A lot has been said about Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and the value it can drive for B2B companies. When it comes to its implementation, you will find a tremendous amount of content on this subject – implementation guides, blogs, articles, podcasts and even ebooks on developing an ABM strategy from scratch.
All the above resources offer a lot of learning. They also provide the sales and marketing teams with overarching guidance on targeting high-value accounts.
However, we here at xGrowth wanted to take it a step further. We strongly felt there was a need to shed light on some of the best-in-class tactics and Account-Based Marketing examples.
Speak to an expert about rolling out or scaling Account-Based Marketing in your business.
The reasons for this are straightforward: First, demonstrate to B2B marketers what effective strategies look like. Then, provide them with ideas they can draw inspiration from to accelerate their Account-Based Marketing journey.
This article will discuss four Account-Based Marketing tactics, each with a corresponding example.
As a bonus, we have included five additional examples of notable Account-Based Marketing case studies in the notable case studies section.
Below is a quick table of contents for this blog!
- Tactic 1: Winning over target account stakeholders with direct mail campaigns
- Tactic 2: Creating engagement with personalised events
- Tactic 3: Wowing the customer with the power of next-gen technologies such as AR/VR
- Tactic 4: Making your account-based marketing campaigns more efficient with specialised ABM platforms
- Other Notable Case Studies and Example
Tactic 1: Winning over target account stakeholders with direct mail campaigns
Why are Direct Mail Campaigns Relevant for Account-Based Marketing Strategy?
It might be hard to believe at first, but direct mail is the most potent weapon in the arsenal of a B2B marketing and sales team.
This tactic may seem counterintuitive in a world where marketing efforts revolve around social media and online content experiences, but direct mail can surprise you. The ROI on such campaigns can be huge, with returns up to 20 times in some cases.
Yes, digital channels are essential. An SEO-optimised website, a campaign-specific landing page, personalised emails, ads and blog posts make up the bulk of every marketing approach. However, with direct mail, you can differentiate your campaigns effectively.
If done right, a direct mail campaign can charm prospects into at least giving you a meeting and providing that "additional push" to the sales cycle. If you feel that we are making a subjective statement, here is a collection of some data points:
As previously mentioned, direct mail is a highly effective tactic. Now, let's explore when and how it should be used.
How and When to use Direct Mail in Account-Based Marketing Efforts?
The three tiers of Account-Based Marketing can be used as filtering criteria for deploying or not deploying direct mail. From a purely logical standpoint, the tactic makes sense for one-to-one and one-to-few ABM strategies.
Here are some scenarios where you can use direct mail campaigns:
- Your sales team is trying to expand into an existing account but hasn't been able to get the buying committees' attention (one-to-one)
- The sales team wants to create some initial awareness about the company's product and services before reaching out to the prospects in key accounts (one-to-few)
- You are targeting the top 5 or 10 companies in a particular industry, and you have a list of decision-makers whose attention you want (one-to-few)
- You have an ongoing ABM campaign that started to reap results, and now you want to take it to the next level by creating more buyer engagement.
The above list of use cases is not comprehensive, but they should serve as a reference to gauge the need for direct mail campaigns.
Irrespective of how you manage your Account-Based Marketing activities, be it in-house or outsourced to an agency, there are dedicated vendors who can execute and take this journey with you. If you have researched the prospects and their companies, their likes and dislikes, and have nailed down the messaging, then execution should be straightforward.
Direct mail + Account-Based Marketing case studies
xGrowth's direct mail campaign to generate meetings for an Australian technology company specialising in Citrix
The first case study is something we ran for one of our clients here at xGrowth.
The organisation we were working with wanted to get the attention of CIOs and CISOs of their target accounts. Being in the cyber security space, the campaign messaging was twofold; the first aspect was about starting a conversation around securing hybrid and remote workspaces in the post-pandemic world. The second angle was to point out the silos between IT and the security teams.
After talking to the sales reps at the organisation and doing our research, we published a guide for enterprise security, copies of which were mailed to prospective buyers from multiple target accounts.
The packages delivered to CIOs were in the form of a safe, the code to which was mailed to the security managers of the same organisation. The catch was that the CIOs had to contact their IT security managers to access the piece of personalised content that we had created for them.
