Would you prefer to be addressed as “Hey there” or by your name? It’s safe to assume that the latter is preferred. Your customers desire personalization, just like you. They do not want to feel like a mere number; rather, they want to feel significant. In today’s era, mass marketing is not as effective as it once was, since consumers have access to a lot of information. Account-based marketing (ABM) is distinct from mass appeal. In reality, it is the opposite. This all-inclusive guide covers everything you need to grasp regarding account-based marketing, including the basics, techniques, and how marketers can employ account-based analytics software to target relevant prospects. Keep reading to determine why account-based marketing is both profitable and personal.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a more focused take on business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy, which employs highly targeted and personalized campaigns. Marketers collaborate with the sales team to identify key target accounts and work towards closing these specific accounts. To comprehend account-based marketing better, let’s delve into its origins.
History of Account-Based Marketing
Understanding the roots of account-based marketing is an essential step towards comprehending the trends that may evolve in the future. Although traditional marketing dates back to the printing press in 1450 and beyond, account-based marketing is a modern trend that emerged in the early 1990s. At that time, both B2B and B2C firms recognized the need for a personalized approach rather than mass appeal. However, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers formally introduced the concept when they published “The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time” in 1993. This book, cited as “the bible of new marketing” by Business Week, accurately predicted the transition from mass marketing to the more personalized one-to-one marketing. The book urged marketing and sales teams to focus on the small percentage of their customers that offered the highest financial gain. They could then work individually with each customer to establish a personalized nurture plan.
At present, ABM is different, with relationships being established and nurtured via email, team collaboration tools, and video conferencing software. However, in 1993, marketers were urged to consider other “new technologies” such as fax machines, voicemail, and cell phones. Peppers and Rogers acknowledged the rise in innovation and technology, and predicted that it would change the marketing landscape, mainly due to the rise of CRM software, which made it easier to track particular traits, wants, and needs of specific customers. However, it was not until 2003 that someone coined the term account-based marketing. The Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) defined the concept when it published its groundbreaking paper, “Account-Based Marketing: The New Frontier,” giving a name to the emerging marketing trend ten years after Peppers and Rogers originally introduced it. This paper highlighted the personalized approach to marketing and brought forth a new critical point: the valuable relationships marketers would build with their most important customers.
Importance of Account-Based Marketing
In recent times, customers have become more informed, empowered, and independent. They’re not restricted to information that comes out of a sales pitch anymore. Thanks to the wealth of information available on the internet and customer reviews, customers can begin their own product research before contacting a company. Sixty-one percent of marketers believe that high-quality lead generation is their biggest challenge. This means that many B2B website visitors are not potential customers. Thus, traditional efforts to reach every single site visitor and convert them into a lead do not work. Despite marketing executives putting a lot of human energy and financial resources into this, there remains a lack of qualified leads being sent to the sales team. Account-based marketing is a much-needed alternative. By identifying the accounts that are most valuable to the businesses, marketing and sales teams can narrowly focus their resources for higher financial gain. ABM also makes room for a more trustworthy vendor-customer relationship that better benefits both parties in the long run.
Types of Account-Based Marketing
There are three types of account-based marketing: strategic ABM, ABM lite, and programmatic ABM.
1. Strategic ABM: One-to-One
Strategic ABM, also known as the one-to-one method, is the original approach to account-based marketing, which Peppers and Rogers referred to in their landmark book. It typically requires the most marketing resources but, likewise, delivers the highest ROI. One-to-one ABM is usually led by one or two key members of an organization’s marketing team and geared towards the most valuable clients – the top 10% of clients that are likely to bring your sales team six-figure deals. These clients also pose significant churn risks and the most significant upsell opportunity, which is why targeting them is crucial.
2. ABM Lite: One-to-Few
ABM lite, also known as the one-to-few account-based marketing, is a method targeted at small groups of key accounts that share similar characteristics and needs. It follows the same principles as strategic ABM, but requires a lower financial commitment and is likely led by mid-level marketers and salespeople. This strategy targets key accounts with lower revenue or upsell potential than the accounts you’re targeting individually. Companies may be grouped based on industry, company size, or problems they’re facing – often, a mixture of all three. The campaign could be slightly customized per individual company but will remain mostly consistent across the board.
3. Programmatic ABM: One-to-Many
Programmatic ABM, popularly known as one-to-many account-based marketing, is the latest ABM approach. It is the practice of scaling ABM to several accounts, made possible by recent technologies. It should not be confused with segmented or traditional marketing, and the one-to-many approach remains targeted. Through email marketing campaigns, paid social media targeting, and more, a marketer can reach hundreds or thousands of different accounts. There will likely be little-to-no customization by the company, but rather a single campaign that caters to the accounts’ general wants and needs. The key to implementing a programmatic ABM approach is balance. You want to reach a large enough audience that you still see results while narrowing it down enough that your messaging still applies to the accounts you target.
Account-Based Marketing vs. Lead Generation
Traditional lead generation is an approach often used in business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B firms. The marketing funnel here is linear, starting at the wider end of the funnel and progressing through the stages in order. The first stage is awareness, followed by consideration, intent, purchase, and retention. Account-Based Marketing, on the other hand, employs a targeted approach to decision-makers in high-value accounts. It involves aligning marketing and sales efforts and treating key accounts as markets of one. ABM’s model is more fluidic than the traditional marketing funnel.
In conclusion, account-based marketing has evolved from a marketing idea to an essential part of many B2B businesses’ growth strategies. With its targeted and personalized campaigns, ABM offers a more effective approach for closing high-value accounts than mass marketing efforts. ABM better caters to the evolved customer of today, who desires a more personalized approach that acknowledges their unique needs and preferences.