The marketing landscape that manufacturing companies must navigate has never been more challenging.
Gone are the days of maintaining a simple list of prospects, no matter how robust. Those prospective customers are no longer sitting by the phone, expecting cold calls. They’re learning about new products and technology in a variety of ways, from scrolling on their mobile phones to targeted online ads to emails and more. Technology not only puts more information in the hands of the buyer, but it also enables more competition to enter the market as well.
This period of transformation has left many manufacturing companies wondering which marketing approaches will work in today’s unique environment, to reach the right consumers at the right time with the right messages.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) isn’t a new concept, but it’s not yet pervasive in the manufacturing sector. That’s why it’s a great time to adopt ABM strategies to help your company survive and thrive in today’s increasingly challenging and competitive markets.
Here are three reasons ABM approaches can benefit manufacturers — plus, tips for how you can ensure they’ll be effective.
1. Products are Changing—And so are Customers.
As internet-connected products become an increasingly important part of consumers’ everyday lives, manufacturing organizations around the world have been forced to re-tool, re-organize and re-consider their strategies to keep up. It’s not only the product design and production lines that need updating. This shift creates a change in the relationships companies have with their customers, both before and after the purchase.
Connected devices bring the benefit of more data on customers’ usage behaviors. But it’s up to companies to leverage that information to create the highly targeted and personalized value stories, and marketing campaigns, that are a hallmark of effective ABM.
To take advantage of this shift, manufacturers must find ways to bring together what they know about their customers and target customers into a single source of information, so that compelling, tailored stories can be created for each account and even each job role within target accounts. When the right messages reach the right people, that’s ABM at its best.
2. Quality Customer Data is More Important Than Ever.
One of the core concepts of ABM is gathering and ensuring the best quality of customer data possible. In today’s quickly evolving market, this is more important than ever.
If there’s one key data point to focus on, it’s the role of your prospect within his or her organization. Take the time to get the roles right, because this information tells you who influences buying decisions and how. In a successful ABM strategy, teams will sell into more than one size and type of company. Keep in mind that the structure of companies often varies by industry, as well as size.
Although pulling together and maintaining quality customer data requires both an initial and an ongoing investment of time and money, it’s well worthwhile to ensure your account-based marketing efforts will pay off.
3. Beware of Data Decay.
Given the importance of quality data on target customers, data decay is a real concern when companies of any kind venture into ABM territory.
As quickly as customer data is gathered, it begins to degrade. As soon as a prospect leaves a company, or a title changes, or decision-making responsibilities shift, even the best marketing campaigns become outdated and ineffective.
To combat data decay, it’s critical to make data collection and verification an ongoing effort. Rather than being a “one and done” initiative, consider it something that requires constant vigilance. The more often campaigns reach customers, the more opportunities you have to verify and update customer data. Consider campaigns not only as chances for outreach and prospecting, but also opportunities to verify and maintain data integrity.
Putting strategies in place to ensure that there’s a single source of customer information within companies is the first step to building a foundation of high-quality customer data. It’s then imperative to revisit the information frequently to verify and update key data points when necessary. Also remember that data decay can happen due to “mechanical” issues as well as simply failing to update information. Just as a system crash on your mobile phone can delete contacts, a malfunction in your CRM software can have devastating effects on your customer information. Ensure you have strong, and ideally, automated data backup plans in place.
It’s true that ABM requires more data maintenance than manufacturing companies may be accustomed to dedicating to their marketing information and target customer lists, but the payoffs are big when the right messages reach the right people.
With a little re-tooling of your marketing mindset and organization, you can take advantage of the benefits of ABM to reach customer targets in a new way; build a foundation of quality customer data; and ensure the accuracy and integrity of data.
While ABM may be new to many manufacturing companies, it can help them evolve at the speed of change to reach the right prospects with relevant value messages and compelling campaigns that successfully influence decision makers.
William Wickey leads Content and Media Strategy at LeadGenius.