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Is ABX the Next Evolution of B2B Marketing?

Posted on Jun 14th, 2021
Written by Lee Odden
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    What is the next evolution of Account Based Marketing?

    ABM has gained much traction in the past few years and marketers have developed the kinds of best practices around ABM to make it one of the fastest growing innovations in the B2B mix. But what’s next?

    The business world has changed since the pandemic and B2B marketing has had to pivot, transform and evolve with a digital first focus. As Jon Miller, CMO at Demandbase (client) has said, “It’s time for the next evolution in B2B go to market strategies. We can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results.”

    Customer expectations and preferences have changed as well – not just during the buying journey, but across the entire customer lifecycle. It is with those changes that we can see new opportunities in B2B marketing. So, what do those new opportunities look like?

    Imagine taking the best practices of ABM and applying them across the customer lifecycle to provide data informed marketing experiences for customers. That’s where Account Based Experiences (ABX) comes in to play. Here’s a bit more on ABX from Jon Miller:

    “In many ways, Account Based Experience (ABX) is the next generation of Account Based Marketing. ABX is a fundamental customer centric rethinking of an account based go-to-market. One that combines that cool engageability of inbound marketing with the precision targeting of account based marketing. By doing this, ABX enhances every aspect of the buyers experience throughout the B2B lifecycle. It’s time for the next evolution in B2B go to market strategies. We can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results. Fortunately, this new model, new processes and new technology driven by AI and big data have emerged to show there is a better way.”
    Jon Miller
    Jon Miller 
    CMO at Demandbase

    To explore more about the topic of what’s next in ABM here are what some of the top B2B marketing pros have to say about the intersection of ABM and B2B customer experience:

    “As audiences have become more savvy, diverse, and informed, executives want more than to be talked to – they want an experience that feels both personal and authentic.  When we tie in the relevant insights that a customer cares most about, we can create the most impactful, relevant and memorable experiences. There is a strong correlation between CX and repurchasing, so an investment in insight to create relevant and impactful CX across the lifecycle of a customer will not only help sales close larger deals faster, but data suggest it also helps drive the most significant increase in long-term loyalty, which results in future repurchasing.

    Research shows that a modest improvement in CX (of a typical $1 billion software company) is expected to add an additional $1 billion in revenue over three years.

    Remember, ABM is a marathon, not a sprint. Actionable insight coupled with world-class CX will drive your bottom line and keep you in the race.”
    Gemma Davies
    Gemma Davies
    Senior Director of Global ABM & CXO at ServiceNow

    “Questions about the potential of data-driven marketing, the importance of full lifecycle marketing, and the role of ABM in overall B2B strategy are nothing new; we’ve asked them for decades. And the core principles of ABM haven’t changed since the early 2000s: Use deep client insight to generate relevant, compelling, and personalized messaging, experiences, and solutions that drive shared strategic value. The context has obviously changed dramatically, though, since we’re now swimming (or drowning!) in data and have powerful new tools to help find the essential signals in extremely noisy environments. So the big challenge now is investing enough to harness the data in the right ways while maintaining enough focus on the creative personalization and collaboration that truly stand out. The search for the perfect blend of art and science continues!”
    Rob Leavitt
    Rob Leavitt
    SVP Consulting at ITSMA

    “I think—or hope–ABM will prompt a shift in thinking from marketing motions to community-building. The promise of better data is to create that Netflix-like experience customers have come to expect and enjoy from services they subscribe to. But that’s the trick; in order for marketers to accord with GDPR, customers must opt in, and when they don’t, that Netflix-like experience eludes us. So we must offer them so much value that they elect to join a community. Community-building is quite a different enterprise from pushing content to marketable contacts, and the good news is that it benefits marketers and target audiences equally well.”
     Stephanie Losee
    Stephanie Losee
    Global Head of Content, ABM at Autodesk

