Commentary

B2B Personalized Account Strategies

According to the Account Based Marketing Trends paper from Oracle, Account-Based Marketing (ABM ) is poised to become a much bigger deal for B2B marketers in 2017. B2B marketers will look to account based data to unify and improve marketing efforts across channels and devices. ABM data will go one step further, laying the groundwork for unifying customer workflows across the data-driven enterprise, says the report. 

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The increasing interest in ABM (B2B marketing strategies that consider individual accounts and communicates with each one in a specific manner) is closely tied to the larger trend toward more targeted and personalized marketing. In B2C, this is people-based marketing, while in B2B, targeting and personalization are often done at the account level. The rise of ABM empowers B2B marketers to take a more data-driven, customer-centric approach to their marketing than ever before.

The paper summarizes three “must watch” ABM trends that will gain traction in 2017 and reshape B2B marketing for years to come, says the report. At its core, ABM is a data strategy. It has the potential to provide a unified foundation of insights that reaches across marketing channels, across the customer lifecycle, and even across functional groups within an organization.

An account-based data foundation allows B2B marketing to become more “data-driven” and deliver relevant experiences when targeting business buyers at whatever stage they are in the path to purchase. 80% of marketers report that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments, winning new customers and quickly reacting to market changes, says the report.

A closer look at three account-based marketing trends which will reshape B2B marketing in 2017 and beyond, from the Oracle Paper:

B2B marketers will increase their focus on programmatic

The business buyer’s journey has become increasingly digital, says the report. Forrester refers to this trend as the rise of the “Self-Educating Buyer.” Forrester believes “Today’s buyers control their journey through the buying cycle much more than today’s vendors control the selling cycle.” B2B marketers know that a strong digital strategy is key to staying top of mind with today’s B2B buyer, yet B2B targeting solutions have historically lagged behind market needs. Robust programmatic ABM solutions have recently become available and B2B marketers are moving quickly to adopt them.

Leveraging programmatic technology along with ABM data enables a wide range of data-driven digital marketing use cases. Furthermore, third-party insights can help paint a richer picture of who is engaging with your marketing and demonstrating intent for your solutions, notes the report.

B2B marketers will use data and analytics to optimize account lists and segment them.

Salespeople are still a critical part of selling complex enterprise solutions. Perhaps this is why organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams report achieving revenue goals faster, opines the report. (According to Sirius Decisions, B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period.)

Most B2B marketers are aware that internal alignment is a key benefit of ABM; what is talked about less is that this trend is driving Marketing to take a more prominent role in defining target account lists and driving go-to-market strategy. In some cases, marketers will simply request an account list from Sales to use as a baseline for their ABM strategy.

According to Forrester, 86% of marketers believe predictive analytics is central to ABM success. However, more often marketers look to vendors for help. Not only do they have established methodologies for analyzing historical win/loss data, they also aggregate massive amounts of third-party data to help spot new accounts that “look like” your best customers.

Some predictive analytics partners go one step further, aggregating digital signals that indicate when an account is in-market and where they currently are on their path to purchase, says the report. These capabilities not only yield an optimized account list, they allow marketers to segment and tailor messaging to an account’s purchase stage for maximum relevance and influence.

Unified customer Experience

Account-based data will form the common language between marketing channels and functional groups that unifies the customer experience, says the report.

B2B marketers know that providing a consistent customer experience improves marketing impact and it’s only growing in importance. Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human.  Channel and device fragmentation have historically prevented marketers from delivering coordinated, consistent customer experiences, says the report. Recent advances in Programmatic ABM are now bringing the vision of a unified customer experience within reach.

The benefits to customer experience don’t end with coordinated marketing. Account-based data has surfaced as the connective tissue connecting previously siloed groups within the enterprise, says the report. Weaving marketing programs into this common language will provide real-time, actionable customer data critical to creating seamless experiences across the full customer lifecycle.

Soon, in addition to Sales, teams like Customer Success, Commerce, Channel Marketing and others will benefit from account-based insights generated by ABM programs, concludes the report. Likewise, we’ll see broader organizational inputs begin to flow to Marketing, which will further inform the customer experience.

For additional information from Oracle on Account Based Marketing, please visit here.

 

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