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Turn your marketing off. See if anyone notices.

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Months of work. Tens of people. Key narratives worked up. Value propositions written. Tactics built. Assets created. All ready for a big bang.

But all you get is a whimper.

We’re doing a lot of marketing. But it’s spread too thin and lacking impact. Rather than shouting at the masses, more and more of us are recognising to actually stand out we need to market one-to-one.

Which is why we’re all turning to account-based marketing (ABM). Or are we?

ABM? Or something that looks like ABM?

63% of marketers surveyed by B2B Marketing rate ABM as important or very important to their marketing efforts. As if by magic, every digital marketing tool, advertising or marketing automation platform now says it is doing ABM.

It’s not.

A personalised landing page or e-mail with my name on it isn’t ABM, far from it. Real ABM solves real problems for real people based on real insights. This is what it arms both sales and marketing with, so they can earn long-term relationships with clients. This and only this is strategic ABM. And 92% of ABM practitioners say strategic ABM gets the highest ROI (Bev Burgess, ‘The Practitioner’s Guide to Account Based Marketing’).

The challenge is to achieve strategic ABM. And then to do it at scale – without diluting it.

Intelligence first, marketing later

The answer is account based intelligence (ABI). This is the data and information that helps you focus your efforts on the accounts that will respond best to your marketing.

To generate it, you need to go through three steps:

  1. Identify intent among your prospects (like predictive analytics and intent data partners like Cyance, Bombora etc)
  2. Factor in insights from your marketing and sales (like your Marketing Automation platform or CRM system)
  3. Factor in insights from external sources (like RSS feeds, social listening, publisher partners)

You can then build a go-to account plan that cuts waste and generates genuine cut through.

Real ABM, in the wild

We’re keeping ABM pure for one of our tech-giant-clients right now. To see how, take a look at the diagram below. Using the intel from the three sources I’ve listed above, we were able to find some deep level insight on our target account. It’s a living example of how intelligence leads to a strategic approach and relevant messages for the right people.

This approach is a novel format for fostering impactful sales conversations. But it involves very little new information.

And that’s the stupid thing. Most of the intelligence we need is already in our possession. It’s in our CRM systems, our automation programs, and our sales and marketing teams. We just need to bring it together.

So, what is ABI (Account Based Intelligence) to you in your ABM program? I’d love to know what you think in the comments section below 🙂

Matt Laybourn

About the author

Matt is our Head of Performance Marketing working across both our planning and digital marketing teams here at DirectionGroup. Originally from a B2C background where he founded and ran an e-commerce business. Matt leads our ABM and digital marketing programs across multiple accounts.

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