Account-based marketing is an effective, yet elaborate, method for winning over B2B customers. The requirements for such personalised marketing content and its advantages are explained here.
Account-based marketing: what is it?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is when companies focus their marketing measures on specific targeted customers who they then personally address within a marketing campaign. Unlike inbound marketing, which is based on cookies, ABM leverages the IP addresses of potential customers thanks to a special software solution.
Each customer is treated like their own market. This takes place through the broadcasting of tailored advertising messages, through personalised content and through a customised customer experience. The goal: to avoid the high level of scatter loss that comes with mass marketing.
Account-based marketing for B2B companies is already well advanced
There is no doubt among marketers about the potential of ABM; only in the best way to implement it do we see differences of opinion. According to a recent survey by Rakuten Marketing, the marketing managers questioned estimate that only 43 per cent of advertising campaigns contain personalised content.
In the context of the B2B segment, ABM seems to be quite far along: two-thirds of B2B companies questioned within the scope of the B2B E-Commerce Konjunkturindex already use personalised marketing at the moment. The measures are first and foremost separated according to company and not to individual persons. And this has apparently been successful: nearly 70 per cent believe their personalisation measures have had a high influence on the conversion rate of their online shop.
But what precisely is personalised? The study also provides answers to this question. The standard already includes:
- Personalised customer communication
- Personalised prices and discounts
- Personalised services and products
Personalised designs and information, for instance the advertising of a newsletter for non-subscribers, play just a secondary role at the moment.
Requirements of account-based marketing
In the B2B segment, the number of potential business customers is extremely limited and fiercely fought after. Which is why it is important to minimise scatter loss and target the right recipient as precisely as possible. This requires a certain amount of preparation:
- ABM requires a marketing automation software. Without such technology, an extremely high degree of effort would be needed to broadcast relevant content for each individual customer at the right time and to manage the communication.
- Likewise, a list of companies is required who should be addressed with your products or services. The targets can, for instance, be clustered according to certain characteristics such as industry and size of company, or the number and kind of contact persons.
- The generation of buyer personas is helpful; in other words, personality profiles of the ideal, typical company customer who is fictitious. They help to define relevant decision-maker groups within the organisation. Only once you have this knowledge is it possible to optimally set up an account-based marketing campaign
- Once the targets are defined, you need a content strategy. The content must be tailored to the needs and respective knowledge of the addressee. Only relevant information animates the recipient of the marketing message to get in touch with the advertiser.
Advantages of account-based marketing
If all the requirements are met, ABM offers many decisive advantages:
- Financial and personnel resources are efficiently deployed and scatter loss minimised.
- Potential high-value customers enjoy a customised customer experience.
- The target can be personally addressed, even without any previous contact – cookies, which are criticised by data protection officers, don’t play a role.
- Successful ABM is often more valuable than any small deals via standard lead generation.
- Success can be measured more effectively, as the return on investment (ROI) can be more clearly determined.
Best Practice: Account-based marketing
The IT service provider IT-HAUS, in collaboration with the Munich-based consulting and full-service agency Evernine, developed an account-based marketing campaign which was extremely successful. They were able to generate a registration of around 40 per cent from the 50 companies addressed, which were determined to be potential participants for a digital trade show. More than 90 per cent became aware of the company in some way through the communication. The costs of the campaign totalled just a four-digit euro sum.
Initially, IT-HAUS generated a list of accounts with upper mid-sized enterprises, which the agency then supplemented with additional names. For this rather homogeneous selection of companies, the matching content was produced – for each individual cycle of interest that a potential customer experiences along the customer journey. This ranged from grabbing attention to concrete options for trade show registrations.
The content was published on various paid-content platforms, as well as on LinkedIn, XING and Facebook in a second wave. Thanks to the use of geofencing, the ads were broadcast in part particularly in those areas where the advertising companies are headquartered. The agency tracked the reactions to the campaign in real time so that it could be monitored at any time which companies were already activated, which found their way to the previously created landing pages, and which required a follow-up ad broadcasting.
For their innovative campaign concept involving account-based marketing, the Evernine Group won the Stevie Award in gold in the category “Communications or PR Campaign / PR Programme of the Year – Marketing – Business to Business”.