Let’s get personal. You’re a big B2B advertiser. Whilst you might still rely on ‘traditional’ marketing channels and media to some extent, there’s a fairly high chance that you will be embracing what becomes possible in the new world of digitally-driven targeting, which can be more precise. However, as you might expect from a technologically-driven revolution, nothing stands still for long.
Most campaign plans still rely to an extent on ‘lowest common denominator’ messaging. Why? Because you are talking to a lot of people who all have different needs and are different in their cultures and methods of operation. Ideally, everyone who is important to you, particularly in the group that represents Key Accounts and the people within those organisations, would have their own uniquely targeted messages.
Well, now you can do just that. Let us introduce KAM, which is an acronym for Key Account Marketing (some call it Account Based Marketing). It does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a process by which we help you identify what personalised messages your key accounts – those with the highest propensity to buy and whose loss would cause you the biggest headache – will respond to. This builds relationships, backs up the information and sales pitch of your salesforce and cuts wastage amongst this Key Account group to an absolute minimum. We call it ‘hyper targeting’.
Let’s go back a bit. Time was when the ‘target group’ might be ‘Distributors’. So you used to put an ad in ‘The Grocer’ or the relevant magazine for your industry and hope for the best. More recently, it’s got a bit more scientific, as you can personalise to a degree with HTML campaigns and other data-driven add-ons. Everything looked the same, was built around the same messages and the ’power of the single thought’ was king. Well, goodbye to that, because why would customer 227 on your list be responsive to the same messages as customer number 2 on your list? And wouldn’t you rather keep number 1,2,3 and 4 happy by being fully in tune with them in terms of marketing and messaging, rather than hoping that the things that turn them on will also be of interest to the smallest account on your roster?
Right now, in our KAM world, technology has enabled personalisation to such a degree that the questions we as an agency should be asking our clients is ‘which ACCOUNTS in your target group are the most important ones; what are the defining characteristics, by account, and by individual, of them; and what are likely to be the triggers to make them buy?’
This includes persona types and all sorts of other stuff which we discover from you, so that specific accounts can be targeted via the internet in such a way that individuals are influenced by specific content. This content is personalised to such a degree that it appeals at a deeper, more emotional level, rather than simply being a sales pitch for a particular product or service.
Naturally, this takes time both for you and for us and we can’t pretend that it’s as cheap as placing a one-size-fits-all ad in a trade magazine. But it will payback, both in terms of business and key account retention. If you are a bigger, sophisticated B2B player, this is clearly something you should trial. Indulge us for a second: imagine if we asked you, ‘Within your overall target group of distributors, which are the key accounts? What distinguishes them from the other key accounts? What is the decision making unit IN THAT ACCOUNT? What messages do your salesmen give TO THAT INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT so that we can use the same messages and themes in marketing to back them up?’ and so on. Clearly, the salesman becomes a key tool in this box , as he/she will be the store of a lot of this knowledge that won’t necessarily be shared elsewhere in the company. So some sort of knowledge exchange that captures this data – and combines it with existing research based data – is needed.
As a guide, the list could be as small as 50 accounts, and before doing anything else, we work with you to discover any common attributes, leverage predictive analytics and dig deep into data to get any answers we can. Then, from a named account list, we would identify those of strategic importance, design individualised content that would feed from your data and insight (utilising all company sources, such as sales, logistics, etc.) and focus and target exclusively on those with messages that we know will be triggers to either buy or put you ahead if you’re facing renewal.
The final step is measuring your results. Accounts and businesses that you target are continually evolving and the KAM strategy should change with it. This measurement and learning loop will improve on messaging and further iterations that refine the content to the point where it cannot get any closer to what it is that your customer wants to hear from you.
With Key Account Management (KAM) or Account Based Marketing the tools that we use to begin the data building process will include any quantitative or qualitative research that you have from your key customer base, specific interviews with key account customers, how successful your existing content and messaging has been, detailed demographic and persona analysis, sales team interviews and our own views and published research about trends and developments taking place within your industry. We add person information such as job title, roles and responsibilities, family and life outside work, what they worry about and what keeps them awake at night – and then we map the whole journey that leads from your brand and product directly to the inbox or attention of your key customers, fully in line with both expectation and desires.
We won’t try to fool you – this is a lot of work.
But can we help grow your key accounts sales and give you an edge at renewal time?
Yes, we KAM.
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