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ABM strategy – Should you always do something new?

Liam Jacklin

September 05, 2020

ABM strategy – Should you always do something new?

Just about everyone loves new stuff. In our personal lives we enjoy receiving an unexpected gift or opening the door to the delivery driver dropping something off we’ve bought for ourselves. There is a simple joy in having something new. It follows, therefore, that in our professional lives we also love new things and, for all sorts of reasons, marketers seem to love new stuff more than most.

One area in particular that I think suffers from marketing’s obsession with new is channels and platforms. Just consider the ever growing myriad of channels and platforms which marketing teams use to reach audiences across blogs, social, paid, marketing automation, microsites, apps, enablement tools….the list goes on. 

Although the landscape gets more complex, however, and on the face of it more powerful, most organisations don’t have the time or resources to integrate and upskill teams sufficiently to get the best out of the ‘new’.  It’s just one of the reasons millions of dollars worth of marketing technology investments end up under-utilised or never delivering on the original promise (incidentally if you have problems in this area, please shout – our MarTech team would love to help!) 

Now, let’s be clear, I have no issue with a multi-channel approach to engagement or with teams wanting to innovate and do things differently to improve results; my issue is the blurring of lines between the channel or platform and the activity which is being carried out on it. 

We’ve all heard conversations similar to this:

  • “We’ve been running LinkedIn for a while now and engagement seems to be dropping so let’s try a different channel next quarter”
  • “We sent emails out to everyone in the base last week and we don’t want to overload them so next week we’ll run things through social instead”
  • “We’ve published three posts on the corporate blog and they haven’t got the engagement we wanted so let’s try a different channel”

I would argue that in almost every case the issue is never with the channel or platform (assuming they’ve been set up right) and much more likely with the activity which is being carried out on it. You must be certain that your content adds value to your audience at the right stage of the journey. How would you know this? Appropriate measurement and the right insight. 

Take the first example, it isn’t LinkedIn that’s run its course, it’s more likely that you just need to freshen up the content you were using. The audience you were trying to engage didn’t all suddenly shut their LinkedIn accounts and go somewhere else – they just got bored of seeing the same old content!

In example two, it’s perfectly fine to send people regular email content as long as you’re targeting appropriately and providing insight or value within the things you’re sending them. People don’t remember how many emails you sent them as much as they remember whether any were worth reading.

Example three is similar but with the added twist that you need to be convincing people of the value of coming to visit your corporate blog in the first place. The blog platform isn’t broken, your engagement strategy is.

In most cases the platform or channel is merely the plumbing for your ABM programme; but what comes out at the end of those pipes depends on what you put in.  The content or assets you share must be of value to your target audience and, to understand what value looks like to your audience  requires some effort into gathering insight.  This is valuable, because If the message and content addresses the audience need that was defined by your insight, then the right pipes will land your message effectively.

So next time you need to get your fix of ‘new’, why not take a look at the content and activity approach rather than the channel. If you did the right research up front and know that your audience is going to be present or responsive on the platform or channels you choose, you shouldn’t need to change them, but you might need to rethink the assets you’re using to create engagement.

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