Why content is the critical piece in B2B account-based marketing
- ABM has changed how tech companies do business. More of them are seeing the strategic value of marketing to specific verticals, companies, or individual stakeholders.
- This may take more time and resources, but it gets better results.
- There are strategies for making ABM more effective. But the most important aspect of ABM is the content you create for your target accounts, and the stories that convert them.
- Using data helps you understand which verticals and organizations to target at a macro level, and which stakeholders and topics to address at a micro level.
- Modular content tells your brand story and promotes your product, but can be easily rebuilt to speak to every single account.
As a tech company, like any business that sells products and services to enterprise clients, you probably have accounts for each of your customers. But what about having accounts for prospects that aren’t customers yet?
This is the world of B2B account-based marketing (ABM)—a practice that has become increasingly common as companies embrace the logic of aiming straight for the bullseye instead of blindly lobbing a handful of darts at the board.
Quick recap: what is B2B account-based marketing?
With B2B account-based marketing, companies coordinate their sales and marketing initiatives, setting their sights on higher-value clients. This involves creating tailored campaigns and messaging that speaks to specific stakeholders or verticals within the target organization and deploying them across multiple channels.
Nobody said this was easy. Targeting potential customers on a personal, one-to-one basis can be a lengthy and costly endeavor. But when your broad marketing campaigns only result in a fraction of your target companies converting, ABM makes better use of your time and budget.
What’s more, ABM is more than just a marketing mechanism for big ticket clients—it’s a mindset and methodology that companies can adopt to maximize their enterprise sales efforts, and it’s frankly surprising that some organizations are still marketing the old-fashioned way.
B2B ABM is more than just a marketing mechanism for big ticket clients—it’s a mindset and methodology that companies can adopt to maximize their sales efforts.
Marketing automation is table stakes
There’s plenty of software on the market that can help make your B2B ABM strategy more economical by automating manual processes. Marketing automation lets you launch emails, campaigns, and social media blasts without ever having to press the send button, and it can also track audience behavior, share hyper-targeted messaging, and leverage real-time analytics.
This is a necessary tool to have, but it’s ineffective without creating the high-value content your target audience will actually want to view and engage with.
It’s best to think of marketing automation and similar tools as a means to an end. They save your team time, energy, and money—which can then be channeled towards the campaigns that will differentiate your brand.
Determine your verticals with data
Obviously, any successful B2B ABM strategy starts by determining which industries and companies you want to market to, and which stakeholders within those organizations. And you might think you know implicitly who your product or service is designed for. But do you homework anyway, and look at the data.
Taking a data-driven approach to ABM means that you’re conducting research into online trends in various verticals, to help you understand the most common keyword searches, trends, and inquiries among users. At the macro level, this uncovers the industries and sectors who are in the market for a product like yours. At the micro level, you can start to zero in on specific companies and stakeholders within those verticals, and craft campaigns that speak to their pain points and their aspirations—in a voice that sounds a lot like their own.
Once you have your target in your sights, hit them with amazing content
The same data-driven strategies that you depend on for choosing your accounts will continue to serve you well when creating your content. You want to know what will resonate with a certain stakeholder? Look at the landscape, research the trends, and see what their industry colleagues are searching and saying. Not only will you know which topics you’ll need to address, but you’ll be able to speak the stakeholder’s language when you address them. You’ll be creating custom content in their own terms.
And there’s an added benefit to all this as well: by creating data-driven content that has been informed by quantitative and statistical research, you’ll be optimizing your stories for organic discovery. In other words, it’ll be pulling double duty. As you publish content to win your target account, other companies will be discovering that content all on their own as they look for solutions for their problems—the kind of solutions you’re offering.
Your content can also be a learning opportunity for legacy companies. There are a lot of large, well-established enterprises that are leaders in their industries, but lagging behind when it comes to tech. And here’s the kicker: a lot of them have no idea just how behind they are. They need you, but they don’t know it yet.
By publishing high-quality content, you can show them. You’re not inundating them with technical information, nor are you making broad, bland advertising pitches. Instead, your marketing campaigns are sharing stories that will help them understand their own pain points and your value proposition.
By publishing high-quality content, you can show them. You’re not inundating them with technical information, nor are you making broad, bland advertising pitches.
Doing it better: leveraging modular content
Naturally, creating tailored, high-quality content takes time, but you can simplify it with modularization. This means maintaining core content assets that can be reassembled and repurposed to suit your customer. Think of prefabricated housing: you put together made-to-order pieces, and with a bit of customization can create a home in no time at all. Modular content is the same. The same basic components can be deployed in different ways to suit your target’s needs with just a bit of tailoring.
Take Okta, for instance. The company was established in 2009 to provide enterprise clients with identity and access management solutions—and though it started with only two employees and one customer, it is now the global leader in the market, valued at $1.5 billion when it went public in 2017. Part of that success is due to its great products and services, but part of it is also due to great marketing. When going after a new customer, the content assets are tailored to suit the intended audience—product teams, IT, BD, C-suite—and the industry they work in, whether it’s finance, healthcare, or tech. Okta’s content assets can be re-assembled to create bespoke, on-brand experiences with minimal effort. With such a specific, targeted approach to B2B ABM, it’s no wonder Okta now counts companies like Nasdaq, Adobe, and 21st Century Fox among its customers.