The last marketing trend for 2017 I covered to some degree in this post about account-based marketing (ABM). ABM is likely to become the dominant form of marketing for complex sales as marketing automation software becomes more impactful and less expensive than ever. Companies whose sales process is even marginally complex will either jump on the ABM bandwagon, or will be left behind.
For those unfamiliar, ABM is a marketing method in which we target only those companies and buyers who represent our ideal, best customers. If we sell, for example, an enterprise server appliance, we would target only companies with the budget and need for such an appliance. We wouldn’t attempt to sell to a small business, because they would have neither budget nor need.
ABM leverages technologies such as retargeting, remarketing, custom audiences, and data enrichment to help narrow down who our audience is, then market to those audiences using predominantly digital methods. ABM uses the same technologies as regular digital marketing, but instead of spending large budgets reaching everyone, it spends more responsibly on just the likely buyers. When executed well, ABM creates higher quality leads for sales professionals to close.
One important distinction worth making is that to adopt ABM, we don’t need to do everything all at once. We can phase ABM in as we have time and resources to do so.
Beginning Your ABM Journey
Start your ABM journey with simple retargeting advertising, part of trend 4, the digital attention gap. Use your existing social media audiences and platforms, combined with your web analytics, to begin reaching back out to your most relevant audiences with paid advertising. Show them ads if they haven’t completed a conversion, and remind them of the value you provide.
Once you’ve got retargeting set up, install a marketing automation system. Systems can be had for as little as $5 per month, and will help you understand your audiences in much greater depth. Configure your marketing automation system to talk to your CRM and understand who matters most to your business.
After retargeting and marketing automation are functioning, obtain data about people who are your key accounts, your target accounts. These are the companies you want to do business with and the people at those companies who have the budget, authority, need, and timeframe that your product or service meets. Upload these lists into your CRM, marketing automation software, and retargeting software, and begin tracking them carefully.
After you’ve set up your target accounts, start crafting dynamic content for your MVPs in email and on your website. Use optimization software like Google Optimize to tailor content just for your MVPs. Watch as your conversions increase and your costs continue to decrease.
Finally, once you’ve got a solid revenue stream attributable to your efforts in place, consider investing in a dedicated account-based marketing software system. Vendors exist that can automate many of the steps above, allowing you more granular control while freeing up your time.
ABM is for Almost Everyone
Other than purely transactional businesses which do not encourage relationships with customers (I can’t think of any at the moment), almost any business will benefit from implementing at least a portion of ABM. You may not implement every step, but even a couple of them will bring you benefit if you execute them well.
We’ve now covered the 7 major marketing trends I anticipate in 2017. This year promises to be a tumultuous year with lots of unforeseen twists and turns in the road ahead. If you take advantage of the 7 trends, you will be well-positioned to weather unpredictable changes in business and meet your marketing goals. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your feedback.
7 Marketing Trends in 2017 Series:
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 1: Introduction
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 2: The Screenless Revolution
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 3: Peak Social
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 4: The Digital Attention Gap
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 5: The Velvet Rope Revolution
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 6: AI Eats Everything
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 7: The Death of Old SEO
- 7 Marketing Trends in 2017, Part 8: Account-Based Marketing for Everyone
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