Ready, Set, ABM — Launching ABM Campaigns
The word launch is a word that is typically associated with rockets. As a matter of fact, in middle-English, it means “in the sense to hurle a missile or discharge with force”. If that’s the case, please step into your spaceship, because we are diving into the ultimate steps of our marketing journey – launching our ABM campaigns!
Note, steps 1 through 3 can be found in How to ABM: A Step-by-Step Guide. If you have yet to read the case for implementing an ABM strategy, check out Unraveling the Elusive “ABM” Strategy – A Series.
Suggested Reading: Unraveling the Elusive “ABM” Strategy
At this point, you have finalized the different segments and personas you’d like to target in your account-based audience. Completing Step 4 should answer the question: What do you want to say and how do you want to say it? Ideally, you could craft a different and unique message for each segment or persona you sectioned out in Step 3: Create Segments & Personas.
Suggested Reading: How to ABM: A Step-by-Step Guide
What you want to say: Depending on how you split your audience, you should consider the type of content or message you want that particular audience to consume. You should also consider the potential funnel position of the audience you are serving the message to and gearing it towards pushing the account to the next stage of the funnel.
How you want to say it: Many of your advertisements will require text ad copy among imagery. It’s extremely important to understand the type of ad formats your message will be executed in.
Seriously consider: Image pairings with text copy, amount and type of real estate, the ability for dynamic insertion (calling out name or company), the environment or location on the page. If you are up for it, it can be fun to play with all of the different formats available in advertising and testing different messaging. Don’t be afraid to capitalize on the different ad units available.
You should not be afraid to use multiple channels at once for your ABM strategy – luckily there are plenty to choose from! The idea is to have a multi-touch and multi-channel (omnichannel) strategy. You want your message coming through different mediums at different touchpoints.
What criteria should you judge against for the channels that you choose? First, it is important to determine which channels have the propensity or ability to reach your target accounts. It is also important to think about what channels have the best format to craft your message in. Social targeting on LinkedIn can have a more relaxed tone paired with a carousel of images, whereas Search and Content syndication programs are a little more buttoned up. Lastly, keep in mind the available content you have that will depict your message to your targets.
It is actually recommended that you create this content based on the medium it is being served through. Think back to Step 4: Craft Your Message when considering the ad formats and channels you’d like to reach your audience on.
We will admit, while out-of-home might boost the CEO’s ego a bit, when they ask you to prove performance, those warm feelings can fly out the window pretty fast. That’s why, when it comes to OOH for B2B, we suggest approaching it with a very strategic lens that balances your budget, goals, and egos. Digital OOH also paves the way for personalized ads and an additional touchpoint away from a computer.
The two most common approaches we see with OOH are pretty straightforward targeting the HQs of a select few companies from your target account list and targeting an event that both your company and the target company will be attending. You can also get playful with OOH advertisements and really make a statement!
Programmatic and Native touchpoints are primarily used as either initial brand awareness and/or supporting touchpoints for your campaign. There are plenty of 3rd-party publishers out there to help achieve your goal of reaching your accounts list through Programmatic, Native, and Video mediums. Some reputable suggestions: Duns & Bradstreet, MadisonLogic, TechTarget, Prelytix/MRP, GumGum, Bidtellect, PureB2B, among many others!
LinkedIn has the ability to target the employees at your target companies, and even further narrow down to specific job titles and select departments at those companies. LinkedIn has many ad formats such as lead gen forms, carousel units, and dynamic ad units which are all creative ways to get your message across to your target audience.
Most vendors are able to deliver leads from only your specified target account list by promoting your content to them. These vendors utilize their network via promo emails, social posts, banners, and even phone calls to encourage your target audience to consume your content. The number of ABM content syndication vendors out there is near impossible to count, so how do you select the right partner?
The best approach is to pick a partner whose audience(s) align best with your target audience. You can usually decipher this by asking the network or publisher their audience breakdown by company size, job title, department, decision makers, etc. If you request, some might even be able to share the percent of companies they have in their audience against the ABM list you provide them.
Search Engines like Google and Bing allow you to seamlessly upload a custom audience list into the platform which then allows you to specifically target and adjust how much you bid against those users. This increases your chances to get your advertisement in front of them when they are searching for related products and services and gives insight into the performance of that segment of users.
In this same fashion, you can upload your growing list of contacts or leads (as long as they were obtained in compliance with the respective engine’s privacy policies!) from your CRM system and target them.
(Likely one of the most important step for launching successful ABM programs) It is pivotal to ensure you have some sort of methodology in place for measuring ROI on your ABM campaigns. Move the needle from measuring cost per lead or cost per marketing qualified lead to qualified accounts and opportunities. The idea behind ABM is to focus on fueling the Sales team and equipping them to close their opportunities. ‘Smarketing’ at its finest!
Most importantly: Have a baseline calculation in place that measures your average sales cycle. If you don’t yet have that measurement, it’s never too late to do the analysis! For this exercise, answer the question: On average, how long does it take for an opportunity to close since the moment a lead or contact from the connected account enters your system? Once you have that benchmark, apply this measurement to your ABM campaigns and see how it is affecting your overall pipeline. Some other metrics to consider are:
Percent of target accounts reached
Be realistic — you’re not going to hit all of them! A good goal is 60%
Touchpoints against the target accounts
How diverse are these touchpoints? Are they all one channel, or spread?
The quality of interactions with the target accounts
Clicks to page
Time spent on page
Average pages per session
Amount of content consumed
Likes, comments, retweets (from social)
Growth percentage of contacts at the target accounts
Percent decrease of sales cycle length
Number of qualified opportunities
Average opportunity amount growth
Pipeline velocity (as long as you are tracking all the previous metrics)
Customer lifetime value
As mentioned, overall ROI and pipeline velocity are the true metrics for judging your ABM campaigns. However, it is always a good idea to have health checks on your front-end metrics. Front-end performance checks for your campaigns are great for making sure your message is resonating and for additional insights into your audiences. Testing different messages and images can help with those insights to see what is getting you the most efficient CTRs and CPCs.
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We’ve enjoyed sharing our philosophy on Account-Based Marketing and sincerely hope your marketing efforts can profit from implementing ABM campaigns far and wide across your marketing sphere. Now go — fulfill your destiny as office hero, straight-A student, and astronaut and reap the benefits!
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4 MINUTES READ | November 2, 2021