Account based marketing (ABM) is a focused strategy that blends sales and marketing efforts to reach high potential B2B customers. However, many brands struggle with achieving the level of personalization and automation needed for effective ABM at scale. Thankfully, there is a solution: programmatic ABM. Using automated buying tactics, brands can serve targeted ads to thousands of highly segmented B2B consumers within target organizations using technology and data for personalization.
B2B marketing has historically emphasized quantity of leads generated first (Marketing Qualified Leads), with quality to follow (Sales Qualified Leads). Unfortunately, this method has led to 79% of leads never becoming customers, not to mention wasted media dollars. The account-based approach instead focuses on decision makers in target companies rather than mass outreach. By doing this prequalification, the sales funnel becomes shorter and every customer touchpoint is more intentional and personalized. This is why 77% of marketers believe ABM is their top driver of sales and marketing success.
Zeroing In On the Target
Emarketer data shows that one key barrier to successful ABM is the inability to efficiently and effectively personalize marketing at scale. We know this is a critical issue to solve as, “40% of company executives in e-commerce report that personalization directly affects their sales and company revenues.” Once you have your ideal customer profile nailed down, how can you make sure you are reaching these individuals? Can you reach them at scale, with personalization and within your given budget? Here’s where programmatic activation comes in.
Programmatic ABM: Enabled by Technology
Programmatic advertising automates the ad buying process. Just because you are targeting individual business accounts, you don’t have to have massive teams calling or emailing accounts one by one to succeed. With proper campaign segmentation, you can tailor ads to feel highly specific and relevant to individuals within these companies. AI-powered creative learning takes this one step further by determining which combination of imagery and copy will be most effective for different audience segments and adjusting in real time. Programmatic and AI also allow agility and flexibility across channels. You can take a social ad and run it on digital or test a top performing display video on CTV – all while being confident your media spend is serving ads to real, qualified decision makers.
Activation: First-Party First
When available, campaigns should start with leveraging your existing CRM data. Activate against this high value pool of leads who have already shared their information with you via content downloads, newsletter sign-ups, or other acquisition activities. Carefully segment these individuals so you can serve highly relevant and personalized ads to them based on their industry, level of seniority, interests, geography, etc. Work with a programmatic agency to activate these segments across various digital channels and media publishers. Track user behavior and data trends, then use AI tools to create lookalike audiences to expand the targeting pool.
To expand further, strategically incorporate third party data. Various data partners can be tapped to reach decision makers across digital channels. Keep in mind that with third party data in particular, it is important to have a smart targeting strategy.
Start by refining your audience. Yes, you want to achieve scale and pack the lead funnel for your sales force, but the way to do that effectively and efficiently is by ensuring you understand what the ideal customer looks like. Your cost per lead may be higher when you narrow the targeting parameters, but you can expect a greater return by reaching audiences with the highest potential lifetime value and reducing wasted hours sifting through unqualified leads. Layer your targeting with firmographic, job title, and seniority parameters that indicate a high potential account. Look at your best customers – what do they have in common? Segment your target personas into specific buckets so you can tailor your creative and messaging accordingly – adding the personalization now expected by B2B buyers.
Some targeting tactics for B2B accounts to consider are:
- Intent targeting to identify individuals and organizations who are actively searching for a particular topic or solution
- NAICS job title targeting to reach specific job titles or organizations
- IP/Geo-Targeting to target specific business locations or industry events
- Social targeting by skill/title/industry/location across platforms
Using programmatic activation with a digital partner allows brands to reach these highly sought after audiences with efficiency of both budget and time.
B2B Channel Strategy: Time to Diversify?
Companies are placing the highest investment for their ABM strategies into digital, with the majority of spend occurring on social media, paid search and e-newsletters. These are all key ways to reach buyers, however, other channels such as programmatic display, CTV and audio are gaining more share of wallet year over year. Consider some of these more untapped spaces to allow your brand voice to be heard without competing with the noise.
When choosing your channel strategy, don’t put all your efforts into one high-performing channel, such as LinkedIn. Instead, activate ads across a variety of channels based on the media consumption habits of your target audience and other behavioral insights. Use data-informed programmatic placements to meet the audience wherever they are active online.
To determine the best channel mix, it’s critical to build a cycle of testing and learning into your measurement strategy. This enables ongoing learning and optimization to improve the lead nurturing process by identifying what is working and what isn’t. Ask questions and test various tactics to find answers so your brand avoids stagnancy and reduced efficiency in the sales cycle.
- Account-based marketing doesn’t have to be tedious. Taking a programmatic approach enables efficiency and scale for brands with large target account pools.
- Refine targeting criteria and segment key audience groups to personalize creative accordingly.
- Capitalize on your first party data, then expand reach with high quality third party data to reach verified decision makers.
- B2B brands can benefit from an omni-channel media approach and .considering non-traditional B2B media placements
Start reaching hundreds to thousands of B2B leads today by working with Coegi to build a programmatic ABM strategy. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a discovery call today.