Content Marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. However an alternative use-case of Content Marketing is emerging as a key component of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) – using relevant content as a means of personalizing engagement with accounts.
Developing relationships based on value
Content marketing relies heavily on using relevant content to initiate social interactions and conversation, which lines up with the tactics necessary to succeed in account-based marketing and selling. When B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their account-based sales strategy, they do two things that make them successful:
- Initiate a relationship based on strong engagement and conversation.
- Start earning the “trust” of customers and prospects early in the buying process.
According to Jon Miller founder of Engagio and co-founder of Marketo generating account relevant content is integral to all ABM strategies: “Every sales process is the sum of its engagements. Dial up the relevance and resonance of your interactions and content and you’ll increase the quantity and quality of your engagements.”
This is a clear validation of the value of content within account-based marketing. Just as you have to produce relevant content to use in marketing campaigns, the engagement and connection that account-based marketers make with their target accounts is critical for marketing success. This illustrates how these two pieces of the same puzzle go hand-in- hand.
Finding the right content to engage customers
Sales and Marketing teams practicing ABM have two options for finding the most relevant content they can use to build relationships – Create or Curate.
Creating original content is an expensive and time-consuming process that yields marginal results over a longer period of time. However ABM requires engaging with customers as frequently as possible IF there is a good clear reason to engage with them. These reasons could include contacting customers when there is news that can be of importance to the customer i.e. competitor information, changes in management, new product introductions, new developments in the industry etc.
Curating news and social media, on the other hand, can provide the “triggers” to share the most relevant content with customers. Being the first to share strategic information with customers demonstrates your understanding of their business, shows that you care about them and are attentive to their needs. This is a great foundation for becoming a trusted advisor. The more relevant information that you share with customers the more they start to rely on you to provide reliable information that matters most to them.
When it comes time to make a decision in favor of a solution provider the customer will favor those vendors who are most in touch with their business needs, informed about the industry and have demonstrated a consistent ability to engage with them equipped with relevant value-adding information.
Content marketing and engagement strategies
Teams employing ABM can craft highly personalized content that appeals directly to an account by leveraging real-time, intelligently curated news and social media. Making content personal and valuable based on data acquired on an account is easier to do than creating entirely new content. Specific and real-time content allows ABM teams to show their loyalty and expertise to their customers.
When content is crafted that speaks directly to an account, it shows the customers that their own needs, pain points and goals are being catered to and taken into consideration. This kind of personalized engagement adds value to the conversation that would be absent from a generic B2B sales engagement..
Hyper-personalized engagement is something to strive for in all content and account-based marketing campaigns. Focusing on value and content strategies that personally speak to an account holder allow for a more successful relationship, and everyone can reap the rewards of this partnership.
xiQ’s integrated Account-Based Marketing platform provides account teams with a single solution for real-time account intelligence, curated content for personalized engagement, access to multi-channel communications and dashboards that monitor customer engagement. xiQ enables ABM teams with orchestrated content to hyper-personalize customer engagement. Want to learn more about how xiQ enables ABM? Check out the xiQ website for more relevant info.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder and CEO
Usman Sheikh is the Founder and CEO of xiQ, Inc. Prior to founding xiQ, Usman was a Vice President with SAP, SE where he had first-hand experience with ABM and B2B Sales. Usman has worked in over 40 countries and lived in Singapore, Germany, and the United States. Currently, he resides in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area.