Understanding the Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
Email inboxes often act as magnets for unsolicited emails from suppliers, intent on landing their next sale. While it's easy to hit the delete key, such emails present an unwelcome distraction. When it comes to marketing, standing out in today's crowded marketplace and attracting a buyer's attention requires a more sophisticated, personalized approach. The use of personalization in B2B communications is changing how companies interact with existing and prospective customers. So what are the benefits of account-based marketing and how does it differ from traditional forms of marketing?
Marketing for the Masses
In the early days of email marketing, bombarding email inboxes generated results. Yet email "blasts" to large mailing lists lack personalization. At the risk of alienating a potential customer, the messaging employed in an email blast must appeal to as many recipients as possible. And since the email doesn't reflect a deep understanding of the recipient's pain points or their stage in the buying process, in an attempt to appeal to everyone, many emails achieve the opposite and appeal to no one. Consequently, many email marketing campaigns fall short of their lofty goals because they rely on a flawed premise that the greater the number of emails sent, the higher the likelihood is of engaging a prospect and making the sale.
Messaging Designed to Engage
Whether a company plans to use email marketing, advertising or website content to generate sales, success depends on the ability of the messaging to resonate with existing and prospective customers alike. That's the role of personalization. Instead of adhering to the belief that everyone must receive the same messaging, personalization delivers highly-customized, relevant content that reflects a detailed understanding of the individual's pain points and needs.
As an alternative to targeting large groups with "cookie cutter" messaging, personalization allows for targeting of much smaller groups who share common pain points. For example, instead of targeting every chief information officer with the same messaging, personalization would allow for discrete messaging based on the size of their employer, recent industry developments, noteworthy regulatory activity or emerging threats such as an increase in cyberattacks. In its most refined form, personalization might also use the individual's recent activity on your company's website as well as how they've interacted with previous email communications to customize subsequent messaging. It could also reference a recent speech an executive delivered. That's the degree of personalization needed to catch attention and encourage them to take the next step in the buying process.
Appeal to the Individual on a Personal Level
When applied correctly, the recipient of personalized communications believes that the company developed the content for them alone. Such an approach satisfies a basic human need to be understood and treated as individuals instead of as another prospect for a company to extract money. So how can your company evolve its approach to marketing while also justifying the time, effort and expense in doing so? Here are some important steps to embed personalization within your marketing campaigns.
- Know Your Customer: Personalization depends on a deep understanding of your ideal customer, their motivations, struggles, role in the organization and potential "hot button" issues. In short, the more you know about the individuals you intend to target, the greater your ability is to develop customized content that catches their attention. To develop an accurate picture of the ideal customer, encourage the marketing team to solicit input from across the enterprise as opinions may differ.
- Align Your Content with Each Buyer Persona: Your marketing team may uncover multiple types of ideal customers for the products and services your company offers — especially if the purchasing process typically involves securing approval from multiple departments. Task the marketing team with ensuring that each persona receives content relevant to their situation. For example, if your company sells software, make sure that content for the CFO uses finance-related terminology as well as answers to the type of questions typically asked by finance leaders when considering such a purchase.
- Commit to Continuous Improvement: Instead of using complex and potentially contradictory statistics gathered from larger scale email campaigns that include every type of possible target for your company's product or services, personalization results in smaller populations of discrete buyer personas to analyze. This allows for an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of messaging incorporated in emails sent to finance leaders.
However well-intentioned, the majority of marketing messages lack any degree of personalization. Yet personalization offers the potential to eliminate waste from the marketing and sales process in the form of marketing materials that fail to engage their targets. Consequently, the benefits of account-based marketing allow your company to set itself apart from uninspired email blasts that plague most executive inboxes.