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How to Create A Successful Account Based Marketing Strategy

In 2022, there are a plethora of strategies when it comes to marketing. Some marketing strategies offer new growth hacking techniques, some are the tried and true methods that stand the test of time. Some strategies range from guerrilla marketing to dark social to email marketing etc. Chances are with all of these strategies mentioned you might still be unfamiliar with ABM or account based marketing. Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy where marketing efforts are directly tied to the most relevant, pre-approved/defined customer accounts. This means that instead of targeting a mass market with general advertising campaigns, account-based marketers target specific accounts (i.e. customers with high potential) with tailored marketing efforts (highly personalized messaging). This is a sharp contrast from inbound marketing where you are targeting a very broad market and getting much higher volume.

Why Account Based Marketing?

Creating a successful account-based marketing strategy is no easy feat. It requires careful planning and execution, in order to develop and track customer behavior. ABM is a growth strategy in which marketing and sales work together to create personalized buying experiences for a select set of high value companies. This information can then be used to create targeted advertisements and send more relevant content to the customer’s account. In comparison to other marketing activities, 87 percent of B2B marketers now agree that ABM delivers greater return on investment. 92% of B2B marketers to consider it “extremely” or “very” important.

abm marketing example
Some seeds require a high touch approach to grow, some seeds respond to standard nurturing approaches.

Some Examples of Successful ABM strategies:

1. Restaurant Furniture Plus
Restaurant Furniture Plus is the largest supplier of high-quality restaurant furniture, with over 30,000 items from hundreds of manufacturers. Their former marketing strategy like most ecommerce stores relied on Google Adwords. They eventually leaned into account based marketing as they realized they were wasting more than half of their budget on irrelevant traffic. Deploying ABM they honed in on the niche of small growing restaurant chains specifically – as this was the lighthouse prospect that primarily needed their services. By using ABM and focusing purely on smaller, growing restaurant chains Restaurant Furniture Plus increased their average order size while retaining the customers that had multiple chains/locations. In essence they gained higher LTV (customer lifetime value) users by laser focusing and employing a meticulous ABM based strategy.

2. HealthLink Dimensions
Healthlink Dimensions has been a pioneer in supplying healthcare data services to hospitals, scientific firms, and insurers across the United States for more than twenty years. The largest multi-sourced, audited provider database is used by the company’s services. The goal of the Healthlink Dimensions ABM campaign was to tailor its messages to distinct decision makers in hospitals, life sciences, and health insurance. To provide even more targeted communication, they divided campaigns by persona and industry.

According to Nathan Lenyszyn, VP of Marketing he said ““We went to work identifying these target accounts and the individuals that these accounts that we wanted to run omni-channel campaigns to.”

3. Cody Bollerman Digital
Sound familiar? Well, that’s because number 3 plug is my consultancy personally. After all, it wouldn’t be right to list all the companies that have deployed ABM without sharing why I wrote the post in the first place. Cody Bollerman Digital is a boutique growth marketing consultancy, we primarily focus on SEO/SEM/Analytics for clients and I’ve had the pleasure of doing exceptional in the e-commerce space specifically with Shopify clients. My challenge and entry to ABM was that I was getting all types of clients; referrals, small local businesses and enterprise accounts. I realized my e-commerce clients were 1) easiest to retain (I can show ROI easily) and 2) best fit in terms of budget allocation (happy to scale, understand marketing costs) 3) most fun (I like to work with teams that are growth mindset vs large enterprises that take forever to execute. So we deployed an ABM approach and that increased our revenue 2.3x annually.

Here’s what we did:

  • Use an e-mail finder software like Viola Norbert to target specific e-mails of Shopify store executives (CEO, Owners, VP of Marketing, etc.)
  • Build content to personalize message specifically to these folks. I.E. We ran Adwords directly to our e-commerce case studies and on the messaging re-iterated that we were Shopify consultants specifically.
  • Integrated this e-mail list into the Ad platforms – Google & Facebook (now meta) so we were strictly focused on just these e-mails.

This ensured we had an air tight marketing campaign that did not give clicks or traffic to any accounts outside of our pre-defined list.

Account-based marketing is a marketing strategy that flips the old model on it’s head. It’s very tactical and more of a quality over quantity approach. In 2022, it is still relatively unused or unheard of when compared to that of “inbound marketing”. I first thought of this model when looking at the search fund model and how searchers target high net worth individuals to try to get backing. The search fund community is well versed on ABM however, no one their calls is this method. They are a great resource for to learn guerilla tactics to discover accurate e-mails lists, prospecting tools and much more. Also, be sure to visit HubSpot’s resource page to get more acquainted with Account Based Marketing. It is here, I am seeing innovative companies such as Circle (blockchain) seeking specific roles that are accustomed to ABM. Get on board if you haven’t yet.