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How-to: Develop Your ABM Cross-Channel Campaign

Published: May 9, 2017

Author: Carlton Sanders

We have walked through how to set up ABM (account-based marketing) campaigns across any channel; now let’s understand the strategy to go to market. Here we will identify the channels, strategically segment our lists, carve mid-funnel audiences, establish sequential messaging strategy, and understand how to leverage different bid strategies.

Segment Audiences

The key to having success is segmenting your audiences. Each channel may come at a different cost to leverage certain targeting capabilities; you should also be prepared for relatively high click costs when targeting smaller, segmented audiences. Businesses know that different prospects have different needs and come at different sizes (SMB, Mid-size, Enterprise). Segmenting these audiences enables a cleaner campaign setup from targeting to tailored messaging for an optimized user experience.
Given that these smaller ABM target audiences yield higher click costs, optimizing user experience throughout the brand engagement will drive down-funnel efficiency.

Identify Channels

Now that the audiences are segmented, you must identify what channels will work best for your ABM campaign. Search, social, and display offer many distinct opportunities for B2B targeting. Channels will have different match rates, inventory bid structures, ad units/placements, and possible premium pricing for direct match. All of these, in conjunction with your CPA targets backed out of your projections, should help you identify the best channels to suit your objectives.
On the social front, consider leveraging Facebook for direct targeting pre-identified members and LinkedIn to match your target accounts along with title/seniority layers to target decision-makers. Here it will be important to test different bid strategies to drive delivery along with down-funnel efficiency.
Customer match campaigns on search are low-volume plays, but when you set them up properly with target and bid and couple them with broad and BMM match types, you can be sure you get in front of your audiences in expensive auctions to drive efficiency throughout the funnel.
For display, there are many DMPs that also enable companies to upload their list of exact targets for match purposes to then target across multiple display networks for a cross-channel blitz strategy. Keep in mind that most often, leveraging these 3rd-party audiences to match back into DSPs will come at a premium.

Pair Remarketing & Sequential Messaging

When you launch remarketing, users are often still at the research level, and latency to convert comes into play. Driving these highly valued audiences to customized and unique landing pages enables marketers to pixel them separately and remarket them on additional platforms at lower costs.
Additionally, and more importantly, these highly valued audiences have shown a level of intent, so it is vital to capitalize on this by further segmenting these audiences from any general remarketing audiences to ensure delivery, given expected returns.
Audiences should be segmented by each conversion action throughout the funnel to deliver a more tailored sequential messaging strategy while keeping them engaged with the brand. Each stage should deliver to a different piece of gated content – demo video, testimonial video, whitepaper, etc. – to stay top of mind and build additional brand value during a user’s journey to purchase.

Set Bid Strategies

Many channels, such as Facebook and Google, offer many different bidding strategies for marketers to leverage and test. Many of these bid strategies should account for audience size and relevancy. Smaller audiences will perform differently than larger audiences based on channel and bid model. Make sure you’re assessing each channel, audience type, and audience size to match the most effective bid model.

Establish Tracking

It is important to track the leads coming in through these channels through isolated URLs (or UTMs) matched back within your sales system. This allows you to run negative scrubs to begin adding different job titles, industries, etc., to your exclusion targeting lists. To understand each channel’s impact, it is best to establish the value of post-impression conversions across each channel, along with leveraging Google Analytics to track multi-channel conversion paths for a more linear attribution model.
After the plan is put into place, do not forget to run continuous tests at every level to drive campaign performance. This can be testing new bid strategies to testing new gated content at different points in the sales funnel.

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