For a B2B, developing successful marketing can be quite challenging.
Marketing in B2B differs from a ‘traditional’, more common to the wide audiences B2C approach in quite a few ways:
- Focusing on creating personalized connections. Marketing starts with establishing a relationship with the target audience, and both B2B and B2C businesses do it differently. While B2C marketing mostly focuses on establishing transactional relationships, for B2B, it is important to make this connection more personalized.
- Making personalization the main goal in branding. B2C marketing considers delivering a precise and convincing message a primary goal in branding. Meanwhile, for B2B business it is important that they market their brand to the clients, with whom they establish a close relationship prior to selling the product.
- Establishing close communication with a client. B2B marketing doesn’t simplify communication with clients as B2C does. However, B2C businesses don’t have the luxury of establishing a personalized connection with every client since they have so many of them. B2B marketing involves a certain period when both a business and a customer take their time to connect before the business starts talking money.
There is one word that unites all three above-mentioned points – personalization. It is present in B2C marketing as well but to a different extent.
While B2C marketing promotes a product right away and then closes a sales deal, B2B marketing tends more to first identify and understand the buyer, and only then start engaging them through marketing, which requires a specific personalized approach.
Among many marketing strategies that allow this level of personalization, account-based marketing has proven to be the most effective.
Account-Based Marketing: Crunching the Numbers
To get the idea of the effectiveness of ABM marketing, let’s dive into some statistics. According to the research by SuperOffice:
- ABM marketing has been around for 15 years. Over this time, it has gained some credibility, especially in B2B. According to the source, 92% of B2B marketers say ABM is an integral part of their overall marketing efforts.
- 80% of B2B business owners say that account-based marketing allows them to better ally marketing and sales, which has a positive influence on both their revenue and their relationships with clients.
- High levels of personalization of account-based marketing bring the results in terms of sales in the first year of application. 60% of companies reported they experienced at least a 10% increase in revenue within the first 12 months.
It is important to note that, according to SuperOffice, businesses that practiced ABM for a long time reported an increase in average annual contract value of 171% due to high personalization opportunities that ABM offered.
Like any other marketing strategy, ABM cannot live up to its fullest potential unless it’s paired with another marketing strategy.
So, today, we will take a look at how account-based marketing can be paired with content marketing to help create content for ABM ads that you, as a B2B marketer, will use to create a personalized connection with your clients.
1. Know Your Audience Better Than You Know Yourself
Before we start talking about studying the audience to get your ABM ads right, we need to talk a bit about what the B2B sales funnel looks like.
In traditional marketing, there is a so-called reverse pyramid of approaching the buyer:
This sales funnel pyramid will look completely different in B2B:
As you can see, the sales funnel in B2B starts with building a relationship, i.e. from attracting leads, whilst B2C businesses first sell the product, and only then acquire leads.
Thus, before your ABM content strategy becomes successful, you need to thoroughly analyze, who you are building a relationship with.
For that, you need to answer four core questions that will help you understand your target audience:
- Who is your key buyer persona?
- What does this buyer persona care about?
- Where does this buyer persona consume information?
- What types of content work best for the needs of this buyer persona and fit best into the medium, through which they consume information?
When it comes to creating a buyer persona, the more precise and detailed you make it, the better. For B2B businesses, this means that you need to go as specific as the company level, the number of employees working for it, the management level of your target buyer, etc.
This information will lay the foundation of what your ABM ads content will be about.
2. Don’t Make Your Ads Too Pushy
Once you have your buyer persona clear and ready, you can start working on creating content for your ABM ads. But here’s where you shouldn’t take the sales potential of content marketing as given.
While B2B business managers like straightforwardness, they probably receive dozens of proposals similar to yours every day. Here’s where you shouldn’t neglect the opportunity of being a bit more creative.
Here’s an idea for you.
GumGum, an artificial intelligence company working with computer vision and NLP, was trying to get the attention of the top-level management at T-Mobile. They identify the ‘account’ they needed to target, who was T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
Searching for ideas, how to get the attention of the CEO, GumGum found out that he was a Batman fan. That’s how the idea of a comic book as an ad came up.
Image credit: GumGum
The book used a storytelling mode to describe the idea behind GumGum and how it helps companies around the world to bring marketing to the next level.
Needless to say, GumGum got their deal with T-Mobile, where they not only contacted the CEO but managers of lower levels. Today, they use the same comic book to attract other B2B clients as well.
This is a great idea of how content marketing can be used in ABM strategy without a product ad being too pushy. This also defies the idea that content marketing in B2B cannot be creative. You can work with an artist or collaborate with reliable writing service – outsourcing this work can also be a great way to get fresh content ideas for your ABM advertising strategy.
GumGum’s idea is also a great example of how important our previous point is – researching your target buyer persona can be a great source of content ideas.
3. Identify the Channels Where Your Potential Clients Reside
Lastly, when writing content for your ABM ads, pay attention to where you intend to place them.
A bit earlier, we talked about identifying the medium, through which your target buyer consumes information as an important part of studying your target audience.
This medium can be of different origins, from emails to social media ads, the latter being the most widespread.
If you plan on using social media to target the accounts you are interested in, make sure that your target audience actively uses this specific social media platform to learn about other businesses and products.
Here are a few important points to remember about identifying the channel that is right for your ABM advertising strategy:
- You should be able to test the channel. The channel should allow you to run an A/B test to identify channel effectiveness.
- The channel should offer enough reach. To identify that, determine your cost-per-lead first, and then run a few ads on a channel of your choice to see if it allows you to remain within your budget.
- You should be able to receive comprehensive data. The channel should provide you with clear insights on whether your ABM advertising strategy works or not.
ABM marketing usually has a good ROI, with 85% of marketers saying that it outperformed some of the marketing investments. However, the results depend on the channel that you choose for your ABM content marketing strategy that will determine the success of your efforts.
Account-based marketing and content marketing are a great tandem to use for a B2B business. They allow you to reach your buyer persona in a more creative way than a traditional social media ad would.
Besides, the level of personalization that both account-based marketing and content marketing allow is incredible. The potential for personalization that these strategies offer often helps businesses grow their revenues within the first year after applying these strategies in marketing.
However, just as with any other marketing strategy, this approach also requires you to thoroughly study your target audience, select content according to their preferences, and communicate with them through the right channel.
We encourage you to try ABM marketing yourself to see, how its high attention to personalization can bring your relationships with your clients to success.
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