Content for your ABM strategy; how to unearth those hidden gems

By Paul Trotter - 28th March 2018

You’ve started planning your Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy. You’ve defined your list of target accounts. Perhaps you’ve done some data-driven research to help you determine the right accounts, maybe even employing predictive analytics to help perfect that list. So, what do you do next to make sure your ABM campaign works at an optimum level?

Ultimately, even if you’re happy with your target account list and confident in the MarTech that will run your campaign, your entire strategy rests on one vital cog in your ABM machine; your message. And, taking that a step further, how your message is brought to life through content and creative delivery. With the best will in the world, even if you’ve done everything else right, your marketing (ABM or otherwise!) isn’t going to work unless your content resonates with the audience.

It can be quite daunting. You’ve spent years building up a content library with assets that are often designed to be relevant to a broad audience. Everything from eBooks, whitepapers, infographics and webinars to website copy, social assets, banners and anything else you’ve produced to engage potential customers.

But now, looking at your new target account list, you realise there’s an opportunity to engage them with content that resonates on a company or even individual level. So, what do you do?

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. There are a number of things you can do to make your existing content work harder for your shiny new target account list. And it all starts with understanding what you already have.

So, what’s next? Here’s one approach that may help.

Your ABM content audit.

“Let’s start reviewing our content…” is a perfectly reasonable thing to say when you want to kick off a content audit. But diving straight into the process of reading, reviewing, watching and listening to dozens, hundreds or even thousands of assets is a risky business unless you’ve done your due diligence first. And by due diligence I mean getting under the skin of the audience.

That means digging deep into your personas. You need to consider multiple things to help decide whether your existing content is right for your ABM accounts, including;

  • Job title
  • Where the persona sits in the decision-making unit (DMU)
  • Who influences them
  • Who they influence
  • At which stage of the buying cycle they are relevant
  • What content they engage with
  • …even details about their likes and dislikes outside of work!

Unfortunately, information like this tends not to be presented in an easily digestible format on a LinkedIn profile. Social channels are certainly useful to add flavour to your ABM personas, but you also need insight from a variety of additional sources – your sales team, your marketing team, analysts, 3rd-party data sources and more – to form a well-rounded view of your target personas.

Pain points and opportunities

If your personas are up to scratch, you now have a clear view of the people you are trying to reach. Ideally, it will explain what drives them, and even what their priorities are at each stage of the buying cycle. What questions are they likely to ask, what problems do they have that need to be solved? How can you help them?

Now you have something tangible to judge your existing assets against. You can start to make a call on whether that whitepaper you produced a couple of months ago, or that infographic that’s been sitting unused for two years, actually work for specific personas at specific accounts. And if so, at which stage of the buying cycle might they be relevant?

Content scoring

“This eBook is perfect, but this infographic is definitely wrong…” are words that occasionally come from the lips of the strategists here at Pulse. The reality is the vast amount of content sits somewhere in between.

So, rather than taking a binary approach (“this asset works, this doesn’t”) you may want to consider scoring your content to see at which end of the scale each asset sits.

I could go into some detail about how we “score” content at Pulse, but let’s save that for another blog post. The main thing is someone (or a team of people) with experience in your service or solution, a firm grip on your audience/personas and an understanding of what makes “good content” should go through your assets.

And probably all of your assets. There are no shortcuts – believe me, I’ve looked for them! Yes, you could look at your most recent content, or perhaps content marked with a specific keyword. But who’s to say a new lick of paint on something that was produced three or four years ago couldn’t be used for your brand-new ABM campaign?

This is the thing we see most often when running a content audit to support an ABM campaign. Yes, the odd asset jumps out that’s exactly the right fit for a target account. But dig a little deeper, and typically we’ll find a vast treasure trove of assets that are nearly perfect.

An updated headline here, a new introduction there, adding some keywords, tweaking the design…. repurposing an existing asset to make it just right for your new list of target accounts can be a relatively simple job.

Before long, you’ll have a well populated matrix matching content to personas and target accounts, and highlighting where the real gaps are. It may be the case that the insight you’ve gained on your target audience will mean new assets are required to make your ABM content strategy work effectively. But going through a properly planned content audit should help you get the most out of what you already have.

You may not need to go through everything in depth – sometimes it’s obvious from the headline and intro that a piece of content isn’t going to work. It also makes sense for one person to own the project – a single pair of eyes overseeing everything is the only way to ensure consistency.

Performing a content audit before you activate your ABM campaign is a must. If you’ve gone to the trouble of using first and third-party data, internal expertise and other resources to define an account list, why waste that insight on unremarkable, generic content?

Category: Insight

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