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9.19 – CEPro – Coleen Sterns Leith

Twitter is a great way to engage with your audience directly, so don’t be afraid to use social media as a marketing platform. Often, using social media leads to interactions that feel natural and less like a direct ad.

Integrators can learn a lot from B2B marketers, who are finding business success with one of the latest trends – account-based marketing (ABM). ABM is when you treat every customer, account, or prospect as a personalized account, meaning you tailor content and services perfectly to fit them, and only them.

Ever wonder why most email blasts only have click-throughs at less than 3%? It’s because that message was sent broadly, not focused on just a few accounts.

In simplicity, this is what account-based marketing is. ABM goes far beyond narrowing your target audience or segmenting prospects into their own marketing channels. It allows you to truly personalize your messaging, offers, and content for each account to better resonate with their needs. Instead of using a fishing net, you’re using a spear.

Company alignment is the first step to ABM. As you would expect, your company’s sales and marketing teams need to be in sync. Other company resources including operations, IT and executive management need to be aware of the emphasis on ABM and part of the conversation.

Technology tools are important to building an integrated platform for ABM. These should include analytics with real-time insight to evaluate purchase intent.

With a move from generic materials to highly specific ones that target up to 20% of your ideal market, it’s a bit like becoming an orchestra conductor. Timing of the right content at the right time is crucial to implementing a plan that works.

Technology tools are important to building an integrated platform for ABM. These should include analytics with real-time insight to evaluate purchase intent. CRM (customer relationship management) is key to keeping your data in order.

Ideally, your CRM should give you insights on the journey with each customer. Where possible, connect your ad platforms and personalized content with your databases.

Don’t Skimp on Social Media Engagement

Your website is another key tool to use to track prospect behavior as that will help you determine areas of interest. And, don’t invest all your resources into one channel as that’s not how any audience consumes content.

Your salespeople and technicians will need materials specific to the jobs they are pursuing. These can be email templates, spec sheets, and/or product collateral, that are targeted to a specific vertical, or you can even go deeper and customize them for a specific prospect.

Social media is another tool you can utilize to gain insight into your customers. Follow them, comment and share their content. You will become known to them and become closer to developing a relationship. Twitter works well for this as it is a more casual outlet – it doesn’t make the prospect feel like they are being stalked.

Utilize existing relationships where you can. If someone on the team knows or has worked with someone as a contractor to one of your target companies or has any type of previous relationship, use that to get a conversation started or potentially to schedule a meeting.

Related: 5 Tips to Get Your Snail Mail Ads to Work

Personal referrals are one of your strongest resources for sales. Better yet, assign that person with the relationship that target if appropriate.

One final tip – use unique methods to reach your target. That might even include a blast from the past – direct mail. The lumpy mailer always gets opened first!

Account-based marketing has moved from an obscure marketing strategy to a more mainstream one in recent years. New technology tools make it easier than ever to precisely reach your target customers rather than using the historic spray and pray method.

Build some agility and flexibility into your strategy. Just imagine what integrators could accomplish by looking at individual customers as specific markets – it can lead to great opportunities and a more profitable future.

Coleen Sterns Leith is the president of Marketing Matters, a boutique public relations, communications and marketing agency that focuses on the tech, CEDIA, InfoComm and consumer electronics channels.