ABM Strategies: One Size Does Not Fit All

Despite the uptick in recent buzz, account-based marketing (ABM) is by no means a new strategy. However, the growth of digital marketing tools and tactics has led to more variety in how to market.

When one thinks of ABM, the initial thought may be along the lines of simply scouting out new, major accounts and laser focusing marketing efforts on acquiring that business — spear fishing rather than casting a wide net. While this can be a good strategy to use at a specific point in time, one size does not fit all when it comes to ABM.

On the surface, your audience may seem as though it’s divided simply into customers and non-customers. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find that your audience is much larger — especially among your existing customer base. In fact, more success can come from marketing to this group, as existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products from your clients and are likely to spend 31 percent more than new customers.

Among your customer base, there are four groups, as follows:

Fledgling Customers

Recently won customers, or those who have been won in less than a year’s time

Mature Customers

Top-tier, longer tenured customers with whom you’ve had business relations with

Iceberg Customers

Customers with much larger business potential than is currently being realized

Dormant Customers

Accounts that have reduced their spend or have not bought for an extended period of time

 

Each of these groups can benefit from ABM, but the strategies vary among all of them — using the same strategy across all leaves room for unmet growth potential, as the messages or services you’re marketing to each are specific to their current state as customers.

Your research should guide you to understand what each of these groups need. For example, a mature customer would not need an awareness email campaign the same way a fledgling customer would.

Among your non-customer base, your audience is divided into look-alikes — high-value accounts that share similar characteristics with existing top-tier customers — and anonymous customers. This is the stage in which your “spear fishing” tactics come into play.

If, through your research, you find look-alikes, your data can help you find opportunities within these new accounts and select the right channels to reach them — Invespcro found that paid search and online display advertising ranks among the highest channels for acquisition, whereas it is used far less for retention purposes.

ABM can seem complicated, but keeping in mind there is more to it than acquisition can help yield far better business outcomes than solely focusing one landing that new “big fish.”

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