Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hot industry topic.
ABM is the practice of narrowly focusing your marketing efforts on just a few key accounts, rather than your total addressable market. And instead of using one message and hoping it’ll resonate with those key targets, marketers take a more personal approach with ABM. They’ll customize each message to ensure that it directly relates to the person and company on the receiving end.
Though ABM has been around for more than a decade, Forrester predicted that 2017 would be the year that B2B marketers doubled down on ABM. Thirty-seven percent of marketers said that improving customer experience was a top priority. ABM tactics are a growing way to focus on the customer, from the marketing nurture process through the sales cycle and beyond.
For content marketers, ABM feels like a natural fit. We also take a customer-first approach. We strive to deliver people value at every interaction through content. And, we’re not trying to reach a mass audience. Our efforts go into reaching our target audience and building relationships with them – because they’re likeliest to become customers.
So it makes sense that many content marketers are using ABM tactics. Some are going all-out and launching over-the-top, grand gestures to win the attention (and hearts and dollars) of key accounts. Others are starting small, sending direct mailers with handwritten notes to contacts at target companies.
Yet, no matter the tactic, ABM won’t be successful unless organizations align around it. One potential area of tension: demand generation. These are the folks responsible not only for the handoff between marketing and sales, but also for ensuring a pipeline of qualified leads – which may fluctuate as organizations move from a traditional demand gen model to an ABM one.
Kathy Mammon, NewsCred’s Senior Director of Deman Generation, recently shared her thoughts on the topic with the digital publication ABM in Action:
A year ago, marketers learned the value of ABM and knew it was the “it” strategy to try. As ABM has continued to pick up steam, we’ve seen the role of ABM shift as priorities change.
As ABM gained momentum, traditional demand generation took a back seat. We heard how traditional demand generation is ineffective because it doesn’t align to how sales team sell to accounts, yet instead, focuses on leads. Then, ABM took off and we soon realized this strategy requires heavy resources, time, and budgets that marketing teams often don’t have.
Due to this challenge, many marketing teams are shifting to a hybrid approach of both ABM and traditional demand generation.
To execute a balanced approach, focus your most personalized and time-intensive ABM strategies on your most strategic target accounts, and then layer in ABM strategies that are more segment/persona based and focus on other target accounts. Include air cover for net-new and non-target accounts through demand generation campaigns. This approach should allow you to prioritize appropriately, optimize accordingly, and continue to drive qualified pipeline into the funnel.
To read more of Mammon’s insights and learn more about aligning demand gen and ABM, read “Experts Sound Off on the Importance of a Simpatico Relationship Between ABM + Demand Gen” on ABM in Action.
Heather Eng is NewsCred’s Executive Editor.