The combination of account-based marketing (ABM) and automation can be powerful. To that end, Demandbase, today in San Francisco, unveiled a new, next-generation ABM solution for B2B marketers using Oracle Eloqua, the marketing automation system in the Oracle Marketing Cloud.
ABM is seeing accelerated adoption across industries and is morphing the way the B2B community measures marketing performance. According to SiriusDecisions, more than 90 per cent of companies call ABM a “must-have” while ITSMA notes that 84 per cent of marketers feel that ABM delivers a higher ROI than other approaches.
In its simplest form, ABM differs from more “traditional” inbound marketing (and the associated tactics such as advertising, events, SEO/SEM, content marketing, etc.) in that, instead of being designed to reach the largest number of possible customers, its architecture focuses on specific companies, with the intention of better streamlining, targeting, engagement and conversion of higher-value accounts.
Demandbase chief marketing officer Peter Isaacson, acknowledges that ABM is a hot commodity, but the San Francisco-based company has invested in the approach for long time.
“(ABM is) a drum that we've been banging on in the past three or four years, really,” said Isaacson. “We’ve taken an account-based approach from the very beginning, even before it was sexy to call it account-based marketing. We're gratified to see that the market's coming around and more and more customers are seeing the value of an account-based approach.”
As central as marketing automation is to the livelihoods of B2B marketers, Isaacson noted two challenges: how it generally focuses on “known” individuals and the difficulties B2B marketers have with platforms that don’t have an account-based approach. Oracle’s history as one of the leaders in the marketing automation space (especially for enterprise), in combination with Demandbase, according to both, eliminates barriers by allowing marketers to execute account-specific campaigns from Oracle Eloqua.
“We have been partners for years,” said John Stetic, group vice president, products, Oracle Marketing Cloud. “This is the next evolution of that partnership.”
A few key aspects of the new offering add levels of sophistication and removes friction in the path to leveraging the best targets. Online forms (often a tactic of signaling intent) are reduced to drive faster conversions. Second, historical lead and contact data is automatically appended and refreshed with an account layer. Third, the solution goes beyond the Oracle Eloqua platform’s lead scoring to now include an account score, which shows the level of engagement at the account level, rather than just among individuals. This allows marketers to easily identify and target the entire buying committee from their most important accounts, and deliver consistent account-specific nurture campaigns right from the platform.
According to Stetic, quite a few pain points are addressed.
“I think for us what's exciting here is that this is a solution that is really scratching a need that many customers have,” said Stetic. “More and more of our customers are talking about ‘how do I think about acquiring new accounts, nurturing accounts? How do I develop an actual marketing based strategy?’ Now ultimately, when you're talking about account based marketing, you still need to talk to an individual. In a way, having an account ends up giving you a good collection of individuals that are related. Then, being able to have a deeper understanding on the data of those different accounts, allows you to do better segmentation, better personalization, better targeting in your actual marketing campaign. You can be speaking either more at the industry level, or the company size level, or even personalizing right down to the account level.”
Isaacson adds that there is a pervasive sense of desperation when it comes to B2B marketing and automation — mainly due to not knowing if companies are even hitting the right targets (or being followed up on) in the first place.
“As a B2B marketer, it’s tough being caught in this position where you're delivering non-qualified leads that are meaningless to your sales team,” noted Isaacson. “There’s data points that show anywhere from fifty to eighty percent of marketing-generated leads are never followed up by sales. They know they're worthless. They know they've been cast out with a broad net and aren't necessarily aligned with the accounts that the sales team cares about.”
Stetic is confident that this solution will prove to be, not just beneficial, but engender a sense of relief. As the industry grapples with spending efficiency, focus on the right clients and avoiding waste, those who are more prepared, with the associated assets and investment, stand to benefit — though those just beginning their marketing automation journey will, according to Stetic, see opportunity.
“(As B2B marketers) go down the road of how they optimize those journeys and how they more optimize their spend — as they start to scale out their marketing spend and their digital marketing initiatives, they see the possibilities,” said Stetic. “They then are asking the right questions like ‘How can I be effective — really effective in doing this? How can I effectively measure the ROI? How can I see which different tactic is working better than others? How can I more target the messages?’ That source of relief really starts to come into place.”