The future of ABM including trends, current analysis and the promise of the future. Read our recap here.

Today I spent the day at the Marketing Innovations Summit put on by Demandbase. A whole day discussing Account Based Marketing (ABM) including trends, current analysis and the promise of the future.

Here are some of the main insights I took away:

The Buyer’s Journey is a Fallacy

We all build content for the perfect buyer’s journey where customers follow a predictable pattern, increasing their thirst for information before finally committing to buying our products.

In this utopia, our customers start by seeing a print ad, then they go to our website, then we feed them display ads, then we send them content and get them into our nurture track, finally they might attend one of our field marketing events before committing to buying.

Well in reality, our potential customers all act different and enter into our designated journey at different stages.

So – what’ a marketer to do about this?!

Well, first AI can help us predict this type of behaviour and companies such as Salesforce will in the future be bringing out tools that can help us manage this process.

Secondly, this new Marketingforce (!!) is almost here and ready to roll! As partners for our clients, we have to help them make sure that each piece of the buyer’s journey is stand-alone and strictly adheres to the overarching messaging strategy. Meaning, we can’t develop campaigns that fail to tell our client’s whole story.

Without Sales & Marketing Alignment, ABM Initiatives will Fail

When I first started working in the advertising and creative world, the top titles were all Heads of Sales AND Marketing. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a shift towards the CMO and other marketing focused titles.

With the close collaboration required to make ABM Strategies successful, does that mean that from here on out, the top title will become the Chief Sales & Marketing Office, bringing everything together under one roof?

“There’s never been a better time to be a B2B marketer…”
Matt Senatore, Sirius Decision

Today – through ABM, we have become creators of VALUE within our organizations!

  • 3-5 years ago – we were seen as the lead gen people
  • 5-10 years ago – we were seen as party planners
  • 10-15 years ago – everyone assumed we were PR people
  • 15+ years ago – we were the Arts& Crafts department

The TriFecta of B2B Marketing

We like buzzwords in marketing. We like to know we’re innovating and getting better and smarter at what we do. And it is true, personalization has been important as a practice for over 20 years. However, it is only now that we have the tools and data to really make it work for us.

But our focus on ABM should not mean that we forget about demand gen. Or branding for that matter. As Byron Sharp points out in How Brands Grow, the only way for a brand to acquire marketshare is to go outside their existing users, to get new eyeballs.

The more I look at this, the more I think the following graph holds true.

Lastly, some stats provided in no particular order:

  • Based on data provided at today’s conference, each closed opportunity required on average 62 touches before being brought home… Sixtytwo!!?!
  • In traditional demand gen, 0.3% of activities result in actual flow-through
  • In 2017, 40% of B2B marketing budgets are allocated to ABM activities (including a 35% increase in agency spending to support these efforts)

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