The Modern Approach to Account Based Marketing

Account-based marketing plays a critical role in the growth of many businesses across a variety of industries. However, many marketers often rely on ABM when it may not be the best fit. In addition, what worked for account-based marketing even just a few months ago, may not be the most optimal strategy for marketing today.

In this article, we’ll explore how account-based marketing has changed over the years and whether or not it should be your focus. We’ll also explore in detail the many factors you need to consider to do ABM right.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) isn’t new

While reading a book called “No Forms, No Cold Calls & No Spam” by Latané Conant, I came to the realization that many vendors try to position ABM as a $40,000 technology stack problem.

The book dedicates quite a few pages to the ‘customer-centric stack’ and argues that because you’re now able to know when someone is in the market for a solution like yours [via IP lookup or 1st or 3rd party intent data], you don’t need to “spam” them.

Here’s the irony though— even though potential customers may be in the market for a solution like yours, you still need to deploy the traditional sales/marketing strategies to convince them to make a purchase.

While it is true that technology has enabled us to create more personalized & relevant experiences for prospects & allowed us to target people in very specific ways, it can also quickly approach the point of diminishing returns.

The marketing industry, like most industries, like to invent new terms to recycle old concepts. And in the case ABM, that’s exactly what has happened. Account-Based Marketing has in fact been around since the 1940s. When sales made a list of logos they wanted to sell, or the list of ‘dream customers’ to close. In those days we just called it sales.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, ABM, B2B strategy, Building trust, B2B Brands, ABM Campaigns

How to Use Intent Data to Fuel Your Content Strategy

If a content strategist leads a conversation with “I think this will work,” or “I like this topic,” you must stop them right there before any content is actually created. Content based on gut instinct isn’t going to cut it in an account-based marking (ABM) campaign. The digital marketing strategy relies on data and analytics in order to effectively nurture high-value prospects. On the other hand, if a content strategist begins a sentence with “I’m writing this because the intent data is showing us…,” listen closely; their content plan of action is not only informed, it has a much better chance of engaging target accounts and helping push your campaign toward its end goal.

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content marketing trends, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, CMO, content marketing, digital marketing, Account Based Marketing, B2B strategy, ABM Strategy, Buying intent, Intent Data, Content agility

The Importance of Brand in ABM

Account-based marketing presupposes that leads are not the goal of the program. After all, it’s not called lead-based marketing. Rather than hoping someone fills out a form, modern go-to-market teams today focus on creating awareness and traffic. This translates into signals (engagement data, intent data, etc.) that outbound and sales teams can then use to understand and prioritize their accounts as they progress to revenue opportunities. So if awareness and traffic is the goal, what’s the strategy? Brand.

As a reformed B2B demand gen marketer myself, I know how that might sound questionable. You need to be measured on numbers, and brand is notoriously unquantifiable. Our CEO (and a former badass CMO), Tim Kopp, explained how brand drives demand on an episode of The Roof.

The Power of Brand

If you didn’t watch the video, here’s the key sentence: “Think about the biggest traffic days on your website. It wasn’t advertising, it was a big announcement, product enhancement, etc.” Creating a magnetic brand is so much more important than just raw lead generation.

Are you supposed to give up leads? If we’re talking about leads as raw marketing performance, then yes, absolutely, get rid of ‘em. If we’re talking about leads as qualified inbound requests who know what you’re about and need help making a buying decision, then no. Here’s the thing though: If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably not a highly transactional, product-led solution that would benefit from a coordinated go-to-market strategy. 

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brand awareness, content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, ABM, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, ABM Campaigns, Brand

Leveraging the authority of LinkedIn influencers for B2B

Most B2B marketers immediately dismiss influencer marketing as a vacuous activity only undertaken by their B2C counterparts to sell pretty packaging through anxiety-riddled models in between a morning green tea cleanse product post and a beach sunset photo.

It is far more complex and nuanced of a subject.

For B2B enterprises, the decision to employ influencer marketing comes down to a few key questions:

  1. Which influencer type is ideal?
  2. What KPI is the influencer being measured against?
  3. Which channel makes the most sense for this campaign?
  4. How does an enterprise go about creating and managing an effective influencer campaign based on the above?

To keep this discussion brief, influencers can generally be classified into three categorical buckets: aspirational, authoritative, and peer. As a definition, the aspirational influencer is a celebrity type, often with a large following, aspirational influencers are what most think of when visualizing what an influencer might look like.

The peer influencer, by contrast, is the everyday dad stopping at the grocery store on the way home from the office, your fishing enthusiast uncle on Facebook, or you to your next-door neighbor.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, marketing leaders, influencer marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Conversions, Conversion Rate

The death of third-party cookies is inevitable, the death of effective digital advertising is not

Google’s update on 3 March on third-party cookies didn’t come as a huge surprise to many, but it has sent shockwaves through the advertising community.

Google had already announced it was removing support for third-party cookies in Chrome as of 2022, but it has now confirmed it will not build or integrate other forms of identifiers to track individuals browsing the web.

Why is this big news for the online advertising industry?

There have been several ID solutions that have emerged with some driving decent adoption. However, this latest announcement creates a big question mark around such solutions in the long term. Unsurprisingly, many commentators have argued that Google is using consumer privacy as a lever to further raise their walls and protect their position from the competition.

