I have now participated in about two dozen account-based marketing (ABM) webinars or events where I shared some of my ABM strategies with other marketers or vendors who have also shared their strategies.
The example I often use is similar to most other presenters. Typically, this is what we present as example of ABM (I am sure this looks familiar):
- Create a list of target accounts using a predictive marketing vendor
- Send a nurturing campaign that includes direct mail (personalized, with a hand written note of course), inside sales phone calls, and personalized emails to each target account
- Add target accounts to a segmented ad purchase that uses IP or cookie based bidding to reinforce a target account programs
This is an easy example of ABM because it highlights a channel, direct mail, not often used when marketing to your entire database. It is also a great example because it highlights an easy-to-implement technology (personalized ads) that can be deployed to target accounts. Finally, this simple plan can be tracked, so it’s easy to say that it works.
But, is this really the best example of ABM? If this is actually how my company (Apttus) ran all of our ABM campaigns, we would only see about 10% of the results we are currently driving with our ABM strategy. Our overall ABM strategy is actually much different–you can see an example here.
The Typical ABM Strategy in Practice
What I realized today is that because so many people use the example above, it’s becoming the “de facto ABM campaign”. If you’re doing this, then what you are doing is not ABM.
Yesterday alone I received two programs like this–I received a $10 Starbucks gift card and note from one vendor, and some type of leather technology holder from another vendor.
While I like receiving gifts every day, it’s impossible for me to respond to every present I get in the mail. And, for reasons I explained in this other post, a campaign like this could alienate other potential buyers, both on my team (when they see me get the gift and not them) and online (when I post a photo of what I received via my social channels).
Think Outside of the Box And Try Not-Often-Highlighted (But Effective) Campaigns
Your ABM strategy doesn’t have to be this, and in-fact, it doesn’t have to include any of these techniques. Instead, think about every channel you typically use–events, out-of-home advertising, social, and so on, and think about how you can use each channel to sell specifically to named accounts. I know this sounds simple, but it’s critical if you want a campaign that isn’t diluted because it’s the same as everyone else.
Here are some examples of not-often-highlighted, but effective target campaigns you could deploy. And, you are probably already doing a lot of this already.
- Like the social profiles of your target accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Then, share their content (in a genuine way). Bet you didn’t realize that this was ABM! And, you are probably doing it already.
- Personalized videos are a great way to talk specifically to an account. Create a version that can be sent to the masses and then follow up with a campaign that is personalized to each of your target accounts.
- Field marketing is often account-based marketing. In fact, you may consider making your field marketing team your ABM team if you already have a field team. Micro-events like roundtables, VIP activities (sporting event, fancy pants dinner, etc.), and even user groups can all be considered part of an ABM strategy.
- Using a huge conference as a place to deploy a targeted strategy is a great way to support target accounts–here is a write up of one we did where we gave away a car to a target account.
You get my point, right? Any channel you are using in marketing is one that can be used to target an account. There isn’t one way to do account-based marketing, and if you live by the de facto way mentioned above, your account based marketing program isn’t complete.