Marketing changes quickly. New technologies develop, get popular, and allow marketers to utilize new strategies before quickly being replaced by the next hot buzzword. At the end of the year, especially, it can be hard to preserve the bandwidth needed to learn new tools, plan new campaigns, and integrate new services into your plans for the following year. But we here at Swell Media think it's important that you do exactly that and so we put in the leg work for you.
Since Account Based Marketing (ABM) is one of the biggest things coming in 2017, we took it upon ourselves to create an easy-to-understand explanation of ABM and show how you can use it as part of your marketing initiatives in 2017. And we got some help from some ABM experts: The Wet Bandits, of Home Alone fame.
Yup, Harry and Marv are expert ABM practitioners. Below, we'll walk through Marketo's 6 Steps of Account Based Marketing using the Wet Bandits…prior experience, let's call it, as our example.
Steps 1 & 2: Discover & Define Your High Value Accounts, Identify Key Internal Players
Harry and Marv show the patience and awareness that these initial steps require. Driving around in their sketchy van, they examine the houses in their target market to get familiar with the people who live in them. You need to understand the landscape you're working within before you can put any plans in place.
Next, determine who your ideal customers are. It's important to understand them, their needs and their demographics, and what type of challenges they might present. When you're employing ABM, you'll be speaking directly to these individuals, so it's important to understand what makes them tick. For Harry and Marv, that means figuring out exactly who lives in these houses. Beyond identifying the wealthy families and their gaudy homes, the Wet Bandits take the time to learn about their targets. They understand the family composition, the schedules, and know exactly when all of their lighting timers turn on and off. That's the type of attention to detail that you'll need for a successful ABM campaign.
And then take it one step further and identify key internal players. Harry and Marv opt for impersonating police offers to complete this step, but you can do this in more upstanding ways like researching decision makers at target organizations and syncing your email marketing client with your ABM software.
Steps 3 & 4: Personalized Messaging, Determine Optimal Channels
Not every member of your target audience can be approached the same way. If they could, we wouldn't need ABM in the first place, and there would be a lot more people in Harry and Marv's profession. But this type of work is hard, and this is where the creativity comes in.
What type of messaging will resonate with these unique members of your target audience? What initial value can you provide that will get their attention and build their trust in you? Once you have a plan in place for how you'll work towards converting each individual account, use the best channels to communicate with them, whether that is email, social media, website personalization, or phony police visits.
Working towards conversation can be difficult, and can often seem fruitless until just before a lead fills out your form or reaches out to contact you. Again, we turn to the Wet Bandits for a shiny example. In the case of their "account" that we're most familiar with, the McAllister home, they try every channel imaginable to reach their goal. If the front door is super-heated, the back steps are sheer ice, or the staircase is covered in sticky tar, think outside the box. Each entry way may present its own obstacles, but there's always a way to reach your target audience if you're a savvy ABM practitioners. And when you inevitably feel like you've found an easy access point, stay alert and optimize on the fly when you run into new obstacles.
Steps 5 & 6: Execute targeted and coordinated campaigns, Measure, Learn and Optimize
The Wet Bandits haven't exactly mastered the final steps of ABM, and as you know, it gets them into trouble. But we can still learn from them here. While they weren't as coordinated as they needed to be to convert the McAllister account, in their earlier accounts they point out a very important part of the execution process: be memorable. There's plenty of competition when it comes to ABM, and users don't want to see the same old strategies every time. It's just like Marv says after he turns on the faucet and establishes the name 'The Wet Bandits': "All the great ones leave their mark." So make your plans original and memorable.
At the very least, if you campaigns aren't coordinated they could seem like intrusions, which can overwhelm and confuse your users. Worst case scenario, they react the way Kevin does.
And of course, what holds true in the rest of your marketing efforts applies here: Measure, Learn, and Optimize. Otherwise, you'll get burned.
Finally, if it doesn't work out the first time, don't despair. Learn from your experience, because you never know if you'll run into this account again, perhaps in New York City, maybe next Christmas.