Time for Less Talk and More Action: How to Get Started with an Account-Based Marketing Strategy with Content

By November 7, 2016
ABM group shot

Inboxes are jam packed with prospecting and marketing emails. Social media is crowded with all kinds of messaging, from your competitor’s content to news of Lindsay Lohan’s new accent. It is hard to break through the noise.

Account-Based Marketing presents a solution to this over-crowding, over-generic-messaging problem. ABM is a highly-personalized, high-touch, and extremely targeted approach to creating and executing marketing campaigns.

Unless you have been hiding out at some yoga retreat or something somewhere (welcome back!), you have probably heard about ABM. It’s smokin’ hot right now. How hot? Let’s just say a Google search for Account-Based Marketing returns over 60 million results in .3 seconds.

The problem with ABM is that there is a lot of talk about implementing a strategy, but not a lot of action. According to the SiriusDecisions State of Account Based Marketing Study, over 90% of marketers recognize the value of ABM, but only 52% of respondents have an ABM pilot program in place.

Why could this be? We did some digging. There are four top reasons why we think organizations are having a hard time actually implementing an ABM strategy. And content is a big part of it! Content can be time intensive and resource heavy. But don’t fret! It can me done. For the full ebook , How to Create Content for Your Account Based Marketing Strategy, click here! But, first, the top four reasons companies are struggling with their ABM implementation:

1. Time: It takes time to think through a solid ABM strategy. With time being a zero-sum game (there are only 24 hours in a day), something has to give if you are going to add or shift to an ABM mindset.

2. Resources: Implementing ABM has to be a total team effort. Marketing. Design. Sales. Leadership. (Your tech stack). From picking the best accounts to target (more on that later), to choosing the correct content and delivery method, to creating the perfect assets, and actual implementation…ABM involves a lot of human beings from many areas of the organization.

3. Skill Set: According to the SiriusDecisions, 47 percent of companies surveyed say “they don’t feel their ABM teams have the skills needed for ABM and that marketing teams need more support to succeed at ABM”. That stat cannot be overlooked.

4. Commitment and Change: Most people don’t love change. A “let’s just do it the way we’ve been doing it” type mentality does not require effort. Change, and a commitment to change, is tough―but essential―to an effective ABM strategy. In short, stop talking and start doing! We can help you get started.

How Can Content Help?

Content is king. At least that’s what Bill Gates allegedly said back in 1996. Sometime in the past decade context became king. Then blogging became king and video and so on and so on.

However, through all of the “proclaimed kings,” content―and content marketing―continues to be the true ruler of marketing. And rightfully so. Content, not surprisingly, is critical to any ABM strategy. You may have the best, baddest ABM strategy this side of the Mississippi, but without content, you really don’t have anything. However, just having content is not enough.

The key to an effective ABM plan is sending the right content, to the right accounts, at the right time. The “right content” must be aligned properly with the “right accounts”. We’ll dig into this in a lot more detail in the following sections; however suffice to say the closer you are to Tier 1, the more customized the content has to be.

A sound content marketing program for ABM is about educating your target accounts and creating thought leadership that is personalized. Content drives the rest of your programs. It’s truly the cornerstone of any promotional campaign of ABM. Think about it, email, social media, video marketing, marketing automation—all of your distribution channels have to be fueled by content.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to create a zillion ebooks. The key to creating targeted content is tiering your accounts.

Account Tiers

One way to think of these tiers (or buckets) is to take a trip down memory lane: senior year of High School, specifically. College application time. When thinking about where you were going to spend the next four (or five or six) years of your life, it’s quite likely you had your top “dream” schools followed by “would be great if I got in” schools, followed by “safety schools”. You may even have included a big list of “all other schools”. Tiering your accounts is not all that different.

Tier 1: Dream Schools (Accounts) These are the big fish. The best of the best. The accounts that if you landed, you, your boss, the C-Suite, investors, and the entire company for that matter would be thrilled to have as a customer. The Dream Account Tier can be big names/brands or key/strategic accounts for “land and expand” opportunities. Tier 1 content is uber-personalized, nearly 1-to-1.

Tier 2: Wish List, But Still a Stretch Schools (Accounts) These accounts are still very important to you―maybe a slight stretch, but certainly attainable. The logos are ones you’d be proud to have displayed on your website and all marketing and investor materials, but certainly not the biggest of the big. However, enough Tier 2 accounts will certainly help grow the business. Tier 2 content is personalized and targeted, but more 1-to-few.

Tier 3: Really Good Safety Schools (Accounts) These are still really good accounts, but ones you feel really good about turning into customers with minimal, more automated, less personalized content. These accounts are what keep the doors open and the electricity on. Tier 3 content is less personalized and instead more bucketed by tech stack, industry, or vertical.

In the ebook, How to Create Content for Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy, we take you through a step-by-step approach to creating, repurposing, and revamping your content to court each of your target account tiers. Check it out and start creating ABM content before 2017 hits!

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