3 Must-Ask ABM Questions for B2B Marketers

In my last post, I discussed how paid media tactics could influence and improve the effectiveness of your account-based marketing (ABM) initiatives.  Today, I want to step back and review some of the key considerations that go into the development and definition of an ABM program, as well as discuss benchmarks and key performance metrics.

Should You Use Cookie-Based or IP-Based Targeting?

First, let’s make sure we understand the differences.

  • IP-based targeting relies on the advertiser or platform detecting your Internet Protocol address and serving custom advertisements or personalized content based on the user’s location.  Originally this dramatically limited reach and allowed advertisers to deliver content only to specific cities, regions, or internationally.  Today, advertisers have nearly limitless reach and can target all the way down to individual households, office buildings, or apartments.
  • Cookie-based (also known as job title targeting) targeting takes it one step deeper and utilizes sales enablement tools, analytics, website and user data, and a little bit of secret sauce to identify specific users all the way down to job title, interest, or buyer persona.

In short, IP targeting casts a net across a certain location or region, while cookie-based targeting zeroes into those regions and looks for additional qualifiers, namely job title or interest.

Table courtesy of our friends at Kwanzoo.

So, which is better to use?  Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses, but a comprehensive ABM plan has justification to use both.

Cookie-based targeting allows marketers to really refine their user lists and zero in on specific job titles or functions with laser focus. This leads to super-targeted and extremely effective ads aimed at your key decision makers. The cost, of course, is volume. A refined list is much smaller and has a more narrow (but highly qualified) focus.  You have to naturally accept that your advertising campaign that is skewed to high-level job titles in a specific industry or function naturally limits the potential list size – but the high-level quality of those conversions makes the tactic extremely valuable.

IP-based targeting is much broader.  You are attacking a whole company or block of companies with custom content. Generally, this means higher viewership and hopefully many more leads and opportunities, but you run the risk of getting views, clicks, and conversions from people outside of your buyer persona.  We know that influencers can be found at almost any level of a B2B company and there is certainly added value to be gained by generating views and disseminating content all over your target companies.

To summarize, cookie-based campaigns should fire targeted content to high-value job titles and decision makers, while strategic IP-based campaigns should have broader messages and reach all throughout the target audience list.

What Marketing Tactics Should I Use?

The most effective marketing tactics are ones that resonate best with your target audience.  It takes multiple variations and continuous testing and measuring until you can decide what tactic or creative is your top performer, but generally, it’s good to start with a wide net and utilize as many different tactics as are available.

Since ABM is a tactic supported by multiple technologies there are many options at your disposal:

  • Display Advertising
  • Remarketing
  • Email Marketing & Sponsorship
  • Call Center / Outbound Marketing
  • Content Syndication
  • Paid Media / PPC
  • Self Service Ad Serving Platforms

As a general best practice I suggest utilizing as many tactics as are available, with the following caveats:

  • Do I have the right (or enough) custom content to serve across multiple different tactics and channels?
  • Am I over-saturating users?  What is my frequency cap?
  • How does my match rate change across different tactics?
  • Do I feel comfortable letting someone else speak for my content or brand?  (In the case of outbound marketing and outreach)

How Do You Measure Success?

Typical marketing performance metrics usually start at reach and visibility, i.e. how often were your ads viewed or interacted with.  As the program continues we start tracking lead volume and score the quality of leads created.  Finally, as the program reaches a mature state, we begin to look for leads that create a valuable potential sales opportunity and ultimately a revenue-generating event so we can start tracking program return on investment.

ABM programs follow a similar route with a few important distinctions:

  • Your reach metrics are heavily impacted by your list – the size and scope of the companies and individuals on it, as well as the availability of your advertising platforms to serve ads to them.
  • The average quality of ad views, clicks, and leads are at a considerable premium compared to less targeted marketing initiatives, so we can accept a slightly higher-than-average cost per lead metric in some instances.  We are not measuring lead cost versus base acquisition costs; this a deeper more targeted marketing program focused on nurturing high-value decision makers and leaders.
  • The B2B sales process can be especially long and convoluted.  There may already be multiple account owners on the company side and multiple touch points and decision makers on the prospect side.  This may lead to a winding path of contacts and discussions on CRM software, which ultimately need to be discovered and vetted to verify ROI and assign attribution.

As account-based marketing continues to gain in popularity, it’s important that marketers fully grasp the various options and techniques at their disposal to better market to and understand their key decision makers goals, habits, and tendencies.

For an even deeper look into B2B ABM strategies please download the free report:  Account Based Marketing for B2B Marketers: Strategies and Tactics for Achieving B2B Marketing Objectives.

“KoMarketing understands how to present and execute recommendations across the organization, from the IT professional to strategic marketing leadership. They go beyond expectation in working with the client to evaluate, execute, and implement program initiatives.”

— Silvina El Baba, Senior Manager, Web Marketing, EFI

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