An account based marketing (ABM) approach allows marketing and sales to combine their efforts to target the highest-value accounts and create customized content.
Some devoted segmenting and analysis make it easy to identify high-value accounts, and different types of data allow for the development of Ideal Customer Profiles. But what does it mean to have high-value marketing content that reaches out well while still being as personalized as ABM requires?
Typical marketing content seeks to attract the most prospects as possible over a certain amount of time. However, a 2014 study revealed that 50% of marketing leads aren’t actually followed up by sales. Sirius Decisions and DemandBase found that using such a wide content funnel results in incredible “marketing waste.”
Essentially, striving to reach the most possible people with the most material in the shortest amount of time ironically results in the waste of money, material, and time. That’s certainly not high-value. High-value content is relevant to your specific, ideal targets. ABM strategy allows you to identify those targets and cater your content to them. It’s a more ergonomic use of resources.
High-value should also be defined in terms of value to the prospect, not just what it saves your company. Information Technology Marketing Association (ITSMA) research reveals that 75% of executives will read unsolicited marketing materials if they happen to be relevant to their business. Logically, this just makes sense, like how I’ll keep the coupons that show up in my mailbox if they’re for items I’d actually buy.
One way that we exercise this concept every day is with our pets. My dog Moose will pay attention if you offer him carrots for his trouble. But if I really want to persuade him, the best incentive is some plain chicken. Real meat is a high-value treat for most dogs, yet what is high-value to one dog may not tempt another dog. Some pups go wild for cheese or even canned peas. The value of the treat, by and large, can actually depend on the dog.
High-value doesn’t mean expensive, and it doesn’t even mean farthest reaching. In an ABM strategy, high-value means specially customized content relevant to that account. Once we’ve reached this understanding of high-value, developing well-suited content becomes a natural part of the process.
Know Thy Accounts
Knowing your accounts and their stakeholders well is essential for thoroughly personalized content. If you’re implementing ABM, before generating content you should have already developed your Ideal Customer Profile. The data from that should be your starting point.
While the ICP helps you identify and segment your most valuable accounts, and target new ones, you will need more specific information on those accounts to create the best-personalized content. This means keeping an eye on your regular interactions with target accounts, as well as their annual reports and even social media, to identify their particular interests and pain points.
Survey Current Content
Fortunately, customizing ABM content doesn’t mean that you have to start from scratch. After all, with limited resources, it’s not possible to generate entirely new content for each individual client.
Once you know your accounts’ pain-points and habits, you can survey the content that you already use for the most relevant pieces. This phase of content creation is often known as a content audit. Sort through your content and consider its place on the customization spectrum, anywhere from “100% personalized” to “general content but still relevant.”
The chances are that when you audit your current marketing content, you’ll find you already have what you need to construct a personalized approach right before your eyes.
Fill In the Gaps
Once you’ve determined where your relevant content lies on the customization spectrum, you can fill in the gaps to create a more thorough and targeted strategy. Even broad content--as long as it is still of high-value relevance--can be catered to those selected accounts.
Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio, encourages that “you can turn a relevant but broad piece of content into a super-relevant piece with some simple tweaks.” This can be as simple as adding a more targeted subtitle, or as complex as threading in analogies and references relevant to the account’s industry.
The goal is to fill in the gaps of content that you already have so that you’re avoiding any excessive marketing waste and saving your team time and money while still providing quality content.
A few tweaks to the headline and key paragraphs can take a piece of content from a general audience to being for a specific industry.
You Don’t Have to Reach Far for High-Value
High-value accounts can initially seem intimidating, as can the process of creating content that will truly be high-value to them. The good news is that incredibly customized content for these accounts is not out of your reach. In fact, you probably have basic materials right in front of you. Take stock of your resources, and with the help of your ICP, construct your content wisely.