Evolve Beyond Demand Generation To Account Based Marketing

Technology is driving innovation in the world of marketing at a rapid pace. The traditional demand generation marketing perspective is being slowly replaced by Account Based Marketing (ABM), thanks to many of these technological innovations. ABM is the next step in multichannel marketing. So before we can understand where we are going, let’s review where we have been in marketing.

Demand Generation: What Before Who

Demand generation is what it sounds like. Traditional marketing aims at generating demand for your products of services. Typically marketers would devise what to say (special offer), where to say it (channel), and who to say it to (segments). In the worlds of hospitality and wine, this was our standard operating procedure. We devise special pricing to be advertised/published in a specific place for a specific, targeted audience.

This approach worked fairly well in the past. Casting a wide net with an offer-based value proposition was go-to strategy to generate demand from an intended best audience. Technology and digital marketing were not capable of providing strategic personalized marketing or sales, which is now the case. Today, consumers expect an omnichannel, personalized experience. Offers alone no longer effectively establishes perceived value. Consumers want a relationship with a brand. Content now reigns supreme as the means to enhance brand value and affinity. Thus the rise of “inbound marketing.” As the TMRW Engine Digital Insights Report points out, as brand engagements increase, customer lifetime value increases as well. Simply generating demand through online advertisements, social media posts, or emails alone no longer gains traction.

Account Based Marketing (ABM): Who Before What

Digital Marketing technology is allowing for greater marketing efficiency through Account Based Marketing. ABM aims to devise who to reach (accounts), what to say (content), and where to say it (channels) rather than what (offer), where (channel), and who (segment) demand generation. By starting with the “who” rather than “what,” ABM provides a strategic approach to customized marketing and sales that creates or deepens engagement with specific accounts. Once your brand identifies the “who” to target, content is created to market to those accounts on specific channels.

Account Selection: Choosing Your Who

Since “who” is the focal point of ABM, determining your targeted accounts (aka audience or customers) is the first step. There are several ways to go about account selection. Analyzing your in-house data is a great starting point. With your data, try to identify current accounts that:

1. you effectively sold to in the past;

2. have proven profitability;

3. play to your brand’s strengths;

4. most align with your brand’s characteristics;

5. show increasing value.

With this information, you can create a profile of your ideal account, seek accounts that fit your profile, and finally create marketing content on relevant channels designed for those target accounts.

Additionally, digital marketing technological developments, such as predictive marketing technologies, are fueling many agencies and organizations transitioning to ABM. Such technologies, like Everstring, analyzes many data signals to determine the right accounts, or customers, for your product or service. These enterprise level technologies can provide the most relevant account targets for your business. Predictive marketing technologies are still young, but evolving quickly. The technology is positioned to increase in its sophistication and proliferation in digital marketing over the coming years.

Marketing in the digital space is quickly evolving as the promise of “big data” is actualized. To remain competitive in today’s economy for many businesses requires more than simply a website, social media presence, or email marketing program. Consumers are building relationships with brands and those relationships are driving lifetime value. In this new marketing paradigm, ABM is the logical next-step in multichannel marketing. Traditional demand generation does not utilize the wealth of what digital marketing offers today. Organizations that do will outperform those that do not. It’s time to evolve even further.

Originally published at ellissiemdynamics.com on May 17, 2016.