Flipping the Script on B2B Marketing

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The traditional marketing funnel was invented in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis to illustrate the typical customer journey. The marketing funnel models how a new customer might move from being one of many people with “Awareness” of a product or service at the top of the funnel to becoming a customer by making a “Purchase” at the bottom of the funnel.

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For over a century, this model has taught marketers that in order to get the most customers to “Purchase” at the bottom of the funnel (where the dollar sign shows up!) you need the broadest possible “Awareness” at the top. Often, that has resulted in companies striving for the broadest appeal for their ads and therefore committing the most egregious marketing mistake, that of “marketing to everyone”.

Is There Another Way to Target Your Audience?
But is this long-held model of “marketing to the many to convert the few” the true representation of the marketing process? Sangram Vajre, speaking at a recent SLC|SEM event at Adobe’s Lehi, Utah Campus, thinks differently.

“The traditional funnel starts broad – everyone is a target. Its greatest flaw is it treats people as numbers,” Vajre explains. “Today’s buyer expects marketing to be targeted and personalized on her or his terms. And expects sales to help in addition to sell.”

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Account-Based Marketing is Personal
With statistics showing that “less than 1% of leads turn into customers” and “less than 2% of cold calls convert into appointments,” Vajre is not without the data to support the idea that the marketing funnel is flawed. But what is the solution?

Vajre has authored the book Account-Based Marketing for Dummies where he expounds on the idea that “marketing to everyone” is obsolete and proposes the solution for the new marketing funnel via the hashtag he’s helped popularize: #FlipMyFunnel.

Account-based Marketing “flips the funnel” by starting with the account or customer first. In this new method of marketing, your sales process begins by identifying the businesses or industry you want to target with your product or service. Instead of targeting a broad range of potential customers and then letting them filter themselves out until you have a purchaser, this method asserts that targeting narrowly will lead to an expanding audience of well-defined potential customers that progresses down a widening funnel of relevant content customized to the needs of the audience.

By focusing from the beginning on a smaller number of better-targeted accounts, marketers will be better able to understand and engage with potential customers through tactics like whitepapers, events, or webinars that can be laser-focused to meet customers’ specific needs. Vajre calls this an “omnichannel” approach, using a variety of touchpoints including email, digital and traditional ads, video, and phone calls to engage directly with the account.

What’s the Best Platform for Account-based Marketing?
LinkedIn expert, AJ Wilcox of B2Linked says that LinkedIn advertising allows marketers to be “surgically” accurate because “professionals keep this source updated as a reflection of [their] careers and personal value.” In comparison with other social marketing tools, Wilcox says, “Intent-based targeting focuses on someone’s intent right now; LinkedIn’s audience-based targeting is exactly the opposite. You get your message out to the people who are the most qualified to buy… generat[ing] prospects that have a higher propensity to convert.”

LinkedIn ads are often overlooked by marketers looking for cost-effective pay-per-click tools to reach their audience, but in B2B marketing it becomes the social selling tool of choice. At Epic Marketing, we have worked with our clients to test and optimize the use of LinkedIn ads for clients that generate sales and leads from B2B campaigns in addition to other advertising platforms like Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads.

Are You Ready to Build an Account-based Marketing Strategy?
When clients come to Epic Marketing, the first question we ask is, “Who are you trying to reach?” This helps us to understand which channels or touchpoints will apply as well as what types of content to recommend. Additionally, we build in smart timelines to ensure that your message stays front-and-center for your target audience to get the largest impact from your marketing effort.

Account-based marketing is a powerful strategy that can improve the way your business spends its marketing dollars and generates sales. If you’re tired of the typical approaches you’re used to, it might be time to give it at a try.

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