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ABM is maturing, here are some tools to help build successful campaigns in 2019

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If you visit the same restaurant you’ve gone to for years, there’s probably a waiter who knows your name. They stop by, welcome you back and ask how your family is doing – and instead of asking for your order, they just bring it to the table. And the friends that came with you to this restaurant for the first time? They’re impressed.

Now imagine you’re going to a restaurant for the first time and you have that same experience. You haven’t had to show up for years to build this rapport, because they’ve done the hard work of finding out who you are and what you like. There’s a high likelihood that you’ll talk about that experience. And there’s a high likelihood that you’ll become a regular customer. That’s what a prospect experiences when an account-based marketing (ABM) campaign is executed successfully.

ABM is more than a trend

As a marketer, you’ve probably heard the term “ABM” by now. Forrester’s 2017 Q1 International B2B Marketing Panel Online Survey showed that 36 percent of companies had an established practice of ABM. That figure nearly doubled in the same survey this year, reporting that 61 percent of companies in 2018 now have a mature program, and Forrester’s Q1 2018 Global B2B Marketing Benchmark Panel Online Survey revealed that mature ABM programs correlate to exceeding revenue goals.

ABM is often described as fishing with a spear instead of fishing with a net. It allows you to focus on the top 20 percent of accounts that can actually drive profitable revenue growth, which means spending less time on developing generic content and instead focusing your energy on specific, personalized content – content that actually has a chance of capturing someone’s attention in a busy sea of noise. ABM provides marketers a chance to succeed in highly competitive markets and even accelerate the sales cycle.

Yet ABM can pose some challenges, especially as the program is in its early experimentation phases. Forrester surveys report that common early ABM challenges include everything from creating personalized content to getting a prospect to engage with it, and even measuring whether the program is working at all.

So how do you move over the hump of early experimentation and into maturity? It’s about having the right tech mix.

ABM tools to help you execute successfully

As the practice of ABM is maturing, so are its tools. Forrester’s 2018 Q2 Report on the top ABM tools shows that different platforms have different focuses and core competencies, but the majority are either planning on rolling out additional features or going through mergers to offer more. While the landscape is growing, Forrester recommends taking a look at any gaps in these four areas when you select ABM tools:

1. Account selection and intelligence: Do you have the right tools in place to track the high impact accounts for your bottom line? This includes not only identifying these companies, but also selecting key decision makers within those organizations to focus your efforts.

  • Premium tools: Advanced tools like Clearbit, Crayon, LeanData or ZoomInfo will combine sales and marketing data to help identify what works and what doesn’t, help you choose prospects worth pursuing, and provide you with the intelligence to make that first touch effective.
  • Just getting started? Take a look at your existing CRM, which may have some of the capabilities you need, like the ability to consolidate insights from your lists of existing and prospective customers. Additional tools to help launch an ABM program include Leadspace, Demandbase and LeanData.

2. Account engagement: When you’ve done your planning and execute that first touch, do you have the tools to deploy it on the right channel? This can be anything from direct mail to social media, or even a combination of different channels. In this category, it’s worth focusing your energy on the channel tools that will most likely match where your target prospects prefer to hear from you. An effective email tool won’t help you reach prospects on social media.

  • Premium tools: Demandbase, FeedOtter, RollWorks, Sendoso and Sprout Social all help you distribute personalized content at scale. Some of these are channel-specific, and others are more flexible across channels.
  • Just getting started? Social media channels can be a very basic way to begin ABM efforts. Early supplementary tools include Terminus and PFL, and tools like Demandbase, Sendoso and even LinkedIn can help position you early on to grow a successful program in the long-term.

3. Orchestrate interactions: Your ABM tools should provide you with the flexibility to transform marketing automation into personalized content delivery without losing the ability to scale your efforts. This will help you take a prospect from a stranger all the way through to a customer.

  • Premium tools: Frontify allows you to keep things consistently branded at scale, while tools like Outreach, Engagio, PathFactory (formerly LookBookHQ) and Uberflip provide automation and engagement tools.
  • Just getting started? 6Sense, Marketo and Outreach can provide you with automation tools that position you for program growth.

4. Measurement and reporting: ABM success relies on the level of insights and analytics you can piece together over user interactions. This includes everything from basic contact information to predictive analytics, purchase intent and advanced behavioral analysis.