Irrespective of whether people agree with this, it means that in the long run advertisers will have bigger issues deciding which solutions and technologies to adopt, and most crucially whether those solutions will provide scale – especially in markets outside the United States. So where does this leave advertisers?

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B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, Marketing 2021, Thirt-party Cookies, Google, Browser Cookies, Ads Tracking

Where Does Thought Leadership Marketing Fit In Each Stage Of The TOFU, MOFU And BOFU Models?

Thought leaders challenge barriers and conventional wisdom. Some are influencers, others are tech leaders with a portfolio of successful innovations. So how can you become a thought leader, keep building credibility and provide value to your audience wherever they are in the marketing funnel?

Here, I share the best types of thought leadership content to use at the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU).

What are the benefits of thought leadership marketing?

Thought leadership positions your company, product or brand as an authority within the specific market segment you compete in. In my experience, a thought leadership marketing program will elevate your brand's profile, leading to more sales and increased influence in the market. You'll also uncover new opportunities as your profile grows. An additional benefit is greater pricing power. Edelman's 2019 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study revealed that 60% of C-suite executives are willing to pay a premium rate for a product or service from a company that has thought leadership as part of their philosophy.

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marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Thought Leadership, Sales funnel

B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is

It’s a common refrain: “We’re a B2B company. We can’t do the same things those B2C funsters get up to.” Another good one is, “Our product/industry/niche is just too serious and boring for content marketing.”

But it’s also worth pointing out that shedloads of content are published every day for which “boring” might be a polite description (“predictable” and “unnecessary” would be others.) I regularly come across reports, white papers, and articles that would require me to stab myself repeatedly in the leg with a fork simply to stay awake beyond the opening paragraphs.

I’m sure the marketers publishing this content wouldn’t say it’s boring. Perhaps they don’t always realize it is. Perhaps internal feedback convinced them the world really is desperate for an academic thesis on interlocking flanges … or something. Perhaps, as can be the case in B2B, the content was written to satisfy an internal audience – a C-suite eager for the brand to appear smarter than the competition on everything to do with flanges.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing Plan, B2B strategy

Lead Conversion Statistics All B2B Marketers Need to Know

B2B marketing is complex with a myriad of tactics, technologies, and data solutions to choose from to promote your business and sell your products and services.

As complex as modern B2B marketing is, it is also as simple as:

  • How do I attract people to my products and services
  • How do I convert those people to purchase?

Ascend2, in partnership with Verse, surveyed 277 marketing professionals to learn more about the state of lead conversion.

If you find that lead conversion is difficult, you are not alone. The State of Lead Conversion in Marketing and Sales found that only 12% of marketing professionals are very satisfied with their lead conversion abilities.

Companies continue to struggle with establishing contact, qualifying, and effectively following up with the leads they spend so much time and money to generate. Lead conversion is challenging, but the inability to improve lead conversion rates has several significant, negative downstream impacts: wasted marketing budget, wasted sales team time, and significant lost revenue opportunity.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, marketing leaders, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Conversions, Conversion Rate

What B2B Marketing Leaders Are Measuring: Five Key Takeaways

  • Our 2020 Metrics Study looked at the metrics included on the leadership dashboards used by B2B marketing leaders to express performance
  • The selections of metrics provides a deep view into the areas of performance B2B marketing leaders are prioritizing
  • Differences seen between high- and low-growth organizations provide a view into how successful companies focus their performance measurement

Are you curious about what marketing leaders across B2B are measuring these days? How does it compare with what your organization is measuring? We’ve recently completed our 2020 Metrics Study and have some answers.

The study looked at the metrics B2B leaders use to manage performance. Instead of asking leaders their opinions on which metrics they feel are most important or have available should the need arise, we simply asked worldwide B2B leaders which metrics appear on their company’s top-level dashboards. I’ll focus on the data we gathered on top-level marketing dashboards, often referred to as the CMO dashboard.

I’ll focus on the data we gathered on top-level marketing dashboards, often referred to as the CMO dashboard. The findings tell us some critical things about the state of B2B marketing today:

  • Leadership attention is precious. Although the potential for marketing to make an impact may feel limitless, the attention of executive audiences has its limits. On average, marketing leadership dashboards present eight metrics for consistent review. 
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marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, CMO, marketing leaders, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021

In B2B Marketing, Personalization and Relevancy Must be the Same

Remember back in 2010 when you got your first email from a brand that knew your first name automatically and it gave you all the feels? I still remember my first “Hello Randy!” marketing email. It felt so personal, didn’t it?

But then, as with everything cool and new, it quickly became the norm. We figured out merge fields, the magic was revealed and those initial “ooh” and “ahh” sensations we first felt left us in a hurry. Fast-forward to today, and personalization is still a key goal in marketing. It could even be argued that it’s grown in importance, as data has become more accessible and actionable.

But… do you really understand personalization? What if I told you that relevancy is actually at the heart of the personalization you need today in your marketing? It’s true, and here’s why:

Merge Text Fields are the Bare Minimum

First, don’t get me wrong. I have zero beef with merge fields and it’s still cool to log in to my Netflix account, for example, and see that familiar salutation with my name on the screen. But it’s what comes after the hello that can make me feel like the VIP of customers and, even more importantly, provide me with real value.

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content marketing culture, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, CMO, marketing leaders, personalization, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Marketing Trends 2021, Content Relevancy, Merge Text Fields

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