Tuesday, May 17, 2016

FlipMyFunnel Conference on Account-Based Marketing Comes to Austin on June 7

I’ll be joining an all-star cast of Account Based Marketing experts when the FlipMyFunnel Festival visits Austin on June 7. You can register here - price is $200 but it's free if you use the promo code DAVIDRAAB100.  You're welcome.

My own talk, not surprisingly, will be about the technology behind ABM – or, more precisely, how to build an ABM marketing technology stack. The joke in that is, there’s no such thing: you’d no more want a separate ABM stack than you’d want a stack for people in California or customers in the insurance industry. ABM needs an extension of your existing stack, just as ABM itself is an extension of your existing marketing strategies. Or at least that’s my take – I suspect some of the other speakers will take a more radical view. Fortunately, I’ll be leaving shortly after I speak so I won’t be around to hear them complain.

As often happens with these presentations, putting together a coherent treatment of the topic forced me to think things through in a bit more detail than I had previously. For this one, I finally got around to listing the specific features that ABM requires that are not part of standard marketing automation. The most fundamental is an account-based view of your customer and prospect data: while traditional marketing automation systems are organized around individual leads, ABM demands organization around accounts. This may not sound very significant but many marketing automation databases didn’t even have a distinct account object until recently, making account-based analysis difficult and unreliable at best. Account based lead scoring is also a relatively recent improvement that still isn’t universally available. And lead nurture campaigns are still primarily organized around individuals.

There are other, more subtle differences, such as tracking behaviors, interests, and funnel stages for an account rather than individuals. And there are brand new requirements, including measuring penetration and coverage of leads within an account and identifying missing individuals (in terms of roles on the buying team that are not associated with anyone known to the system). There are also some execution differences, such as creating content that is designed to elicit information about the account rather than content that’s aimed at attracting new leads from whatever company happens to show up. I could go on, but then you’d have no reason to attend in person.

The other thing that often happens with these presentations is I spend way too much time picking images for my slides.  In this particular case, I wanted to start off by making the point that ABM isn’t about technology. This led to the general idea that people are easily distracted by bright and shiny technologies, which in turn branch in two directions: the “bright and shiny” one that ended with Gollum from Lord of the Rings, as the ultimate becoming obsessed with something shiny (and a powerful technology, come to think of it). The other branch started with the idea of people getting inappropriately excited about technology and led to classic 1950’s advertising images of housewives in ecstatic relationships with their appliances. It was a tough choice and I won’t tell you where I ended up. Instead I'llshare one final image that was useless for my immediate purposes but is still irresistible: an apparently actual advertisement showing a woman who is extremely happy about her new bucket.  Those were simpler times indeed.

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