The ABM process can be broken down into two phases. The first phase is about goal setting, account selection, prospect (influencers, decision makers) discovery, and holistic contact profile compilation. The second phase is about activating ABM by developing a content strategy, creating compelling content, using multiple channels to seed content, and generating interactions. We covered the first phase of the ABM process in a prior blog. Here we will cover the second phase of the ABM process.
Before we discuss the specifics, it is important to recognize that what you do in Phase 2 is highly dependent on the size of the Account you are targeting. ABM can be used for Accounts of all sizes. You can focus on a hand-full of large Fortune-100 enterprise Accounts, for multi-million dollar solution sale, with long sales cycle, and complex procurement process. Or you could be going after hundreds (and even thousands) of small, medium enterprises, for small ticket sales, with shorter sales cycle, and simple purchasing process. Phase 1 of the ABM process does not vary much by the size of the Account or the complexity of the solution. But Phase 2 does.
Let’s discuss the ABM activation process for our CMB 2016 event marketing project.
As in Inbound marketing, relevant content is critical to success with ABM. But before creating content, you need to develop an overall content & messaging strategy. You need to clearly articulate the content objectives (e.g. demonstrate ROI); select the type of content in support of each objective (e.g. case study); the degree of personalization necessary (e.g. industry specific); and map the content to specific audience (e.g. c-level executives).
For our CMB 2016 event, clearly demonstrating the business value of the event is all that is required. And if this content can be customized a little by industry or sector, it can help increase response rate. There is probably little need to vary the content by role of the individual. That is the essence of the content strategy. We won’t drill down on to specific messages or proof points to demonstrate business value of the Event. For CMB 2016 it may be a roster of past attendees by sector (to infer value), or past presentations and materials relevant to a specific sector, or (real) accolades from past attendees.
The next step is to then create relevant content. There are multiple formats for contents (e.g. webinars, white papers, landing pages) and the same content can be instantiated in multiple formats. For example, the CMB 2016 business value, can be show-cased with a YouTube or Facebook video, a Website Landing page or a simple HTML email.
Once you have the necessary content, ABM can be activated using different marketing techniques. But you should focus your marketing dollars only on a select set of Accounts. This is the key difference between ABM and traditional lead generation programs. ABM marketing uses digital and non-digital marketing tactics.
Since ABM requires Account level targeting, not all digital marketing tactics are appropriate. SEM, SEO, and Display Marketing lacks the necessary targeting granularity. Social Media – both LinkedIn and (even) Facebook (custom audiences), Twitter (tailored audiences) – can be very effective. Retargeting, is another useful tactic, particularly if used in conjunction with a targeted email or social media outreach campaign. Since digital marketing is focused on Accounts it can be done with minimal investment. All digital outreach tactics (that have the necessary targeting) should be used in your ABM campaign. You need to sequence these tactics in a cohesive way so that they work in unison and complement each other.
Finally, along with digital outreach, it is important to use traditional direct response tactics such as direct mail, telemarketing. Again, due to the focus of the ABM approach, these programs can be executed cost-effectively and can generate higher responses than traditional untargeted outreach. It is important that response and engagement information from digital marketing campaigns are factored to further focus your direct response tactics.
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