Offering high-quality products and services to your customers is table stakes for any company to survive. But it’s hardly the be-all and end-all of business success.

In today’s digital era of transformation, the experiences your organization provides are equally important. As a reminder, people buy experiences, not just products. And to deliver remarkable customer experiences, you need to shift from a lead-based only marketing approach to a combined lead and account-based marketing strategy.

In our last blog on account insights and profiling, we outlined how to find your ideal customers, build the right target account lists using artificial intelligence, and use AI-powered account-level insights to create hyper-personalized account-based experiences (ABX) for ABM.

Now, we’ll dive into how you can leverage paid media for ABM to hydrate your target account lists by discovering net-new contacts within each target account and treat them to unforgettable experiences that truly make an impact.

But first, let’s talk about the concept of buying groups for account-based marketing strategies.

How are buying groups relevant to your account-based marketing strategy? 

The single most important thing to remember about B2B marketing and sales is this: No one person is responsible for making a purchasing decision on their own.

In fact, the average B2B purchase involves more than five decision-makers—all with varying levels of influence and authority. And that’s why traditional standalone lead-based marketing efforts without an account strategy is quickly becoming passé.

After building your target account list and prioritizing which accounts to target, it’s time to confirm the buying group that you want to market and sell to. A buying group is a specific set of key individuals for each account who will be part of the decision-making process and who ultimately all need to agree to purchase your product.

Successful ABM requires identifying all the key contacts within an organization’s buying group and sending them timely, relevant, and personalized communications tailored to their specific roles, responsibilities, and interests.

For instance, while you’d initially want to engage with a company’s CMO throughout a campaign, you might want to engage with the IT director at the same time or hold your messages to them until later in the buyer’s journey for that specific account.

The content would also differ. The CMO’s communications would revolve around their challenges and your solution’s benefits related to ROI and revenue. The IT director would receive information about the ease of implementation and integration, and time-to-value.

Of course, before you start thinking about the right time to reach out and the right content to send, you need to make sure you’ve identified all the right decision-makers for each buying group within your target accounts.  And that’s where contact discovery comes in.

Discover new contacts using two account-based advertising strategies

Paid media for ABM helps you with contact discovery, or attracting new and unknown contacts and mapping them to key personas within target accounts.

Here are two popular paid media use cases for your ABM strategy: 

1. Target unknown contacts within your known target accounts

Here, you start out with a list of accounts that are currently in your database. So, you’re fully aware of the companies you’re marketing to, but you don’t have all the right contacts for each buying group within each account yet. The goal is to upload that list of accounts into a paid media network, match the accounts into their database, and send ads to contacts within each account.

This will allow you to send account-based ads to net-new contacts at these companies across the web in hopes that they convert and become a known contact within your target accounts. Depending on the ad network, marketers can use this strategy to penetrate accounts and pinpoint people in the buying groups you most want to reach.

Just keep in mind: You have a finite audience to sell to, so you better make the most of your efforts.

2. Target unknown contacts within unknown accounts 

This is a situation where you can make something out of nothing. After developing the criteria for your ideal customer profile, you can discover both new accounts and new contacts for your ABM strategy. Often times, sales and marketing teams find that they don’t have enough target accounts, or they simply want more.

In this situation, you upload a list of your best-fit customer accounts into paid media networks. Using their look-alike models, the paid media networks can find new accounts that are similar to the attributes of your existing customer account list.

You can then run ads to contacts within the new accounts that the paid media network is suggesting.  And if they convert on an offer, you’ll secure a net-new contact in a brand-new target account for your ABM strategy

One thing to remember is you shouldn’t limit yourself. Increase your reach as much as possible across multiple networks while also being mindful of potential overlap of the same contacts across different account-based marketing ad networks.

Successful paid media campaigns for ABM require a marketing automation solution

A sophisticated marketing automation solution is the key to maximizing the success of your paid media campaigns for your ABM strategy.

Launching advertising campaigns for your ABM strategy is a great way to discover new contacts and accounts, but the customer experience should not start and stop there. Marketing automation solutions help continue the customer experience by automatically incorporating new contacts into nurture campaigns and scoring models to ensure that relevant, personalized and timely engagement continues across the buying journey. This is extremely important because most contacts don’t want to be followed up with right away just because they’ve interacted with your brand just once.

For example, let’s say a new contact converts from one of your paid media campaigns by clicking on an ad and downloading your latest white paper. This contact has now become a known contact within one of your target accounts, but what do you do next? Just because they downloaded a piece of content for the first time doesn’t mean they want to be followed up with by an aggressive sales rep right away.

Instead, use your marketing automation solution to nurture them in context to the account they belong to rather than an individual lead-based nurture program. View their conversation in context with all the other contacts within the buying group inside the account and make sure that your marketing automation solution is set up to engage each contact based on the account-level insights and strategy.

Marketing automation is a key part to a successful ABM strategy, especially when you’re wanting to continue and automate the account-based customer experience across your marketing channels after discovering new contacts and accounts across paid media channels.

The post Contact Discovery: Using Paid Media for Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.