This campaign got instant attention from the desired stakeholders, and the client was able to secure some meetings as well! The direct mail allowed us to personalise the messaging and branding of our overall campaign experience. It served as that initial foot in the door that our client was hoping to get.
Tactic 2: Creating engagement with personalised events
What is Event Personalisation?
Event personalisation is the practice of customising elements of an event to the individual preferences of the attendees and target audience to create a more meaningful and relevant experience.
This is another tactic that can be highly effective for a company following a one-to-one Account-Based Marketing strategy trying to seek the attention of the buying committee to upsell and cross-sell.
In the pre-COVID world, it would involve inviting decision-makers from the target and existing high-value accounts for in-person events such as a day's visit to the technology delivery centre or an offshore contact centre that your company might be running for the client organisation.
The account stakeholders are sent out personalised branded invitations, and the offices are branded to reflect an alignment between the client organisation and the vendor company's visions. The marketing team, along with the account manager, drive the itinerary of the visiting individuals.
The agenda can include the client's introductions with the implementation team, customised in-person pitches on the service organisation's capabilities, lunch and learns and networking dinners.
Through this kind of event, the marketing and sales teams can introduce the account stakeholders to the organisation's culture and use that time to pitch other services that the sales team has targets for.
Onsite visits are one of those marketing tactics that can be used by IT services companies having large 50+ people projects running for the client's organisation in an offshore delivery centre. This B2B marketing strategy can also be used by SaaS organisations that are heavy on implementation and technology infrastructure providers.
We feel that in-person events and site visits have made a comeback and are now an integral part of the Account-Based Marketing strategy, just like they always were.
Events + Account-Based Marketing case study
Thomson Reuters' event-based marketing strategy to build brand trust.
Thomson Reuters is a globally known media company providing content and software services to business owners and legal professionals.
To drive up brand awareness and build trust, Thomson Reuters organised close to 700 offline and online events throughout North America.
Stakeholders and buyers from high-value accounts were invited to participate in these events to get familiarised with the company's offerings, network with other like-minded professionals and get industry-specific insights.
This tactic worked well for target accounts with long sales cycles and existing accounts with low sales engagement.
For accounts that were churning or were about to churn, the team at Thomson Reuters took a more aggressive approach. They hosted exclusive events, invited key executives on the client's side to be on discussion panels and gave several opportunities to decision-makers to be mentioned in blogs and other forms of social media content.
After executing the above two-pronged events-based Account-Based Marketing tactic, Thomson Reuters achieved a tremendous ROI in the form of a 95% win rate!
Tactic 3: Wowing the customer with the power of next-gen technologies such as AR/VR
There has been a lot of talk about the concept of ‘the metaverse’ recently. We are being a little ambitious by introducing this tactic in an Account-Based Marketing blog, but AR/VR and mixed reality technologies are evolving faster than ever.
B2C marketers worldwide have already created some highly innovative and engaging campaigns using it. At xGrowth, we feel that the B2B industry can also reap the benefit of this next-gen technology.
If we go back to the definition of Account-Based Marketing, it is all about creating highly personalised experiences for a set of very specific individuals at key target accounts.
So far, B2B marketers have been creating these experiences by using tactics such as offline events, online events, direct marketing, online ads and email campaigns, so why not use AR/VR to do the same?
AR/VR technologies could become the next best thing after in-person events. Imagine an exclusive gathering held in a metaverse, open only to prospects from high-value target accounts at the bottom of your marketing funnel.
AR/VR can also become the next level for engaging with account stakeholders who are close to buying into your product from an Account-Based Marketing perspective. Think of hologram-based personalised messages for specific account decision-makers from the CEO of your company.
There is also an opportunity to generate curiosity about your brand through a metaverse presence, as few B2B organizations are currently considering this approach.
The possibilities are endless, but we should also be mindful of hype and look at the use cases pragmatically.
Although AR/VR and metaverse-based campaigns appear promising and exciting, it is challenging to predict the potential return on investment (ROI) at this stage as B2B usage of these technologies is still in its infancy.
