How To Implement B2B Account Based Marketing

Account-based marketing. It’s been around for a little while now, but isn’t getting the fan fair that other kinds of marketing like inbound and content marketing are receiving. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. According to SeriusDecision’s 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Study, while 92% of companies recognize the value of ABM, only 20% of companies have had an ABM program in place for more than a year. In this post I’ll uncover why ABM is so under utilized, and how you can use it to improve your digital marketing strategy.

Red windows on a building that stand out as target accounts for b2b marketing

Why the disconnect?

If ABM is so great, why aren’t more people doing it? I believe the answer to this question is pretty straightforward: at first glance account-based marketing is a pretty simple concept – focusing marketing efforts on a specific list of companies, but this simple concept and the technology used to implement it, when looked at a little closer is, revolutionary.


Inbound Vs. Account Based Marketing

Other forms of marketing like inbound marketing use the “groundswell” technique, of creating content aimed at specific buyer personas, and trying to attract those personas. No matter how specific personas are, they are just a generalization of the target audience. Unlike these older forms of marketing, ABM does not focus on building an audience, but on identifying and targeting a list of specific companies.


Marketing Automation Vs. ABM Software

Inbound marketing relies on software called marketing automation (MA). Marketing automation uses cookies to track individuals’ interaction with the company’s website (learn more about cookies here). In order for MA to get explicit information on a person, that person has to enter that information into a form. Usually that form appears on a blog subscription page, a sign up page for a webinar, a download page for an ebook or some other content. This means that you have to have an interaction with a lead in order to target them.

ABM Software uses ip addresses to track accounts (learn more about ip addresses here). Every company has it’s own IP address, making it easy to target individual companies. Unlike cookies, IP targeting doesn’t require a person to fill out any forms on a website to target them. Some ABM software allows you to buy one targeted add and display it to one targeted account. This allows you use your marketing budget with incredible efficiency.

Both marketing automation and account-based marketing software is developing and changing all the time. HubSpot, a leading MA solution has added the ability to track IP addresses coming to your site. In 2013, Marketo bought a leading ABM solution, Insightera.


Setting up Account-Based Marketing

There are four main steps:

1) Identify target accounts

These target accounts could be a list of actual companies, or a targeted segment (companies in a certain industry and a certain revenue). Need help putting together a better target account list? Check out this post.

2) Create targeted advertising

There are a few ways to do this. One is with IP tracking software mentioned earlier (like Demandbase). Another way to create highly targeted ads is with social ads on Linkedin or Facebook. While Linkedin is more popular among b2b marketers, both social platforms allow you to pinpoint your adds to show up to as narrow an audience as you would like.

3) Create personalized content on your website

Smart content, or content that only shows up to certain viewers is a great way to speak directly to your target audience. The process for creating smart content will look differently depending on what CMS you are using.

If you want to add another weapon to your arsenal, retargeting is a great way to stay top of mind with people in your target audience that visited your site at least once. When a person visits a page on your website or your website in general and then puts your ads on other websites they visit. Learn more about retargeting here.

4) Create relevant gated and non-gated content

Just like inbound marketing, account-based marketing uses content to draw your target audience deeper into the funnel. You need gated content (behind a form) and ungated content (not behind a form) to engage your target audience. If you don’t have content that they find valuable, then you’ll have nothing to attract them to. Create content that speaks to your target accounts and solves their needs and pain points.

Using Inbound and ABM Together

ABM shouldn’t replace your inbound efforts. Using both inbound and ABM methods together can make your marketing much stronger. The downfall of inbound marketing is that its groundswell technique can take awhile to get going. ABM is a great way to speed up your return on investment and start seeing results where they count.


2 replies
  1. Nate
    Nate says:

    When it comes to sales and marketing, the more personal you can make your pitch, the better. This is a step in that direction, so it makes sense that it would be effective!

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