  • Premium tools: Pardot, Oracle / Eloqua and Marketo all give you advanced customer data and the ability to measure interaction at scale.
  • Just getting started? Your existing CRM combined with Google Analytics can give you a basic palette to start painting with. Demandbase and LeanData are tools you can layer on to start measuring at a deeper level.

ABM allows you to engage the right buyers, reach them more efficiently and effectively, increase deal sizes, shorten the sales cycle and even grow the lifetime value (LTV) of customers through a high level of personalization. First impressions last a lifetime, and the right tech stack will help you to engage new prospects with the right content in the moments that matter.

The post ABM is maturing, here are some tools to help build successful campaigns in 2019 appeared first on Marketing Land.

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When it comes to customer analytics, you need to be all-in

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One would be hard-pressed to find anyone in a company that didn’t believe that customers are critical to success. But at the same time, you might find that the same customer-focused people don’t really know much about their own customers in the first place, or that their understanding is limited to their specific domain. In a data-rich world, this lack of holistic insight is not only unforgivable – it’s unprofitable.

Go big or go home

McKinsey published a study a few years ago looking at the value of customer analytics. At the time, they raised concern around the fact that the perceived value of customer analytics was “declining, rather than growing.” Paradoxically, companies that relied heavily on customer analytics were twice as likely to perform better when measured on metrics ranging from profit and sales to ROI.

The catch? It was the heavy users of customer analytics, those that deployed tools extensively through their organization that reaped the benefits. Just dabbling in the analytics or deploying tools to a few departments was akin to not even trying. It seems that there is a minimum threshold, or perhaps critical mass before the effect of customer analytics can be felt. Also, the research discovered that having tools alone was not enough. A data-driven culture that can incorporate these insights is necessary to benefit from analytics in the first place.

What does fully-committed really mean?

Obviously, companies work hard to ensure that their departments have the customer information they need to do their job. For example, a customer service rep is taught to deal with irate customers who have issues with their products. Marketers build up customer models often populated by tracking and monitoring web activity in the hope of uncovering purchase intent. And so on.

There is a subtle problem here. In the same way that companies can’t just dabble in customer analytics, they also can’t afford to create isolated pockets of customer analytics within each department. For starters, each team will be limited by the customer data that it collects. Even the advanced data analytics capabilities of modern marketing tools are effectively limited to web data that they can collect from potential customers interacting with blogs, advertisements and emails.

To truly develop a holistic customer model, companies must integrate many different data sources. A richer model should at a minimum include data the following sources:

  • Sales (CRM)
  • Billing
  • Finance
  • Marketing (social, blogs, campaigns, etc.)
  • Customer support
  • Operations

By separating customers into fully distinct groups that rely on multi-dimensional considerations, a company can define unique strategies to target these customers. For example, it makes sense to go after high-revenue customers. Layering in profitability might split these high-revenue customers into high-profitability and low-profitability groups. Layering in sales funnel data to the high-revenue / high-profitability group might further expose customers that take a long time to close vs. those that close within weeks. And so on… The point here is that the addition of a new data source from each department leads to a much more useful understanding of the customer that can in turn be deployed across all teams. This is the essence of being fully-committed to customer analytics.

What next?

To really benefit from customer analytics, first develop a holistic model of your customer that integrates data from as many sources as possible. But insight alone is not enough. Each department within your company must be willing and capable to act on this insight. This involves leadership in incubating and maintaining a data-driven culture. It also involves efforts to ensure that you have appropriate data infrastructure in place to get insights to your employees when they need it.

It’s not easy – without a full commitment to customer analytics you risk wasted effort. But the rewards are worth it.

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Mind the GDPR Generational Gap!

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DIGITAL NATIVES MOST EMPOWERED BY DATA RIGHTS

A new study by data specialists Wilmington Millennium reveals that Millennials and Generation Z are the most empowered age groups when it comes to protecting their personal information. Sixteen to thirty-four year olds are the most likely to act on the powers afforded to them by GDPR.

Almost half (48 per cent) of Generation Y and Z have taken some action since GDPR was introduced last May, including requesting their personal information is deleted by an organisation, finding out what personal data is held on them by an organisation or contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to make a complaint. By comparison only a quarter of Generation X and a third of Boomers have taken similar steps.