However, we are convinced that mixed reality and so-called ‘metaverses’ will fundamentally alter the marketing landscape and the approach to Account-Based Marketing in the long term.
AR/VR technologies + metaverse + Account-Based Marketing example and case study
GumGum's AR-based campaign to increase participation in Clorox's annual marketing event.
Agreed, Clorox is not a technology firm and is more of a consumer-facing brand, but the campaign in this case study does have the B2B and ABM flavour.
Every year Clorox invites marketers from several organisations around the world to network and discuss key trends in the marketing domain.
In 2017, the company partnered with GumGum to create three-dimensional tattoo kits about certain Clorox products that the participating marketers can test on their hands and share with others. The intent was to drive awareness about computer vision/AR/VR technology (B2B) and create awareness about Clorox products (B2B, B2C).
The results from this innovative campaign were very impressive and generated one of the biggest guest lists of 400 participants for Clorox and their annual marketing event.
Tactic 4: Making your Account-Based Marketing campaigns more efficient with specialised ABM platforms
So far, we have discussed underutilised and ambitious tactics for executing Account-Based Marketing campaigns, with the hope that they will inspire you.
It's worth noting, however, that while these tactics may offer 5X-10X returns on your marketing investment, they also carry a risk of underperformance. As marketers, it's essential to not overlook the importance of optimisation and operational efficiencies in your Account-Based Marketing strategy and campaigns.
One way to achieve efficiency is by using specialised ABM platforms such as Terminus, Salesforce, 6Sense, RollWorks and Demandbase. Each of these vendors has several success stories on their website that you can take inspiration from.
The one that we like is Terminus' case study with VersionOne and how, by automating their content delivery, VersionOne was able to double the number of their sales opportunities.
Case Study: VersionOne
About the company
VersionOne (now Digital.Ai) is a company that specialises in delivering solutions for Agile development and DevOps. They offer tools that allow software development teams to plan, track, and collaborate during the SDLC.
The target audience consisted of "inactive" accounts that hadn't engaged with VersionOne.
These were segmented into three groups:
- Tier 1 (High fit, high intent accounts agreed upon by sales and marketing)
- Tier 2 (Broader pool of good fit accounts agreed upon by sales and marketing) and
- Government (Industry is Government).
The ABM campaign aimed to move the above inactive accounts to a "marketing-qualified account (MQA) by serving them highly targeted, relevant display ads.
ABM Strategy Deployed by VersionOne and How it Uses Terminus:
VersionOne deployed an ABM strategy with the Terminus platform at its execution layer. They used Terminus to reach their target audience and have real-time access to reporting, budgeting numbers and performance of ad creatives. Dynamic access to these numbers allowed the marketing team at the company to iterate and optimise the campaign content.
VersionOne also utilised intent data in one of their campaigns to enhance the results.
Through their partnership with Terminus, VersionOne could engage 88% of the accounts on their target list. There was also a 45% increase in the average opportunity value.
Other Notable Case Studies
In this section, we’ll share some additional notable Account-Based Marketing examples and case studies that you can draw inspiration from. Remember, the goal of this article is to give your marketing team innovative ideas to work with.
GumGum's hyper-personalised comic book for T-Mobile executives to create brand awareness.
This approach is considered the gold standard for any marketing campaign, but in reality, it involved much more than just ABM and direct mail.
In this case, the GumGum team did comprehensive research on T-Mobile, the account they wanted to acquire, and found that their then-CEO is a huge fan of Batman.
They also gathered intelligence on the likes and dislikes of other key T-Mobile stakeholders, their strategic priorities and the latest company developments.
All the above research led to the GumGum team creating a hyper-personalised ABM campaign where they mailed close to 100 copies of a comic book named T-Man and Gums to prospective T-Mobile buyers and executives.
The team at GumGum also created an online landing page for downloading the comic book and pushed it out to several other stakeholders.
The result? T-Mobile's CEO - John Legere, who is also a regular user of Twitter, shared snapshots of the comic book on his handle. The campaign caught everyone's attention and subsequently led to a meeting between the relevant parties.
Segment Taps Mutiny to Execute Personalisation at Scale
About the Company
Segment facilitates the streamlined collection, standardisation, and activation of customer data across various marketing and analytics tools through a single API.