    “With the growing demand for privacy and depreciation of third-party cookies by 2022, B2B marketers need to figure out new ways of managing behavior-based audiences and retargeting campaigns that do not rely on browser cookies. For example:

    • Intent data using keywords and context will continue to gain importance in customer lifecycle marketing
    • Publishers will have to start providing better targeting options for direct buys that could potentially get to account-level data. That is if they are able to collect that level of detail from their audiences
    • IP-based targeting is probably the most accurate way of finding your target accounts. Unfortunately, with the growth of popularity of the remote workforce, this option too will become less reliable over time
    • Advertisers will continue growing their own 1st party databases to be able to target them through all channels, including email, push notifications, social (where targeting by account is allowed), and beyond.”
      Masha Finkelstein  @masha3003
      Marketing Technology Innovation and Best Practices at Intuit

    “ABM marketers have always known that data is core to driving impact and customer engagement. As data and technology get better daily, marketers need to learn how to best apply data to enable insights. Marketers should first use data to build messaging that is centered on the customer and their pain points and is in their words. Then, they need to ensure sales is enabled with those key insights and messaging, to ensure consistency and alignment. Once that foundation is built, marketers can drive ABM programs to targeted audiences aligned with the right content offer, at the right time and in the right place. But without getting the messaging core right and alignment with sales first, it’s hard to drive a strong, meaningful customer experience where ABM succeeds…even with all the data in the world.”
    Kerri Vogel
    Kerri Vogel
    Vice President, Global Campaigns at Ellucian

    “ABM has defied the cynics to become established as mainstream B2B, with most B2B brands doing it, trialling it or at least considering it. But that means its becoming more competitive and harder to stand out and be effective, which in turn means you need to make your data work harder to deliver genuine insights to facilitate engaging experiences – throughout the customer journey and lifecycle. Brands ability to leverage data will define those who win and lose with ABM in 2021 and beyond.”
    Joel Harrison
    Joel Harrison
    Editor-in-chief at B2B Marketing

    “An accurate, complete set of company and contact records is essential to ABM success. When focusing on a limited universe of high-potential accounts, we need to know everything we can about our targets. At the account level, we need to understand their needs, how they buy, and who is involved in the purchase decision. At the contact level, we must learn their buying role, their job function and as much as we can about their interests and behaviors. The more accessible the data to marketers, the more effectively we can craft relevant, persuasive communications and generate business.”
    Ruth Stevens
    Ruth Stevens
    President at eMarketing Strategy

    “To do ABM well, you need to bend the sales odds in your favor. The best way to bend the odds is to utilize customer data you collect over time and deliver a seamless customer experience (CX). That is it!

    If you want to target your buyers successfully, you need to study them. Understand what they do on your website and your marketing channels, make an effort to anticipate their next move or their future intentions. Then, create a great CX to facilitate the purchase stage of your target accounts. I always tell my clients that you need to be a marketing detective if you want to maximize account-specific outreach. Again, use your data and customer experience to your advantage.”
    Pam Didner
    Pam Didner
    B2B Marketing Consultant at Pam Didner

    More than ever, the experiences businesses deliver to customers from high level awareness to purchasing to retention are essential for businesses to succeed. According to Demandbase, Account Based Experience (ABX) uses data and insights to orchestrate relevant, trusted marketing and sales actions throughout the B2B customer lifecycle. ABX is rooted in an intense focus on the customer experience at every stage of the buying cycle using intelligent insights to know when and how to engage and what to say to each account.

    To dig even deeper into the world of Account Based Experiences be sure to check out the new Clear and Concise Guide to ABX by Jon Miller, CMO at Demandbase. This book is a comprehensive treatment of the ABX discipline with insights on strategy, practical advice for best practices, operations, organization and measurement.

    If virtual events are more your style, then be sure to check out The ABXperience June 16th which will cover all things ABX including how to build trust with potential buyers, identify magic moments when customers are open to engaging, and orchestrate the perfect interactions.