B2b Marketing: People-Based Within Account-Based Marketing
If we remember the research conducted in 2017 on B2B buyer behavior that says 71 percent of buyers conducted anonymous research during the first three months, imagine the ever-rising percentage of customers post pandemic.
Today, more than ever, an adequate and empathic dynamic is required that allows buyers or investors to understand the value, share the end goal a company can offer before they decide to invest in the solution.
For many years, one of the most adopted marketing strategies has been Account-based marketing(ABM), which focuses on identifying companies or accounts that are potential clients, establishing a coordinated and personalized experience with those (groups of) companies to create or identify needs for the sale of a product. While this approach is already more targeted than generic B2B multi-channel marketing, let us pause and think for a moment. Would it be even better to identify the person within those accounts? What if we can connect existing marketing technologies to run People-based Marketing (PBM) for B2B businesses? The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me. First, B2B purchasing journeys are never linear, according to By Alice Chiu, Director, Head of Marketing, Stratasys B2B MARKETING: PEOPLE-BASED WITHIN ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING | | AUGUST 2022 9 CIOReview research done and presented by Gartner. However we wish leads will be nurtured and touched for 7 times before it turns into an opportunity and move from stage one to stage five within three months, let’s face it—customers are moving at their own pace, not ours. And taking into consideration the different job roles, decision-making power, and thus different concerns, it appears that making the right content available at the right time to the right person becomes the next winning move in B2B marketing.
The second winning move, again in response to the same article by Gartner, is driving information to enable buyers to complete buying jobs. While top-funnel content prompts the reader to resonate their own business challenges, mid and bottomfunnel content shall help the reader understand what to do and how to do it—not only on steps relevant to the product but the whole sales cycle from selection to procurement (mind you,investing in a new solution does require a full internal business proposal in many occasions before the budget is approved).
"Making the right content available at the right time to the right person becomes the next winning move in B2B marketing"
But. Imagine, what if marketing technology can track a person’s purchasing journey within his or her organization, map the right content at the time of the keyword search, webpage visited, or videos watched, with an accuracy of 95 percent? Coupled with an automated and consistent approach, the impact shall be exponentially huge.
That said, getting all the details of an automated PBM can be drastically discouraging as well because one more step down the research equals probably a few more steps of mapping in addition to new tool learning and adoption. And that may be why we have only seen few successful cases so far (or perhaps it is just that I’m not exposed to the many more out there).
Since resources are available online for people-based marketing step-by-step, I shall focus on sharing some insights based on experience.
And my first recommendation here—is to ensure you have a steady source of inbound demand before you start running an account or people-based marketing campaign, as the effort put into a targeted campaign can be huge; and that return on investment may not be yielded until a few months or even quarters afterward.
Make sure your website is properly tagged, and nurturing campaigns are well set up to keep engaging potential customers on top of any additional investment in paid media.
Second, owning a first-party database is crucial to the success of a people-based marketing campaign. When data can be identified and segmented.
Build a list of job titles, keywords of targeted accounts, identify different stages of customer journey and buying cycle to the best of your research and understanding, and lastly, map the information that your targeted audience may find relevant. Do this a couple of rounds to fill in the blanks in your first-party database, fine-tune your process by leveraging new solutions such as ActiveCampaign or Acxiom, customized dripping campaigns, and creative media to establish the best cadence for communication.
Ensure all dots are connected so that you can know first-hand who is responding to the display ad, reading respective content, or even visit a website. That is, the name of the person, their contact details, preferences, the company where he works are known, just when he interacts with certain content.
And it is possible only with good, first-party data that will allow prospects to enjoy the most customized digital experience, showing them what they want when they want it.
Eventually, marketing is about telling the right message to the right person to generate interest and share knowledge. In a B2B world where purchasing is considered an investment rather than an impulsive act in the B2C environment, product value is of utmost importance.
That said, marketing can help speed up the process, clarify proposition, and deliver product vision. And the combination of PBM and AI can no doubt take that further in a more systematic and targeted approach. What B2B marketers may need to work on is choosing the most suitable tool for your company. While some companies need higher customizable features in the martech solution, others may be looking for ease of integration for instance. After all, marketing is not only about the story you tell, it’s about how (much) your story resonates to your target audience.