Account-based marketing (ABM) is currently the hottest B2B ticket in town. 87% of marketers say it offers better ROI than other marketing activities.

While it may be a relatively new strategy for many people, it has actually existed in various guises for many years. You may have heard of key account management, key account marketing, or client-centric marketing.

ABM's goal is simply to treat an account as a market, i.e. H. Focus all of your energy (and resources) on winning, winning, and maintaining a named account.

ABM has four basic principles:

  1. Customer orientation and insight
  2. Partnership between sales and marketing
  3. Focus on reputation, relationships, and ultimately sales
  4. Tailor-made programs and campaigns

Just right? Well, the reality is that the price has to be big enough to justify this effort and resources to justify this expenditure. ABM is therefore best suited for complex solutions with a high ticket price and a longer life cycle, in which several stakeholders are usually involved.

Strategic ABM (one-to-one) and one-to-little (clusters of 15 to 20 accounts with common commonality, i.e. vertical, industry, pain, challenge, etc.) have defined ABM in recent years.

But there is a new ABM child on the block that messes things up: one too many ABM.

The rise of the ABM Tech Stack

One of the main reasons why ABM has become so popular and is now an integral part of any B2B marketing and sales playbook is because it uses technology to automate and target the accounts (and people) you want to influence and convert.

The rise of one-to-many ABM programs for hundreds (and even thousands) of accounts was largely possible due to the technological and data-related advances that are now available to B2B marketers.

Quite simply, a one-to-many ABM would not have been possible a few years ago.

Bev Burgess, one of the world's leading ABM authorities, recently said: "One-to-many ABM now enables companies to pursue an" always-on "strategy for those accounts that interest them."

What is account-based advertising?

The analogy most commonly used to describe the difference between ABM and inbound marketing is spear fishing versus netting. As the picture below shows, ABM is the opposite of inbound marketing:

Image source

The account selection is the starting point. Therefore, the ability to address named accounts from the beginning and the appropriate decision making unit (DMU) within the account is the basis for a successful account-based marketing program.

And this is where account-based advertising comes into play. With account-based advertising, you can target and personalize digital marketing campaigns to these accounts.

Simply put, account-based advertising means that your digital advertising campaigns are heavily focused on the accounts you want to activate, penetrate and win.

Account-based advertising enables you to:

  • Expand your digital advertising campaigns to increase your chances of winning. If you expand your retargeting from the original website visitor to the broader DMU, ​​your chances increase considerably.
  • We are familiar with the large number of account contacts involved in a decision-making process (6-10, according to Gartner). With digital advertising, you can reach and influence this larger important group.
  • Focus your marketing spend and increase the ROI of your digital advertising budget by targeting accounts that show intent signals.

Be successful with account-based advertising

Let's take a look at what makes a successful account-based advertising campaign.

1. Consider your account-based advertising opportunities.

There are many digital advertising opportunities (and the number is growing). There are a large number of digital advertising partners and ABM platforms that provide access to these channel tactics.

Make sure you choose your tactics and channels carefully based on your marketing budget, your news, and your audience.

A) Programmatic advertising

Many of us are familiar with this form of advertising. These ads are generated via cookie-based targeting and the ads appear natively in the channel, which has a much more natural effect. The ads appear on websites and apps via online platforms such as Google, Avocet or AdRoll publishing networks.

With a subset of programmatic advertising, you can also target the actual device that did the search. This is an advance over traditional IP-based targeting, especially given the explosion of remote work in recent months, which will undoubtedly continue for some time.

B) Paid advertising from LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become a major player in digital advertising. They offer a (growing) number of formats and options with which you can address the accounts and / or people you are interested in:

With advertising options such as sponsored content, you can deliver content to members' LinkedIn feeds that go beyond those who follow you or your company. This allows you to target specific potential customers within the target accounts. The important advantage is that certain content can be made available on a large scale.

In addition, you can use LinkedIn's paid advertising to test different ad units, depending on the campaign goals, the stage of the funnel you want to advertise, and the scope of the tactic / channel.

C) Content Syndication

This is a common awareness-raising tactic that you might use for one-to-many ABM to promote your content across a wide network of B2B content syndication websites, including websites, blogs, social media, etc. One glance on content syndication: what it is and how to make it successful.

D) retargeting

We all know retargeting, although we may not know it. Have you ever noticed that ads related to your recent searches appear when you read your favorite blog content or search Facebook? This is thanks to retargeting.

Retargeting is a feature that allows you to customize your display advertising campaign for people who have previously visited your website and to adapt your ads (using dynamic retargeting) to those visitors when they surf the web and use social media apps .

The key here is not to tire your audience with the same ads, but to keep them updated and always relevant to your audience.

2. Keep an eye on your audience and personality when personalizing content.

Data-driven buyer personality research is the foundation of every ABM campaign, and this certainly applies to any associated digital advertising campaign.

Personalization is the key. Desk research and extensive Insight reports shed light on the account and the industry to which it belongs. Further investigation into the DMU and named people within the account will affect your messaging and digital advertising strategy.

Keeping an eye on your audience ensures that your content resonates.

Remember that your message will be read by people who face certain challenges. So make it a priority to understand their weaknesses and challenges.

Always make sure that your message is empathetic, builds a good relationship, and focuses on how you can help solve your challenges, not how good your company is.

If you place your personas at the center of your campaign strategy, you can see the success of your account-based advertising campaign. Always check which of your previous campaigns resonated with your audience – which content formats and languages ​​do they respond best to?

3. Make your messages as relevant as possible for your target group.

In an ABM one-to-one campaign, you should examine the target company in detail to ensure that your messages are as relevant as possible, taking into account both the challenges of the person and the entire organization. With a one-to-little program, you can customize the message according to industry verticals or sales challenges.

Also at the one-to-many level, consider how you can add personalization with a light touch and keep it relevant. Check that the advertising tactic / channel you have chosen allows you to add some helpful personalization tokens, including first name, last name, company name, job title and industry.

It's usually best not to get too carried away by the number of CTAs you use. Instead of presenting a short message and five CTAs to users, you first have to force them to take the most important steps first (e.g. downloading an ebook), and then move the additional options in order to ensure that there is enough context for each offer. The question should be crystal clear!

4. Take your seeker's intent into account and use the right keywords to match them.

Intent dates can provide valuable insights that can help you ensure that you are only targeting the accounts that are on an active buyer's trip. The following image shows the process of narrowing an initial "internal" target account list by a) looking at your first-party data – who is dealing with your brand? and b) using intent dates to see which accounts are on an active buyer journey.

This interface between first- and third-party data is the sweet spot and the place where your account-based advertising can be provided at will.

When it comes to the topics and news that you share, intent dates can ensure they reach your target audience. What keywords do they tend to and does your messaging answer the questions they are actively trying to solve?

Account based advertisingImage source

Include all relevant keywords in your sequence … of course without exaggerating keywords!

While your audience may be dealing with multiple topics, it is best to focus your news on one topic to avoid confusion. This ad format works especially well if you have multiple assets on a single subject, such as: For example, an e-book, video, and blog article. This way, users who are not yet ready to convert can explore some of your other content and increase brand awareness in the audience.

Top Tip: If you want users to take only one action, consider using LinkedIn InMail messaging or a sponsored update instead.

It's all in your hands

Account-based marketing is clearly here to stay, and more and more organizations will adopt or expand their existing ABM programs.

Data and technology are now opening up a variety of opportunities for B2B marketers to offer a hyper-personalized experience that only increases as new ways are found to find and target the accounts you want to win or expand. Account-based advertising will be an exciting area in the coming months and years.

Account plan template

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