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There’s more than one approach to fishing. You can set bait and see how many fish bite, or you can go after a specific one, like Ahab in Moby Dick went after the big white whale. In the same way, there’s more than one approach to marketing. Most companies set out attractive bait hoping that customers will nibble. It’s a perfectly fine way to go about it, but there’s the Moby Dick approach, also known as account-based marketing. In the past, it was hard to track down the white whale – just look what happened to Ahab, but there’s better equipment now, better bait.
As technology becomes more sophisticated, there’s a greater movement to personalize marketing messages to make them more relevant to customers. Customers now want to be addressed as individuals, and marketing to the masses is dead. According to a report from Econsultancy and Monetate, 94 percent of companies agree that personalization is critical to current and future success.
The majority of organizations are now sending targeted messages to customers. But in some cases, it makes more sense to target your messages, not just to one person, but to an entire organization. In the B2B world, we sell to businesses. How does personalization fit in this space? Using account-based marketing, or ABM for short, companies can target specific firms with their marketing. But how does that work?
This approach has been around since the beginning of the marketing profession. What has changed is that technology is making it easier to accomplish it at scale. Companies like Demandbase, Bizo, and Insightera are the top players in the market right now, providing ways to automate ABM and make it a sustainable solution for bringing in new business.
The main goal behind ABM is that you can go after the business you want – the real movers and shakers. This could be specific departments, industries, or even companies of a particular size. As I mentioned, this approach has been around at least since the “Mad Men” days. Going after the big fish isn’t a new idea. Don Draper, Pete Campbell, and company go after individual firms all the time. But in the past, it took a lot of effort and manpower to accomplish this. With the amount of customer data and tools available, it’s no longer such a feat.
Buyers are generally teams, which is why ABM embraces the collective decision-making process. When creating a targeted marketing campaign, you need to think about the business as a whole, not just one person. Your white whale may actually be a school of fish.
DocuSign created a Web experience that changed based on the IP address that visited and used ABM to change calls-to-action and messages depending on the visitor. So if I happened to be visiting DocuSign’s website, it would have said something like, “Hi Switch Video!” According to ClickZ, this approach increased page views from target accounts by 300 percent and led to 22 percent pipeline growth in their top industries.
Here’s how it can work: After someone interacts with your website, either in response to a marketing email or filling out a lead form, their IP address is tracked. Now you have the information you need to market anyone from the same unique IP address. You can personalize site content, CTAs, images, etc. Because most companies operate under one IP address, you can target this address specifically, ensuring you reach an entire group rather than just a single person.
Imagine having an animated video greet you when you visit a company’s webpage. If you identify a client that could use your services, target them with a video catered to their needs. You can also take a similar strategy to DocuSign and embed an explainer video on a landing page that changes depending on the visitor. It’s a great way to have content that speaks directly to your dream clients.
Like many current marketing strategies, ABM has always been around. The main difference is that an explosion of marketing platforms and strategies is making it possible to go after the biggest fish, and reel them in, in a scalable way. You can incorporate strategic, targeted messaging that appeals to unique companies and be sure to include compelling content that makes these individual businesses pay attention.
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