The potential synergy between account-based marketing programs and content marketing offers enough potential to make any informed, savvy marketer excited, but many find the details of implementation a hurdle too high to overcome. One of the trickiest considerations when taking this opportunity in hand is content deployment; poorly handled, it can render the entire endeavor pointless, no matter how perfectly other aspects of execution are completed. To successfully and consistently deploy content within your account-based marketing program, we advise you to take the following steps.
Understand your goals with content
Before you release even a single piece of content within your ABM program, you must understand your goals with ABM. The point of ABM is to cut out the broadest, most inefficient segments of the funnel used in most approaches to content marketing, in favor of an approach laser-focused on a particular customer. Your goal, then, is to begin with content as precisely focused on the interests of your target organization as possible.
A strong majority of executives are willing to read through a cold email—if it’s about ideas relevant to their business. An overwhelming majority of prospects across all industries prefer content specific to their industry. In other words, if you’re making cold contact, you need to be hitting the right notes for their industry and business model, at the very least—anything else is a waste of time.
Altering your pipeline
In most cases, a business considering account-based marketing already has a worthwhile content development pipeline in place. For these organizations, the existing pipeline will remain largely unaltered—so long as it can supply the right content for ABM, it should be compatible with the other systems involved in a pipeline.
At the point of deployment is where ABM alters your pipeline, delivering content tailored to a targeted prospect organization’s personnel.
To lean on a metaphor, you can think of ABM systems as a weapons guidance system, turning the raw explosive potential of content into a high-precision instrument of marketing warfare.
Data and analytics
The crux of ABM, and why it is so efficient, lay of course in the difference in data quality. All content marketing depends upon data to offer a strong ROI, yet many marketing managers report difficulties in securing that data or analyzing it effectively. ABM works to correct this in two key ways:
- It narrows the field of focus immensely, to a particular target customer
- It brings sales and marketing together by necessity
This is crucial to keep in mind as you develop a deployment strategy, as you must maintain this benefit and make it as easy as possible to maintain quality of data. This means looping sales in on content, so they can understand and work with it when a primed prospect comes in as a lead.
This is also why it’s imperative that you use the right set of tools for ABM—your existing pipeline for content development may be fine, as may your basic deployment toolset, but to make it work in concert with the data necessary requires a special approach.
Putting your strategy into action
Once you’ve built a solid pipeline with the necessary tools in place for data collection, analysis, and communication between sales and marketing, you’ll need to put the system to work and see how it functions. Rather than overreacting to the unexpected, it’s best to thoroughly assess every problem you spot and carefully consider adjustments to make later. As a general rule of content, with or without ABM, you want to build a solid plan and follow it through to the end. Save adjustments for when you have more data.
One additional consideration
ABM content deployment essentially reverses the typical process of content marketing, filtering BEFORE marketing. To this end it focuses on specific accounts and the people behind the business name. This is very powerful as a marketer, but it comes with a particular pitfall—used improperly, it can feel invasive or manipulative.
It’s important that your content be designed to appeal to your target market as revealed by your ABM tools without crossing certain lines. A prospect may be intrigued by a piece of content highly relevant to their professional interests, but they won’t appreciate it if they feel as if you’ve pulled aside too many curtains. Use discretion in content development and deployment to avoid this.
It’s important to remember that this is but one part of the puzzle. Good deployment is necessary for success in account-based marketing, but it’s not something which will cover sins elsewhere. Maintain high quality content, pay attention to your data, and stay flexible. You don’t want your hard work here to go to waste any more than you want your hard work elsewhere to fail due to poor deployment.