3 Steps to Starting Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

3 Steps to Starting Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM is exactly what it sounds like: an approach to B2B marketing which targets a smaller segment of your audience with personalized messaging. It can be a great complement to broader marketing tactics and an effective way to give your sales team additional support when tackling key prospects. Here are three key steps to getting started with ABM tactics:

1) Identify Key Prospects

Depending on how large a set of prospects you’re trying to identify, you may be able to do this with all your own information. Your sales team likely has a set of prospective accounts in mind already that they would like to land. Remember, though: it’s not just the size of the opportunity that should be considered, but also how likely they are to convert. Compare them with your current customers as well as companies who have passed on your services in the past and evaluate accordingly.

If you’re looking at a larger group of prospects or are having trouble identifying or connecting with the right person in the organization, third party data can help. Depending on your industry, there may be a trade organization who can help you or there are data companies you can try as well.

Once you’ve identified the companies, make sure you know the right people to reach—including influencers as well as decision makers—to help smooth the sales process even further.

2) Personalize Your Marketing

Based on your time, resources, budget and sales cycle, you can establish a set of reasonable goals. Then you’ll proceed like any other marketing plan—just with a narrower, more focused audience that allows you to get more personalized with your content and messaging.

For example, your content marketing can be adapted not just to the stages of the buyer’s journey and your broader buyer personas, but to the specific organization or even person you’re reaching out to.

Before you get too personalized and spend too much time customizing, make sure the lifetime value of the customer will justify the resources you’re investing.

3) Choose Your Tactics

ABM focuses heavily in the digital space with tactics like email marketing, social media and programmatic campaigns leading the pack. Tangible marketing tactics like direct mail or even out-of-home could have their place as well and should be considered in the light of how big an opportunity you’re going after. Digital tactics will often provide the most cost-effective approach.

Email marketing is typically the core of an ABM campaign as it is the most controllable, customize-able tactic. Setting prospects up in a sequence of targeted emails can help guide them through the buyer’s journey until they’re ready to meet or receive another personal contact.

Social media and programmatic ads are typically more effective on a larger scale, such as if you’re targeting a niche industry rather than a set of companies or individuals. There are opportunities in both, however, to get a little more granular.

With social media, you can target specific companies if they’re large enough. There will be some wasted impressions and the CPM will likely be much higher, but again this should be evaluated based on the potential value of the customer. Use retargeting efforts to serve up new ads to anyone who has visited your landing pages with tailored content can also provide an opportunity to get granular in programmatic campaigns.

ABM is overall just a more focused approach to marketing that can help prime your key prospects for sales to reach out. Alignment on goals and tactics between the sales and marketing teams will be key to ensuring success. Make sure to take the time to get buy in before you begin.

3 Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Direct Mail

3 Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Direct Mail

The next time you check your mailbox, look and see how much of what you received is marketing mail—it’s a lot, right? So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that around 58% of the mail Americans receive has a clear marketing goal (Source: USPS).

That volume may have decreased since the “bad old days” before the cheaper alternative of email, but many brands still see a return on their direct mail investments.

We’ve talked before about how print media is still alive and well, and according to the data we’ve seen in the last few years, the same can be said for direct mail, too. Here are 3 key stats that our caught our eye:

#1. Direct mail had an average response rate of 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists in 2018. (Source: Data & Marketing Association)

These numbers were almost double what they were in 2017. One theory for this increase is that lists are getting more sophisticated thanks to better data aggregation, so the people receiving direct mail campaigns are increasingly people who actually want that information. And with the right type of messaging and good timing, you can increase that response further.

#2. Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than people who didn’t get that piece of direct mail. (Source: USPS)

A tangible piece of mail has a much deeper impact on our brains than something digital. 75% of people can recall a brand from seeing a direct mail piece (Source: Marketing Profs) compared with 44% who just saw a digital ad. Plus, 90% of direct mail gets opened (Source: Data & Marketing Association), compared with only 20%-30% of emails. Add all that together and you have a huge opportunity to move the needle.

#3. Consumers aged 45-54 are the demographic group most likely to respond to direct mail pieces (Source: Data & Marketing Association).

Before we get too excited by the opportunity and risk over-inflating the data, confirm where your target audience falls. Younger consumers are still more digitally responsive, but it is heartening to note as well that 30% of millennials believe they are more strongly affected by direct mail (Source: DMN) versus the 24% who said they were strongly affected by email.

