Growth hacking, micro moments, conversation marketing; all content marketing buzz words that have been buzzing around this year. In fact Contently have put together a list of some of the worst! Is account-based marketing (ABM) a concept that will stick and be adopted by SMEs, or is it likely to be forgotten by 2017?
What is Account-based Marketing?
Often used by B2B firms, account-based marketing brings together sales and marketing focus to a clearly defined set of target accounts. Instead of casting the net wide open and trying to appeal to as my companies as possible ABM is about working in detail on a small number of core clients.
So if you image the traditional sales funnel, built very wide at the top to attract as many prospects as possible and then narrowing to filter through the process. This technique is out with account-based marketing, and instead marketers will cherry pick the brands and organisations that make the most sense to them. Building a relationship and a strategy to work with these organisations means those accounts are getting dedicated time and resource, and also that campaigns and strategies are particularly personalised.
This chart from eMarketer shows that the majority of firms are considering incorporating an account-based marketing approach. The fact is that the idea has been around for years, whether labelled with this title or not. It is the advance in technology that has allowed marketers to identify these core accounts more easily and accurately in recent years.
What are the Benefits?
Clear ROI – Marketo point out that compared to other marketing initiatives, the 2014 ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey found that “ABM delivers the highest Return on Investment of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.
Reduced Waste – resource and time are both saved because the focus is on the key accounts and marketing is specifically optimised for them.
Personal and Optimised – key accounts are getting all the limelight. With account-based marketing you’re putting all of your energy and expertise into them. This also makes for much better measurement and goal tracking.
What Channels Work for Account-based Marketing?
Email is understandably the first choice for targeting these core accounts. Although content creation is further down the list, it still plays an important role in the earlier stages of the relationship building process. Sales and marketing teams need to work together closely to successfully implement account-based marketing – and the messages that the marketing team put out there should be followed up by account-based nurturing from the sales team.
There are specialist CRM systems specifically for account-based marketing, and many of the more general systems now also allow for and support you with an ABM technique. However, for a smaller business not ready to invest in expensive software, this account-based marketing idea can still be adopted into your new business marketing strategy. To sum up, it seems this buzz word actually represents a credible sales and marketing strategy that has in some form been around for a while. It’s only now that organisations are putting more emphasis on it and really recognising.