In a world of ever-changing trends and tactics, it’s difficult to say with certainty what will stick – particularly when it comes to marketing. 2018 is a year when we’re beginning to see a handful of those so-called trends become mainstays in B2B marketing. We’ve put together some recommendations for B2B marketers to consider for the year ahead based on two major themes that have emerged in 2018 so far.
Putting ABM into Action
As the ABM success stories continue to add up, marketers are making the shift from talking about ABM to now integrating it into their overall sales and marketing strategy.
The recent eBook by Demandbase, “ABM is a Team Sport,” offers numerous first-person examples of how ABM has become a critical approach in B2B marketing for teams of varying sizes and industries. From advertising to events, implementation of an ABM approach has proven to not only improve alignment between sales and marketing, but to fill strategic holes, enable the delivery of more tailored, focused outreach, and to improve efficiency in terms of both time and money spent.
Certain’s Field Marketing Manager, Kent Martin, highlights the benefits that an ABM strategy has brought to live events, saying that “focusing my efforts on getting our brand message in front of a smaller list of key accounts — rather than the general public or blanket personas — has resulted in a noticeable amount of time saved, better allocation of event spend and a clearer way to pinpoint pipeline results from our efforts.”
The proof of ABM’s successes are in the numbers. The ABM Leadership Alliance’s report “ABM: State of the Market” reveals that companies implementing an ABM strategy see a 171% increase in Annual Contract Value from pre- to post-ABM periods. Additionally, 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe ABM as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach, with half citing significantly higher returns.
Using Data to Personalize the Attendee Experience
There’s no doubt that 2018 is the year of personalization, with a focus on attendee and/or customer experience and engagement at the core of marketing strategies in the new year. But with all the talk around personalization, as much (if not more) credit should be given to the data that enables it.
In a recent webinar, Certain’s VP of Marketing, Kristen Alexander, noted the significance of identifying and understanding attendees’ intentions as the basis of creating a personalized experience. By thinking in advance about an event’s strategy and the data points to capture, event marketers can collect the information needed to better understand the goals of their attendees.
“Attendees come to events to learn, make connections, and find new inspiration to benefit their businesses and organizations, and in the next year, this theme of personalization will be key in not only attracting audiences but capturing their attention.” says Alexander. “Personally, my hope is that 2018 becomes the year where marketers really start to leverage the power of data for real-time marketing during events, to further drive this theme of personalization.”
Alexander warns against getting too tied up in one aspect of the event cycle when developing an event marketing strategy, but rather to take a holistic approach. “Think of the event lifecycle in three phases: pre-event, during event and post-event. By capturing behavioral context across each phase, marketers can start to use data in more practical ways.” says Alexander. “For example, marketers can identify the prospects who express interest in a product by attending a relevant content session in conjunction with seeing a booth demo to determine those that have high purchase intent. They can then use that data to recommend a tailored agenda for the next day.”
The advantage that comes with capturing real-time intent data is the ability to execute real-time marketing. Why settle for the limited amount of data that comes from attendee registration? Knowing the topics, speakers, and sessions that attendees are interested in allows marketers to engage with them on a personal level, one that could set you apart from all the other names and faces that attendees interact with throughout an event.
While the internal benefits of an ABM strategy can include everything from greater team alignment to an overall efficiency increase, the external benefits lie in the potential to develop a more personal engagement with target accounts. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see the influence that an effective ABM strategy can have on a comprehensive, personalized experience for event attendees.
If data can be harnessed to drive personalization and meaningful engagement throughout the events cycle, then ABM can help to focus that data to create a clear path for marketers to see their goals come to fruition.
Marcela Ricci, Certain, Inc.