1. Account-based Approach To Content Marketing
The effectiveness of content marketing has led to a stellar rise in popularity and wholesale adoption of content creation, unfortunately, more often than not, with sporadic focus on the strategy underpinning it. This, in turn, has led to a deluge of poor quality, self-servicing content that is clouding rather than aiding the buyer decision-making process.
As organisations come to realise their investment in terms of time and resources is no longer achieving the same return, the more forward thinking will apply the principles of account-based marketing to their content strategy. They will personalise content to specific sectors and accounts; topics will become more targeted as organisations shift their objective from general awareness to account awareness; the content will feature as part of their ABM strategy; and Sales will become more involved in the distribution of content to both prospects and existing accounts as part of their sales strategy.
The distribution of content as part of a content marketing strategy will become more account-based as well, with organisations focusing their efforts and budgets on getting their content directly in front of their targeted accounts.
As account-based principles become the great unifier of an organisation’s content strategy, the potential is incredibly exciting. Not only will it lead to higher quality content but also to a higher ROI on content and content marketing. More importantly, it will deliver a more consistent customer experience, eliminating the contrasting and sometimes contradicting messaging and use of content between marketing, sales and account management.Account-based principles will become the great unifier of an organisation's content strategy. It will lead to higher quality content but also to a higher ROI on content and content marketing #abm #contentstrategy Click To Tweet
2. ABM Approach will Become More and Less Effective
There is already a difference of opinion in what constitutes account-based marketing. Some believe true ABM is not scalable beyond a handful of accounts whilst, at the opposite spectrum, others suggest that it can be applied to hundreds or even thousands (through programmatic ABM).
In 2018, the distinction between programmatic ABM and 1-to-1/1-to-few will become even more evident. Two reasons will feed this:
Technology – as technology vendors recognise the increasing popularity of ABM, they will turn their solutions to support ABM implementation with a promise to make it scalable and more affordable to achieve success.
Fear of Focus – one of the main challenges to ABM adoption is the fear of letting go of a broader market approach, instead putting fewer eggs in smaller baskets. Given the choice, many marketers will prefer the programmatic approach as they see it as less risky and more comfortable.
The new technology and fear of focus will result in a rise in the popularity of programmatic ABM, whilst simultaneously diluting its effectiveness, much the same as happened with social/inbound, SEO and email marketing before it. Personalisation will become automated, content will become more generic and distribution will take on volume, all the while losing relevance, resonance and value.
Organisations who resist the programmatic route to market will stand out even more in contrast. The higher levels of personalisation that 1-to-1 and 1-to-few requires and the more direct, controlled delivery of the message will increase the impact and result in higher ROI.Organisations who resist the programmatic route to ABM marketing will stand out even more in contrast. #abm Click To Tweet
3. Account Intelligence Data will Become the Differentiator
As every ABM practitioner knows, accurate contact data is essential for effective ABM. But as the popularity of ABM rises (and given that the deluge of content is only set to increase in 2018), data will become the big differentiator as it takes an active role in the strategy supporting ABM programmes.
Solutions providing account-based intelligence like Bombora and data providers like DiscoverOrg give organisations the ability to segment their target accounts based on intent data and install base. Predictive intelligence can also help identify the profile of accounts that are most likely ready to buy or, even more specific, willing to buy from you.
The ability to segment accounts based on the technology they are running and/or the interest they show in a possible product or topic can be immensely powerful as this knowledge allows the personalisation of message and content to deliver true relevance. It also enables organisations to tap into ongoing conversations.
A simple example of the impact of this kind of data would be a cloud platform provider. Knowing which of their target accounts are running an outdated competitor solution and actively showing interest in say ‘cloud migration’, can approach these accounts with highly relevant content on the opportunities that an upgrade to a new solution would enable. The content could focus on the ease of the migration process. And a case study of an organisation which migrated from a similar competitor solution would be much more convincing than a generic one. What it enables is highly relevant content that taps into an active conversation and provides real value to the audience and thus more likely to be received and consumed.
Access to this data, however, does not come cheap and therein lies the differentiator: a case of the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Although, the have-nots can rely on agencies who split the cost of these intelligence platforms across several clients. Gaining access to this type of data will give some a significant competitive advantage over others.
These are my 3 predictions for the influences that will affect account-based marketing in 2018 – a year of opportunities, a year of higher quality in content, a year of more relevance – especially as ABM becomes of age and the competitive fun really begins.
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