ABM & display ads: B2B marketing’s most successful duo
B2B marketing professionals are often guilty of latching on to whichever new shiny thing dominates at the time. The problem is, Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) leads to a continual state of distraction.
In the late 2000s during the emergence of social media 2.0, B2B marketers flocked to Twitter and Facebook hoping to forge new relationships with previously untapped groups of decision makers. As B2B brands rushed to secure their place as the social media leader to aspire to, many lost focus of their core growth strategy.
The challenge for CMOs was restricting how much time, money and effort they threw Twitter and Facebook while these platforms — along with the many B2C brands actively investing in them — underwent a period of insane growth.
Similar events played out when account-based marketing (ABM) rose to fame a few years back. This time was different though. ABM offered more clarity and process compared with social media 2.0. It was a system-based strategy rather than a social community with no proven business outcomes. And so, for most marketers who insisted on chasing this new shiny object, the result has been one of joy and success. In fact, more than 7 in 10 B2B companies now rely on account-based marketing as a pillar for growth.
The rise of account-based B2B marketing
ABM is the latest in a long line of B2B marketing tools and strategies but it’s actually not that new at all.
As far back as the 1990s ABM was making waves in the B2B marketing industry under the smokescreen of one-to-one marketing. A decade passed before it rebranded to ABM, a phrase that was first coined by the IT Service Marketing Association.
Today, account-based marketing lives on as a legend in the B2B marketing toolbox thanks to its effectiveness at generating big returns and high levels of engagement with prospects, mostly thanks to the unmatched levels of personalisation it provides.
ABM & display: A match made in heaven
ABM is a big hitter. It can handle itself perfectly well as a solo artist. Well, mostly. As marketing technology gathers pace we are beginning to see new ABM bolt-ons like person-based display advertising which targets small groups of individuals at pinpoint accuracy.
Solutions like Influ2, a B2B ABM display ads suite, help ABM-ers use person-based advertising to boost pipeline generation and support ABM campaigns. The company says that sales teams can convert buying groups 2.25x better using its display solution. And this is something I can agree with.
In some of my most recent ABM campaign work, display ads have helped to subconsciously influence decision makers, making them much more receptive to ABM and sales outreach. There’s also a clear and obvious correlation between display advertising exposure and propensity to respond.
The outcome of a recent ABM campaign for my financial client highlights that companies and individuals which received the most exposure to display ads were highly likely to engage in other campaign channels. Namely ABM.
The examples below, which have been taken from open-source case study material originally published on CXL and Influ2, show how display advertising supports ABM to deliver better results and higher engagement.
B2B ABM case study 1
LiveRamp, a San Francisco-based data enablement company, used account-based marketing to target a list of Fortune 500 companies. As well as gathering company-specific insights for each target account, LiveRamp’s ABM campaign used display advertising to reach their target audience with brand awareness ads before LiveRamp SDRs made contact.
As a first touchpoint, display ads targeted at enterprise retail, insurance and automotive companies helped to introduce the LiveRamp brand to buyers which led to uplifts in SDR outreach success. A multi-touch AMB campaign was deployed across the target account group at the same time as always-on display ads worked tirelessly to build brand and solution awareness with key decision makers.
The campaign drove over $50M in annual revenue from 15 target accounts.
B2B ABM case study 2
Marketing software vendor Optimove made the shift from what it calls broad-brush marketing strategies towards an ABM strategy to help it close more enterprise deals.
Using display ads, the company was able to target decision makers from its list of high-value target accounts, sending ad engagement data into HubSpot for their SDR team to monitor and respond to when a prospect became engaged.
Optimove says that the addition of targeted display ads in their ABM strategy had a 100% influence on pipeline deals.
B2B ABM case study 3
ProfitWell, a subscription management software company, needed new ways to connect with prospective customers and generate engagement insights to feed into its SDR team. The company invested heavily into a content strategy supported by ABM and targeted display ads to reach decision makers from its target account list. The display ads portion of the campaign helped to inform sales on which prospects were most engaged, with that data being fed back to ProfitWell’s SDRs through descriptive follow-up workflows.
ProfitWell says it reported a 70% increase in e-commerce leads and a 40% improve in buyer engagement. Overall, the campaign led to a 111% improve in enterprise deals.
Hire me as your B2B marketing consultant
Mastering the art of account-based marketing can be a complex and time consuming affair.
If you’d like to get some of that time back or if you’d like to know more about the benefits of ABM and B2B display ads, get in touch. To find out about hiring me as your B2B marketing consultant please send an enquiry through the contact form on this website.