Account-Based Marketing is 2019: Updated

Reuben Chen
17 May 2019

There has never been a more important time to embark on Account-Based Marketing (ABM) than today. Especially if you are one of those B2B companies whose marketing campaigns constantly yield high impression counts but low Click-Through-Rates (CTR).

Why? Everyone has been overwhelmed by a myriad of advertisements, and it’s hard to cut through the chatter. Which is why the relationship-building approach in ABM is particularly effective when connecting with decision makers in companies. So, here’s our updated brief guide on this marketing tactic.

What is ABM?

ABM Shotgun And Sniper

ABM is a business-to-business (B2B) tactic that focuses your sales and marketing efforts on specific high-value accounts.

Fundamentally, it is an outbound marketing strategy, except it has a laser-like focus and sniper-gun approach. Your entire marketing campaign (creatives, messages and content) are customised for a handful of accounts that you have identified as key.

A helpful analogy: Think about a scatter-shotgun, and a sniper rifle. Your goal is to hit the bullseye.

The shotgun: It is the easiest option. Pick up the gun, aim in the general direction of your target, and fire. Multiple pellets will fly towards the target board. You’d think at least one will hit the bullseye, but most of the time, none will.

Then there’s the sniper rifle. This is much harder to use as it requires more know-how. How to configure the scope, account for other elements like the wind, and pull the trigger with as little motion as possible. However, you have an extremely high chance of hitting the bullseye.

The shotgun approach is what most marketers are using today. They blast very generic messages at a poorly-defined audience and pray for some quality leads. Reality is, companies rarely get quality leads with such tactics, because consumers are now really savvy.

A study by the International Data Group (IDG): 61% of marketers said generating high-quality leads was a problem for their company.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the sniper rifle. It requires marketers to really know their small group of prospects and create personalised marketing. Results? Lower quantities, but higher quality of leads.

Read: The difference between Account-Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing

When did ABM start?

Account-Based Marketing originated in the 1990s, when firms started to recognise the need for more personalised advertising, and authors (such as Don Peppers and Martha Rogers) predicted the shift from mass marketing to one-to-one marketing. Some B2B companies even began applying ABM concepts in response. However, the expression "account-based advertising" was only introduced in 2004 by ITSMA.

Why should I bother about ABM?

If you are interested in streamlining your marketing campaigns and attaining leads that are likely to convert, ABM is for you. Here are some more reasons why:

1)    Increase your Return On Investment (ROI)

a)    A recent survey conducted by ITSMA in 2018 revealed that 77% of the ABM marketers surveyed achieved 10% or greater ROI with 45% more than doubling their ROI. Statistics, both past and present, continue to shine favourably on ABM.

2)    Make your every ad dollar count

a)    In ABM, your marketing campaigns are tailored to the needs and wants of your targets. The attention shows your prospects that you genuinely want to help them and make them feel valued. A survey conducted by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) found that customers who saw content highly relevant to their needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier.

3)    Better Customer Experience

a)    Have you ever been annoyed by ads that don’t relate with you? ABM will reduce such occurrences. Research conducted by MarketingProf revealed that 75% of customers prefer personalised offers. Yes, your customer experience begins your promotion efforts.


How do I embark on ABM and become successful at it?

Winning at ABM

At Construct Digital, we have a 4-step guide for our ABM campaigns.

Step 1) Build A Target List

Get your sales and marketing team to work together to define, identify and agree on your dream clients. Do they need your product? Can they afford it?

Once that is answered, decide on specific departments in an organisation that your product is most suitable for. Is it logistics, procurement or finance?

Lastly, narrow it down further to the job roles that you want to target - designations that are likely to influence purchase decisions. Directors? Senior managers? Use tools like LinkedIn’s company and job function filters, Facebook’s audience insights and existing client databases to build your target list.

Read: How To Identify Target Accounts For ABM in APAC

Step 2) Audience Segmentation

From that target list that you have built, segment the companies and corresponding personnel into different accounts. The first segment can be accounts that have never purchased your product. The second can be accounts that showed interest in your product but did not convert. The last can be accounts that have bought from you but are due for renewal.

Step 3) Orchestrate An Action Plan

Now that you have specific targets, build a detailed game plan. Identify the most suitable digital channels to reach them. After that, craft relatable content that is appropriate for the platform(s). Interactions such as curated emails, social media posts, website landing pages and product recommendations based on account preferences and behaviours.

Step 4) Execute - Measure - Analyse - Optimise

Optimisation is an ongoing process. You have to continuously monitor your ABM campaigns as they run. Track your preidentified key metrics in detail and tweak your campaigns for greater results.

Metrics to take note of:

-       Click-Through-Rate

-       Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

-       Marketing ROI (Check out our tool which can help you calculate it)

-       Landing Page conversion rates

Elements that you should review to boost results:

-       Web Pages UX/UI

-       Landing pages UX/UI

-       Targeting Parameters

-       Ad specifications

-       Ad placement

-       Creatives (Design)

-       Copy (Messaging)

In short, ABM is all about quality outreach. Think about accounts that you really wish to attain. Do you want them to know about you from flyers that you are distributing outside a train station? Or from giving them VIP treatment by rolling the red carpet out for them?

Cut through the chatter and start creating highly effective marketing campaigns with ABM today.

More insights
Modern websites need modern browsers

To enjoy the full experience, please upgrade your browser

Try this one