Millennials are most likely to ask for their information to be deleted, with one in three saying that they have already done this. This rises to one in five for the rest of the population. Generation Z are the most likely to both request a data audit (15 per cent compared to an average of nine per cent) and complain to the ICO with 18 per cent saying they had contacted the Information Commissioner to register a data breach or data processing concern. This compares to just 7.5 per cent for the remainder of the population.

Boomers were the least likely to take any action with only one per cent saying that post GDPR they had contacted the ICO, three per cent claiming that they had contacted a business to find out what information is held on them and 15 per cent requesting that their information was removed from a marketing database.

Comments Karen Pritchard, Director, Wilmington Millennium:

“It is interesting that it is the younger generations that are actively protecting their personal information, rather than the older age groups who have been campaigning for greater control over their data rights for years. The discrepancy between the ages groups is significant – for instance 18 per cent of Generation X versus one per cent of Boomers making a complaint to the ICO. Despite this, it shows that GDPR is having a positive impact with consumers becoming increasingly data savvy. This is a good thing as our research shows that the majority of people now believe that marketing communications are better than they were prior to the 25thMay 2018.”

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Marketers react to Gartner finding: Martech spending now exceeds staff costs

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Marketers are now spending more on marketing technology than on salaries for internal staff.

That’s a key finding in the recent Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2018-2019, which surveyed UK- and U.S.-based senior marketing executives.

Marketers spent 29 percent of their budgets (not including media spend or agency fees) on martech last year, while allocating 24 percent of their resources to paying staff. In 2017, the percentages stood at 22 and 27 percent, respectively.

‘No surprise’

The main beneficiaries of this spending were digital analytics, content management and email marketing tools, making martech what Gartner called the “single largest area of investment when it comes to marketing resources and programs.” The top three marketing capabilities cited in the survey were marketing/customer analytics, marketing technology acquisition and use, and customer experience.

“Marketing leads are focused on building their analytics and martech capabilities because they’re the muscle groups that need the most development,” HubSpot VP and MarTech Conference program chair Scott Brinker posted about the report. But, he added, the whole purpose of this development is to move toward the objectives of customer acquisition and retention.

“It’s no surprise,” Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi told me via email. She noted that a study by her company, which serves companies using open source content management software Drupal, found that 62 percent of global marketers plan to spend more on martech over the next 12 months, in part to simplify the current complexity of connecting systems and data to deliver good customer experiences.

‘Tremendous race to understand data’

Phil Ahad, EVP of Strategy and Products at online survey provider Toluna, said that enterprises — such as those favored in the Gartner report — have “a lot more room to reduce costs” of staff salaries through marketing technology than do smaller companies, which are leaner.

“I’m not at all surprised” at the Gartner finding, David Frankel, managing partner of sales and marketing consultancy Slingstone Group, told me. He’s the former CMO of financial data firm Edgar Online and of alternative lending company Tapify.

Both from his personal experience and from observing the marketplace, he said, it’s clear there’s a “tremendous race to understand the data around customer experience.”

In 2011 and 2012, he said, marketers started talking about Big Data, but efforts were mostly focused on harnessing and structuring it.

“People didn’t fully understand what you could do with the data,” he added, noting that we’ve since begun to focus on using data to support customer experience through the targeting of individuals with messages, best offers and streamlined processes.

‘A game of catch up’

Now, there is a greater understanding among marketers that they need analytical and implementation tools to improve experience through a better understanding of customer data, he said.

“It’s a game of catch up” based around data, he added.

Frankel said that he didn’t believe this increased spending on martech will fall off over the next year. “We’re seeing a new status quo,” he said, especially since AI needs a growing infrastructure to capture, clean, manage and feed quality data, and since SaaS services involve ongoing subscriptions.

Bayer VP of Media Strategy and Platforms Josh Palau agreed that this emphasis on martech spending “is probably where the industry is going,” in large part because many marketing services are purchased in the cloud, through software as a service offerings.

In his previous stint at Johnson & Johnson, he recalled, obtaining a social listening service subscription added a substantial capacity that required very little commitment in terms of internal staffing. Palau said “maybe two people” were involved in using the subscription at the brand.

Much of his internal staff these days is focused on strategy and management, he noted, since cloud-based services are used to meet needs that once would have required significant internal personnel. Even though Bayer is working to bring all digital media in house, he said, there will still be an ongoing need for the outside cloud-based services.

“It’s a lot easier to change platforms than to change staff,” he pointed out.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

The post Marketers react to Gartner finding: Martech spending now exceeds staff costs appeared first on Marketing Land.

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