Before you know your audience

65-90% of the buying process happens before a prospect even raises their hand. Before they request a demo. Before they download a whitepaper. Before you even know they exist.

How do you possibly help a prospect through this large portion of the buying process before having any detailed information?

Through engaging and informative content, that’s how.

No pressure marketers and copywriters. It’s not like 65-90% of your next prospect’s decision is on your shoulders or anything… eep.

Okay, so engaging and informative content – no biggie, right? But how do you determine if your content meets this criteria? Who does it have to engage and inform? There’s a good chance that the best message for Audience A isn’t the best message for Audience B. And that’s where targeted content comes in, or so says Avanish Sahai, Chief Product Officer at Demandbase.

Targeted Content in a B2B World

In the B2B world, targeting your website copy to Susie in sales or Matt in marketing only gets you so far … until you realise that they aren’t the only ones involved in the buying decision. As we learned from Avanish Sahai during his account based marketing breakout session (full video at the end!) at the Ignite Video Marketing Conference last week:

B2B Buying Decisions

We’re not marketing to one person in B2B, we’re marketing to a committee. Better yet, where this committee used to be only 2-3 people, it’s starting to grow significantly. It’s not unusual for a buying committee to include up to 20 people today.

Does anyone else find the concept of tailoring content to 20 different people before you know who they are or what their role is in the business a little daunting?

Okay, phew! … Oh, hello there, account based marketing.

Account Based Marketing Might Just Save the Day

Account based marketing (ABM) is a B2B targeting strategy that focuses on those accounts most likely to generate revenue.

Account Based Marketing

ABM gets us away from targeting unique personas as individuals within a company and towards unique, high-yield clients as a whole. Some common attributes used to categorize accounts are:

  • industry/vertical
  • company size
  • company name
  • account status

The implementation of ABM requires a shift in thinking from a one-size fits all advertising approach to a highly targeted, unique user experience on an account-to-account basis. Extremely targeted advertising is used to drive visitors to your site where they will see similarly targeted content.

Just think of it like this:

Oracle is a targeted prospect of yours. When either Susie from Sales or Frank from Finance clicks on a targeted ad and comes to your site, they will see a customized greeting. But Susie and Frank will see the same greeting, since they work for the same company. And if Matt from Marketing stopped by, he’d also receive the same message. They might also read copy targeted at their enterprise status, as opposed to small business messaging (which may, by the way, exist on another microsite for your targeted small business accounts). They might also see unique images tied to their specific industry.

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Today’s technologies allow marketers to identify accounts/companies that visitors belong to through IP tracking. So while marketing automation uses cookies to track individual viewers, ABM uses IP addresses to track accounts.

How Does ABM Apply to You?

More tailored experiences mean more relevant information for each of your high-yielding accounts and a greater likelihood that they’ll (a) find the information they’re looking for and (b) make it through the first portion of the buying cycle on their own and contact your team where you can then nurture and convert them until your heart’s content.

Best Practices for Implementation

The customized content journey can happen through your:

  • microsite,Content Journey
  • landing pages,
  • images, or
  • calls-to-action.

Avanish recommends approaching your ABM with a strategic approach, following four best practices:

  1. Identify Business Objectives: specify your reasoning for implementing ABM and your related goals.
  2. Leverage Existing Content: tailor content you’ve already created, there’s no need to go all the way back to the drawing board!
  3. Target Quick Wins: start with small, manageable, and measurable options.
  4. Measure, Rinse, and Repeat: iterate constantly to improve both your content and your targeting techniques.

So…Does it Work?

We know – the concept sounds great, but until you hear some solid numbers and results, you’re not sold. So get this: Strongview, a customer of Demandbase and avid account based marketers, combined targeted ads with customized content to achieve some pretty eye-opening results. Most notably:

  • 42% lift in website traffic;
  • 29% conversion from inactive accounts;
  • 20x increase in time spent on website; and
  • 42% increase in target account engagement.

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If that doesn’t pique your interest, I’m not sure what will! Or wait … maybe a visually stimulative, moving image, sound producing asset will…like a video! Lucky for you, we just so happen to have one of those. Learn more about ABM or dive into unique case studies and the effective use of ABM from Avanish’s breakout session at Ignite below.

Kimbe MacMaster