The demise of third-party data has closed the door on some marketing opportunities, but opened new ones
Marketers are always on the search to find better methods to track the intentions and buying signals of their clients and prospects. Intent-based marketing campaigns have been a useful (if traditionally opaque) tool, but with the demise of third-party data simultaneously closing down and opening up new opportunities, where next for the industry?
We were curious to find out more, so we asked Izzie Rivers, founder and CEO of Realm, an agile B2B media and marketing agency, about this and other challenges facing marketers looking to execute a successful account-based marketing (ABM) programme.
We know that ABM is a useful acronym, but how would you define it from your perspective?
ABM has long been a core B2B tenet some form or another, and it can be used to define multiple above-the-line and below-the-line marketing activities. From our perspective it's a strategic approach that combines sales and marketing efforts to engage people in specific accounts and move them to action. ABM is all about working together across the business for successful revenue growth from account sales.
When is an ABM approach the best fit for clients?
ABM alignment for our clients is still growing rapidly for a reason. When architectured correctly, ABM illuminates the path to purchase across accounts - and what client doesn't want to measure the impact of their marketing on account sales? Aligning data across media deployment, events, leads, MAP, CRM and closed won gives a picture of what works and what doesn't. Personas still have their place, however buying committee interactions should certainly be considered within the context of the company that they are operating in.
How important is assessing content when formulating an ABM strategy?
Very. ABM provides the opportunity to get very granular with targeting, and modern technologies allow for very specific content syndication and personalisation journeys. Reducing conversion friction should always be top of mind, and we see better alignment between content topics and formats radically improve metrics every day. It's important to be realistic about the level of valuable content that you have access to, and work that as hard as possible. Relevant use cases, vertical customer stories and pain-point led thought leadership should be designed to work at any stage of the conversion experience.
How do tech clients ensure their ABM partner is abiding by data regulation?
All of our clients these days have very strict data privacy and protection policies in place. These are embedded in their Terms and Conditions, MSAs and contracts at every level. All agencies and vendors that work with them have to commit to these terms, so this provides for a cascade of commitment down the chain to deployment. It's part of our day-to-day life, and if new partners are brought into any activations they must reach the required criteria.
Do you see the demise of third-party data being a potential positive in terms of transparency of data for ABM programmes?
Our ABM programmes, particularly 1 to Many, have had to adapt to the cookieless world. There has always been a strategic balance between scale and accuracy when defining target account segments, and our current environment swings us further to the latter. This increased accuracy is certainly a positive, however we still rely on first-party data owners to be transparent with their data, in as much as GDPR or their subscription agreements allow.
There are four main routes that we take for future-proofed ABM:
- Closer partnerships directly with B2B vendors and publications, who can target accounts based on login details or subscription information. There are added benefits here in that we can still leverage intent, based on content consumption within that environment.
- For scaled campaigns we still see the best performance with account-based IP advertising, which is then validated via VPN or MAIDS.
- Social channels which capture business information from their community members, such as LinkedIn or Instagram/Facebook.
- Identity Graphs of first-party/publisher data which is tied to a unique/universal identifier that is permanent and persistent. This information can then be used to connect touch-points to an account-led buying committee.
Do you feel ABM is now being seen (and measured) by clients in terms of pipeline activity and how effectively do you think that is being monitored?
Our clients range across the ABM maturity growth curve, however all of them are prioritising pipeline measurement. That is after all, one of the key benefits of running a collaborative ABM effort. MAP and CRM systems are aligned to provide 3rd party or Salesforce dashboards, which clearly link display and lead generation efforts to target accounts that are prioritised in the system. This directs BDR and Sales teams to the most valuable behaviours, and impact is measured on account conversion. Clients who are seeing the most success are very clear on their KPIs across 1:1, 1:Few and 1:Many, and action those quickly.
Incisive Media has launched a new account based marketing platform to complement its existing demand generation programme. If you would like to find out more, do feel free to get in touch via email@example.com or here.