Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is not necessarily a new strategy, particularly in the B2B marketing world, but it has gained momentum as a strategy that is getting implemented more and more. Even in 2015, Marketing Land was debating whether ABM was hype or a new reality.
So, what is the deal with ABM and is it right for your firm right now?
Account-Based Marketing Defined
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)? ABM is the strategy of targeting a select list of key accounts or firms, typically with a digital ad campaign. Depending on the industry and business, the list of target firms or contacts can range from 15 to 1,500.
Is ABM Right for Your Firm?
As a B2B marketing strategist, I definitely recommend ABM to a range of clients in various industries. However, I don’t recommend it to everyone for several reasons.
- First, it can be expensive and not have the ROI you need to demonstrate early on in a marketing strategy.
- Second, it is not a stand-alone strategy, but should be part of a larger well-defined strategy.
- Third, it may help with building brand recognition, but the prospects may only be at the very beginning of a long sales cycle.
So, who is ABM right for?
It’s ideal for B2B marketers who have a clearly defined target market and a semi-mature brand. This doesn’t mean the brand has been around forever, just that the brand is established and well-defined. ABM is not right for brands that are still “working out the kinks” and defining their value proposition.
What Makes a Successful ABM Campaign?
The Right List: A successful ABM campaign begins with a well-vetted, qualified list of ideal prospect accounts. Don’t just export your entire list of prospects from your CRM to track leads and prospects. Instead, carefully review and qualify each lead or prospect on the list to ensure they are your ideal target market. The smaller and more targeted your list, the better.
Hyper-Targeted Message: Once you have your defined list, the next step is creating a hyper-targeted message or messages for that audience. What are their pain points, what do they value, what makes them interested in your product or service? The message should be different from your general tagline and should speak directly to this audience of prospects.
Stand-Out Graphics: Along with a targeted message, you should have a creative design that will cut through the noise and grab your prospects attention. Remember, for ABM advertising campaigns, the prospects on your list aren’t actively looking for your services. However, with the right message and the right graphics, you can grab their attention and make them think about your firm and your services or products.
The Proper Partner: Lastly, a successful ABM campaign requires the right vendor or partner to execute a B2B marketing campaign. There are a variety of vendors out there, each with their own proprietary technology. When vetting possible vendors, check to make sure they have the proper scale, tools, and understanding of what metrics matter to you. Impressions seem to be high on the list for most ABM vendors, but for B2B marketing, the main metric is often conversions, warm leads, and quality traffic.
At Bop Design, we’ve run a variety of ABM campaigns for our B2B marketing clients. The only caveat is that these are often a component of a broader digital marketing strategy that also includes inbound marketing. Account-based marketing can be a very effective strategy when it’s combined with a strategy that also attracts high-intent traffic (via inbound marketing).
Questions about ABM and whether it’s the right fit for your firm? Let us know in the comments below.