The term Digital ABM might have picked up momentum recently but that doesn’t mean it is a new concept by anyway. Account Based Marketing has been around the marketing industry for more than a century although it wasn’t as popular back then. Companies have realized the importance of inducing an account-centric strategy, for years, and therefore they have focused their efforts on attracting target accounts have high financial or strategic value.
What’s new in Digital ABM then?
- The field of playing has become largely digital. Those days are long gone where face-to-face meetings and cold-calling were the only options of marketing.
- Marketers have the opportunity to target the right people and engage with them directly from the key accounts that they have zeroed down. This was possible even earlier in the sales cycle.
Quick Refresher: Target Accounts that Matter
Before we start discussing the digital transformation of ABM, let us first take a quick peek into ABM for everyone who is less or not familiar with the concept. To be honest marketing strategies usually focus on reaching out and engaging a broad set of audience. Therefore, marketers typically try and generate as many leads as possible and afterward they focus on qualifying them.
Account based marketing turns this approach around and encourages you to map out a strategic account first that you need to target and then pursue these accounts using personalized content and tailored campaigns. This is more like differentiating between broad reach marketing and specific and focused.
Evolution of ABM
The sales and marketing team of every organization try and target lucrative businesses since the first day. ABM has taken root in the business since the 1990s when the companies realized that they need to shift their focus from mass marketing and move towards campaigns that are customized and target specific individual customers.
In those times it was almost impossible to engage the prospect at the very beginning of the buyer’s journey. Say, for example, you will never know if an important decision maker from a finance company read an article that referenced your company in a business magazine or he received a brochure of your business from one of his friends. You really didn’t have technology at that time put in place to capitalize on the interest that was expressed or even know when the interest was being built. Businesses didn’t have a website that the customer could visit and if there was it most likely didn’t have enough content.
Also Read: What, How and Why of ABM Automation
At that point, companies would hope that the prospects would approach them. The account based marketing in the 90s included only a few options like cold-calling, industry events, direct mail and face-to-face meetings, used mostly for the purpose of sales and not marketing. And even though these activities are still valid today, they have become more relevant for pursuing even at the later stages of the marketing and sales funnel. Someone who is early in the interest or awareness phase is most likely to not engage in such activities.
However, most recently, with the introduction of the Digital ABM, a new phase of the account based marketing tactics has emerged. Nowadays, marketers have the ability to determine where the prospect of his company is from at the very first touch point, be it their website, blog or advertisements. Marketers can thus use this information and nurture their interest in real-time and use the content that they think is most relevant to the customers.
Use Digital ABM
The ABM concept and all that we know about it today began catching only in the 2000s due to the rise in content marketing and demand generation. And the shift that took place in the marketing trends came together with another important change – the start of research of products online.
Businesses have begun spending maximum time in leveraging their digital channels like blogs, websites, and videos for educating visitors who are interested in independently learning about their products/services. Nowadays business buyers do some form of research online before making a decision and the majority of them are checking the company’s website rather than using Google search to learn more about the product.
This rise in online research has resulted in ABM to evolve and transform into the digital form. Marketers are able to implement personalized, real-time engagement with accounts even in the early awareness phase due to this evolution. To be able to engage with the customers as early as the awareness stage is a priceless experience for your business. Personalization in real-time can help your business to identify particular individuals who belong to the target accounts and then you can engage them effectively by showing the most relevant messages, content and visuals to convert them and alert the sales teams.
Contradictory to early days of account based marketing, today, even when a prospect has never filled a form and is anonymous and neither has he visited your website, you can still know his details on the basis of reverse IP data. You can then target them with the right campaigns. Once they click through and land on your website, you can check which channels or ads they have come from and then use that information to continue offering them the content that interested them.
ABM in the Future
The very important fact that the research on different digital channels is conducted by the decision makers of the company has proven to be a blessing for all the B2B marketers using ABM strategy. This not only increases the number of choices you have to connect with the prospects from the strategic accounts but also enables us to engage them from the very beginning of the journey.
Earlier, ABM was considered only for outbound sales tactic and they had no way to track the interest of the prospects. They usually relied on disruptive ways for reaching the audiences.
Now, with the Digital ABM, you can build a bridge between the marketing and sales department and target the promising prospects with more accurate messages instead of the traditional content.