It ensures all the information about customers is organised and easy to use so that companies can make better decisions.
The core customer profiles that the B2B growth marketing team at Segment wanted to target were engineers, product managers, and growth marketers.
ABM Strategy Deployed
As a part of the ABM strategy, Segment wanted to create personalised outbound experiences for its target account stakeholders.
They leveraged the Mutiny platform to develop dynamic landing pages aligning with the pain points of their target audience at scale.
The fascinating thing that caught our attention was displaying the other SaaS applications that Segment can integrate with to a prospective buyer on a dynamic landing page. This meant that the names of the applications displayed to the visitor/buyer would change to the ones present in the visitor's organisation.
Check out the images on this page to dive deep into what we just explained.
Segment increased its conversion rates and drove more conversations with potential & existing customers. Additionally, by integrating their platform with Mutiny, the Segment sales and marketing team could use all their data efficiently.
Robin Increases Website Traffic with ABM Strategy
About the Company
Robin is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for managing workspaces. It helps companies automate the process of booking desks and rooms in an office.
It also streamlines visitor management with features such as visitor logs and online questionnaires.
The company wanted to use the success stories of its existing customer accounts to target potential buyers and improve the sales pipeline. Their key challenge was to get the high value customers excited about office workspaces and the role automation can play in them.
ABM Strategy Deployed
The team at Robin ran a paid social media digital marketing campaign showing target decision-makers the pictures of the office space of Robin's specific existing accounts.
The images were to paint a picture to the target account stakeholders of what their workspace could look like with Robin's offerings.
While this was one of those broad-based ABM campaigns, it resulted in a 50% increase in website traffic for Robin. The marketing team's efforts also resulted in 20% higher interest from key decision-makers.
Mixpanel Leverages RollWorks & a Successful ABM strategy to Transition to a Freemium Model
About the Company
Mixpanel is a product analytics platform that helps software companies improve user acquisition, engagement and retention. It offers an accessible self-service platform with interactive reports, visualisations, & user segmentation capabilities that help product companies make data-driven decisions.
The growth marketing team wanted to leverage Account Based Marketing tactics to acquire small, high-growth startups.
ABM Strategy Deployed
The company used Account-Based Marketing strategies to support its transition to the freemium model. Mixpanel used RollWorks to communicate pricing changes to existing account stakeholders and retargeted free users with campaigns to convert to paid plans.
Mixpanel also used RollWorks to prioritise the target account list based on the potential lifetime value and firmographic data.
The results of using a dedicated Account-Based Marketing platform were massive. With an objective method of prioritising the account list, there was alignment between the marketing and sales teams from the get-go.
From a numbers perspective, there was a 98% increase in LTV from paid channels and a 13% increase in CTR on online ads.
Qualtrics Partners With Drift and 6Sense to Deploy a Killer ABM Strategy
About The Company
Qualtrics is a software company that provides a comprehensive platform for creating and managing customer, employee and market research.
The target audience for these campaigns was businesses of all sizes and industries.
ABM Strategy deployed
Qualtrics partnered with Drift and 6Sense on its ABM strategy. Drift was deployed on their website to ensure a seamless way for potential buyers to access the sales team.
They brought on 6sense to have access to intent data from third-party websites. Using keyword data from 6sense, Qualtrics was able to see what products might be a good fit for a particular visitor and customise the homepage bot based on that information.
The Qualtrics marketing team also used the data from 6Sense to create targeted Drift playbooks and tailored messaging based on the customer journey.
Leveraging Drift and 6Sense, the Qualtrics marketing team reduced the number of touchpoints with a potential buyer. They increased the conversion to opportunity rate by 38 times.
That's all for this article, and we hope the above case studies and examples provide some value to you.
At xGrowth, we have also published multiple articles addressing commonly debated questions such as the role of automation in Account-Based Marketing campaigns, things to keep in mind from an ABM attribution perspective and the difference between Account-Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing strategies.
All the above resources can help B2B marketers amplify their ABM efforts and accelerate sales opportunities, but if this overwhelms you, or if you want some help with your ABM campaigns, contact us today!