When it comes to Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and what it doesn’t, there are as many opinions as ABM experts. The reality is that ABM (now ABX in some circles) is constantly evolving and what qualifies as an ABM is a moving target.
Is it important too? Well, it only matters because many B2B marketers who haven’t set foot in the ABM waters are under pressure, from management or sales, or both to do so. So the natural question is: What does it mean to “do” ABM and where is the best place to start?
Unfortunately, too many companies consider ABM to be synonymous with one-to-one high-touch campaigns, believing that one-to-one marketing is the only “real” ABM. However, the danger with this mindset, and the risk with an approach to ABM that prioritizes highly personalized, highly orchestrated, content-intensive, and touch-intensive campaigns, is that these programs are expensive, relatively risky, and can take weeks or months to get to market , albeit with a big payout when successful.
I’ve previously written in this section about how companies looking to move to a more ABM-centric approach, or simply wanting to incorporate ABM into their overall demand-gene mix, are smart about not abandoning the more traditional, broad-based demand generation altogether.
In fact, companies looking to get started with ABM can incorporate these tactics over time based on a tiered account strategy:
* Tier 1 (one to one) – highly personalized, “white glove” approach to large customers
* Tier 2 (One to Few) – Personalized and segmented contact to key industries or other target groups
* Tier 3 (One to Many) – Broader demand generation for the broader market
In a tiered structure, a company can continue broader demand generation (Tier 3) but introduce more targeted, personalized contact with industries or people with higher inclinations (Tier 2), possibly through channels such as content syndication or paid social ads. Then, when (critically) certain high potential accounts show awareness, commitment and intent, those accounts can be switched to a high level tier 1 strategy.
The advantages of this crawl-walk-run approach over a scenario in which a company immediately adopts a tier 1 strategy are:
* lower risk as Tier 1 accounts are further down the buying cycle and not just targeting logos;
* Get to market quickly as Tier 3 and Tier 2 programs require less research, planning, and content;
* Improved conversions as insights from a broader “what works” approach can be applied to individual campaigns
There are situations when one-to-one campaigns can be launched earlier, such as when a company is marketing to existing customers. In customer campaigns, so to speak, awareness and engagement as well as a deeper familiarity with the target accounts are already baked in, thus reducing risks. But even then, these campaigns will benefit from being part of a larger approach.
For more detailed information on ABM planning and design, download our free e-book: “The Pragmatic Guide to ABM Success”.
Photo by Fidel Fernando on Unsplash