Of course, it’s easy to pull out a couple of stats and draw whatever conclusion we want to, but overall, the opportunity seems to exist. The key to seeing these results in your own campaign will be:

  • The quality of your list
  • The timing of your mailer
  • The offer you’re making
  • The way you offer it

Direct mail is still a hefty investment. So while you could use it to garner awareness, your ROI will be a lot higher if you leverage it for conversions. There is no silver bullet in marketing, but if you’ve left direct mail off your list of considered tactics for the last decade, now might be the time to consider it again.

3 Key Factors to Improve Your B2B Advertising

3 Key Factors to Improve Your B2B Advertising

The general approach to B2B advertising is not all that different from B2C advertising. The fundamentals are the same:

  1. Know your customers and develop buyer personas
  2. Know their pain points and solve their problems
  3. Understand the buyer’s journey and sales cycle

The messages and message distribution you choose will be driven by the specific trade(s) your service or product targets. Bouvier Kelly works with clients that have a broad horizontal trade focus such as Industrial Safety; or a vertical trade focus such as Convenience Stores; or an extremely niche focus such as Surfboard Shapers and Manufacturers. Each trade, industry or target has nuances that influence the distribution of messaging.

Let’s take a look at these 3 key tactics of B2B advertising to help you better understand your customer and how to reach them.

1) Know your customers and develop buyer personas

Get to know your customers as well as the industry(ies) they serve. Are there associations and/or trade publishers that support them? These associations and publishers can be a good source of information for defining buyer personas and their influencers as well as assist in shaping the buyer’s journey and delivering effective touchpoints during the journey.

All industries vary and the landscape is ever-evolving, but publishers (including their printed publications, eNewsletters and trade shows) are still a top source for both the awareness and consideration phase of the buyer’s journey. And when you’re mapping out effective touchpoints, don’t count social media out entirely. Even for a niche audience, platforms like LinkedIn can offer great one-on-one contact and even something like Instagram or Pinterest can be highly effective if your B2B audience is on the more visual or creative side.

2) Know your customers’ pain points and solve their problems

Knowing pain points and developing solutions speaks more to messaging than distribution. However, once you have that key messaging, you can determine the best media type and then move to its distribution method. When considering message distribution, you should also determine where in the buyer’s journey that information or message is appropriate. Some may be appropriate in more than one phase of the journey.

3) Understand the buyer’s journey

For customers in the Awareness phase, you’ll need to develop broader, attention-grabbing messages. During the Consideration phase, the messaging and content should educate your prospects, moving them closer to purchase. In both phases, trade publishers’ platforms are still viable in providing touchpoints to assist in moving prospects through the funnel. If digital platforms are utilized, a site-retargeting tactic and/or an email drip campaign should be used in order to stay top-of-mind. Once customers are in the Decision phase, the process focuses less on advertising and more toward marketing. However, advertising supports the prospect’s decision to purchase as well as builds loyalty.

You know a lot about your customers and your industry, but by organizing what you already know, you’ll uncover insights you hadn’t considered. Buyer Personas and the Buyer’s Journey are tools to help you build a more global strategy and see things from a perspective the hectic pace of your day-to-day may not always allow.

3 Ways to Make Your Trade Show Booth Stand Out

3 Ways to Make Your Trade Show Booth Stand Out

For many companies, it’s time to start preparing for the fall trade show season. Now is a great time to confront that perennial question: do we redo the entire booth this year or just make do?

If you do decide to update your booth, we have a couple quick tips on structure and design that will help your investment last longer and hopefully deliver better results.

1. Make Your Booth Adaptable to Different Sizes

Let’s face it: some shows are worth a greater investment than others. And chances are you’re not going to pay for the same sized booth space everywhere you exhibit. So for a couple of conferences, you may invest in that 40 x 40 foot space while others may just have a table and a 10 foot drape behind you.

A good exhibit house will have structural options for you that can be assembled in multiple ways — what’s known as a “convertible booth.” Maybe you can create a 20 foot wall that allows you to remove a couple of panels when you only have 10 feet of space. Or if you’re in a conference room, you can have a design that integrates those walls independently as a backdrop or border in smaller spaces.

When you’re designing the graphics for a convertible booth, make sure you’re clear on which panels are consistently used and which are the extras.

Another piece to consider when choosing your structure and designing the graphics is how often you’ll want to change them or promote something new. If everything is inter-locked or materials are expensive to reprint, it will be more of a headache to promote a new product or showcase new messaging or imagery, leaving you in limbo with the same design as last year (and the year before).

2. It’s OK to Stick Your Neck Out

If your structure can stand out in the crowd height-wise, your customers and potential customers will have less trouble finding you. Some conferences allow you to hang signage, while others may not (always check their guidelines and regulations before making any design choices).

