top navigation, has been condensed and shuffled to the left with the new-but-still-blue Facebook icon.”

Their biggest update in 5 years. But have they improved privacy?

FastCompany’s thoughts:

“. . . any version of the service that introduces no fundamental change to its privacy model feels unfinished. But as the company [Facebook] points out, an awful lot of groups are private or even secret. So its newfound effort to encourage people to interact more in groups rather than sharing with their own friends and family is, by itself, a subtle shift toward a less predominantly public Facebook.”

Facebook is still a pay-to-play platform.

Even if they have been focusing more on groups for a while now.

And you’re unlikely to get any organic engagement unless you invest in community management.

This change isn’t going to be a revolution for many marketers or publishers. But the fact that they’re embracing groups as a central feature of the platform is certainly a meaningful development.

Kelly Ehlers wrote in AdAge that brands need to take advantage of this shift in focus:

“I see this shift in gears as an opportunity for businesses to increase brand awareness and engagement. Personally, my company is using COVID-19 strategies of relationship building, meaningful creation and virtual experiences to harness the update’s huge potential.”

B2B marketing needs getting back to basics

Build relationships and establish your status as an expert.

Jillian Ryan from eMarketer shared these eight invaluable solutions built off the back of their 2020 B2B marketing report.

Here are the one’s I’ll be taking to my clients: 

  1. B2B events may not be back in full swing until 2021. You need to actively embrace virtual interactions in thoughtful and interactive ways.
  2. Budgets are reduced. Be more vocal but also spend smarter. Run your campaigns in sprints with regular performance evaluations and recalibration.
  3. Businesses need to speed up recovery. And if your products can deliver that, now’s is the time to be social about it. Speak up and help your customers invest in the right solutions.
  4. COVID made the vulnerabilities in your supply chain stand out like a sore thumb. Work with your sales and logistics teams to find ways where marketing can help improve customer experience.
  5. Spoil your existing customers. This one rule hasn’t let me down so far. Your job as an expert is to make your customer wildly successful at their job. Have you been doing that lately? How can you improve?

It’s time to stop chasing top-of-the-funnel volume and start using account-based marketing to lend a hand and deliver your expertise where it’s needed the most.

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Setting your client up for success on Amazon

Amazon is enjoying ever-increasing sales. For them, the pandemic is just good for business.

Selling on Amazon is looking pretty attractive right now.

Who doesn’t want access to millions of customers? Or not having to build your own supply chain?

But going on Amazon can’t just be convenient. It needs to make strategic sense.

Amazon’s scalability comes from the network effect: attract buyers, which attracts seller which ultimately leads to more buyers.

Take this advice from HBR on building an Amazon strategy that benefits your (or your client’s) business and protects you from price wars and Amazon’s biased marketplace policies.

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Facebook invests in Asia’s largest Super App outside China

Facebook may have missed the boat on building its own Super App but its recent investment in Gojek gives it the front row seat to the growing mobile-first digital economy in South-East Asia.

FT reported that Facebook has recently invested in Gojek’s mobile payment service called GoPay. This is their second big investment in Asia having invested $5,7 billion in Reliance Jio only a few weeks ago.

In case you haven’t heard, Gojek is an Indonesian super app that offers ride-hailing in over 200 cities and mobile payment processing in more than 370 cities across Indonesia, They also offer logistics services and operate in Vietnam and Thailand as well.

Besides Facebook, Google, PayPal have all invested in Gojek to get closer to the millions of people in Indonesia’s growing digital economy.

Announcing the investment Facebook wrote:

“This investment will support Facebook and Gojek’s shared goal of empowering businesses and driving financial inclusion across the archipelago. WhatsApp helps small businesses communicate with customers and make sales, and together with Gojek, we believe we can bring millions of people into Indonesia’s growing digital economy.”