If you can’t get add much height to your structure, you can at least make sure your graphics are positioned vertically so as not to be hidden by anything else. Always account for table height and line of sight when placing your key messages. Plus you’ll have a better chance of catching eyes across a crowded show floor if your most attractive message is at the top.

Also, remember to take pictures of your booth at its most crowded during a show. That way, you’ll get a better sense of what is covered by people or by other pieces of the structure. Digital booth renders can only show you so much, so documenting the booth in-person will help you make changes later if necessary.

3. Give Visitors a Reason to Linger

This is the $10 million question: how do you increase engagement at your booth? You’ve driven traffic, but how do you get them to stay?

The best answer we can give here is of course the unsatisfying “Well, it depends.” Generally speaking, though, if you sell a physical product, have it with you. If the show is worth investing in, it’s worth shipping the product to the show (or at least a scaled version).

And if your key selling points revolve around a specific product action, have some way to demonstrate that if possible. Physical demonstrations — especially if your customer can do it themselves — are best followed by digital demonstrations, with video or photos bringing up the rear.

When you’re selling a service or your product is simply too large, it’s a little tougher. But that’s where technology comes in. Video is more engaging than static photos, but interactive digital displays are even more engaging than both. Get your customers to sell to themselves through a clever touchscreen program or app — this can also help with understaffed booths if you don’t have enough sales people to go around.

Conferences may be your best opportunity to make or reinforce a good impression. You’re already investing so much in being there — make sure your booth is supporting the effort, not letting you down.

How to Maximize Your Trade Show Appearance

How to Maximize Your Trade Show Appearance

So your team has decided that a particular trade show or conference is right for you. But now you have to decide if you want to be more than an attendee or exhibitor. Should you take advantage of any sponsorship opportunities? And if you do, how can you best leverage those available to you? Let’s explore two key ways to maximize your trade show appearance.

1) Choosing the Right Sponsorships

As we always say, start with your goals. What are you trying to gain from this event? Your primary goal is likely lead generation, though awareness or specific product testing and launching are also popular reasons to exhibit at an event.

Whatever the case, go back to the event information and analyze who’s attending and who’s exhibiting. If a large percentage are decision-makers in your target audience, additional exposure may be a good idea. And if some of your top competitors are showing, this may be your chance to get ahead with exclusive sponsorships.

There are likely to be a few opportunities that specifically yield lead information as well as many more that promise prominent logo display. It’s tempting to go for the logo options as a) they tend to be cheaper and b) they seem to promise the most exposure.

But before signing the contract, ask yourself if the quality of that exposure will ladder up to your goals. How familiar is this audience with your logo? Do you have an option to add additional messaging?

If you’re just aiming to be more prominent than your competitor or show you support the association, it can be worthwhile to select several of these broader awareness opportunities.

However, logo prominence doesn’t necessarily guarantee booth traffic. Many attendees go to conferences already knowing exactly who they’re going to visit. Pre-conference sponsorships or advertising opportunities are often the best way to catch these pre-planners.

2) Maximizing Your Event Sponsorship

Once you’ve decided to sponsor, make sure you get all you can out of it. Update your digital marketing content calendar to include event promotion. Post on social with the conference’s hashtag and @ mention their accounts. More often than not, the show team will then share your post to their audience of attendees.

Emails to your database can include a note mentioning your booth number and subtly promote your sponsorships, depending on what they are.

You can also send an email specifically inviting any attendees to meet while they’re at the show. This could be personal emails from the sales team or a well-crafted email to your database (preferably the segment that is most likely to attend — maybe your leads from last year 😉).

If you’re demoing or launching a product at the show, consider inviting customers or potential customers to an exclusive focus group or launch event. A good public relations team can likely help you make this kind of event happen.

For event success in general, it’s also important to carefully consider if you’re sending the best team members to reach your goals. You may have someone who knows the product inside and out, but do they enjoy talking to people? Will they pursue conversation and networking opportunities? If not, consider training a more extroverted team member who you know will get you the most leads for your money.

Sponsorships can greatly help boost your presence at a trade show or conference when done right. Always look for opportunities that get you in front of potential leads, but only if you have the team capacity to really make it work.

TL;DR

  • List your goals and make sure the tactics you choose ladder up to those specific aims
  • Logo prominence doesn’t always equate to booth foot traffic
  • Promote the hell out of your appearance if you go: social media, email, PR
  • Create unique in-booth events for potential customers to attend
  • Make sure your attending team members enjoy networking and interacting with people

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