Thursday, April 27, 2017

Account Based Marketing 2017

Most of us agree that it feels good when someone we’ve just met makes it a point to remember and greet us by name. That personal connection is the warm and fuzzy foundation of the latest industry buzzword: ABM, or Account Based Marketing.  ABM is the practice of targeting individual prospect/customer accounts, as opposed to taking a broad-based approach to marketing to wider groups or verticals.

While we’ve actually been doing this for years, the recent clamor surrounding ABM stems from the fact that today, with the advent of intuitive online tools, it’s easier than ever to combine sales and marketing in one seamless effort. Now, the left hand effortlessly works in conjunction with the right without wasting time and energy bouncing back and forth between departments.
Essentially, ABM is a laser-focused B2B strategy that allows us, as marketers, to hone in on potential/existing customers within a market, and then deliver personalized messaging that resonates with them, using specific and relevant channels.

According to the latest data from Aberdeen, 75% of customers prefer personalized offers. The ABM approach is rooted in that personalized customer engagement: It aligns sales and marketing efforts to target, engage, and then generate revenue from high-value customers or leads.

This summarizes the basic ABM steps:
  1. Define high-value accounts/prospects and prioritize based on revenue potential
  2. Identify key players and decision makers within each organization
  3. Strategize content and messaging that speaks to the organization’s specific business challenges and makes a personal connection
  4. Identify key channels best used to communicate with your target audience
  5. Launch targeted, coordinated campaigns aligning sales and marketing efforts while managing content delivery across all channels
  6. Test, measure and re-deploy as needed   
Done right, ABM requires a data and lead-generation platform and a system for managing the moving parts of an integrated marketing and sales effort.  If you’re interested in learning more about the options available, click here for a great blog that outlines the Top 12 ABM Tools.

Have you used any of these platforms as part of your ABM effort? I’d be interested in hearing from you

All The Best,
Tim Connor

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tips For Successful Event Marketing

A successful special event takes more than an engaging program and an open bar, it requires strategic marketing to drive attendance at, and create a buzz surrounding, the event experience.

Following is an essential event marketing checklist to keep the effort on track:

  1. Why/Who? Consider these questions first: Why and to whom are you marketing your event? Is this an annual meeting? A women in leadership event? The answers will shape messaging and drive marketing decisions.
  2. Survey. Send out a survey prior to the event—the responses will help shape content and can be used to generate ideas for session topics, speakers, etc.
  3. Invitations. Start with a save-the-date (card or email) 8 weeks out; and 4 weeks prior, follow with an invitation that provides complete event details.
  4. Content. Make it relevant to your audience. If it’s not, leave it out.
  5. Email. Take advantage of your regular email campaign schedule and use that as a platform to promote your event.
  6. Blog. Beginning four weeks prior to your event, blog weekly. Add videos to engage your audience: If you have footage from the previous year’s event, use that to drive interest and excitement; or create new video highlighting speakers, entertainment, venue, etc.
  7. Homepage link. In all communication (email, blog, social channels) provide a link back to your event homepage where people can register.
  8. Social media. Take advantage of all social media channels to market your event before, during and after. Facebook is the most popular social media choice leading up to and after an event, while Twitter holds the top spot during events. (Source: FreemanXP, Event Marketing Institute)
  9. Track results. Check to see what’s working from the links in different channels (i.e., email, blog, Facebook). Redeploy as applicable.
  10. Promo items. Consider your audience and put thought into choosing a useful and/or unique gift.
Prior to the event, I always meet with my team to help outline individual charges: During the event, who do you want to meet? What are you hoping to glean? What does that conversation look like? 

This is the event marketing framework that I’ve found to be most useful. Are there other items that you would add?  Connect with me

Megan Smith

Megan has been with Shamrock for a year and a half and previously in advertising and Event Sales for 14 years.  She has a son who is a freshman in high school and plays baseball and hockey.  She loves Cleveland sports, plus is looking forward to attending the Masters next year.  Megan is the beloved “Kick-Ball Manager” here at Shamrock for our team that competes in Flashes of Hope to raise money for childhood cancer.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Using Social Media to Increase Engagement in Higher Education

Know your audience: It’s the key to every successful marketing effort.  In the higher education  market, when a campaign is aimed at students, there is one essential link that connects with them above all others: Their cell phones.

A recent study from Baylor University found that female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while male students spend nearly eight hours. Most of that time is spent texting, followed by emailing, and checking social media feeds (in that order).

That data helped to formulate a targeted marketing solution for my client: a private university with 10,000 students. The university was looking for a new way to connect with students on campus, to foster a greater sense of school pride, tradition and community involvement.

We proposed an outreach program using social media as the main marketing channel to build those connections. And here’s why:
--It’s immediate. Social media campaigns centered around campus events, activities and performances spark interest and reaction in real time
--It’s transcendent. Social media feeds are effective in creating buzz before and after an event; and are shared with friends/family/community for a broader reach
--It’s engaging. These campaigns generate excitement about campus events that connect people as part of a shared experience—whether students are participants, are following an event feed, or are merely reacting to or sharing a post
--It’s personal. Students want to hear from other students—using students as the voice of the campaign creates a more compelling connection than does the message delivered by a third party

While our campus campaign is still in the planning stages, we do know that the most successful campaigns are those that start with strong, targeted messaging, and that use multiple channels to connect with the audience. When you consider that college students most often have their cell phones in hand, social media and email marketing are two fail-proof ways to make those connections. I’ll be sure to share the campaign results upon conclusion.

Which is the best channel for marketers to connect with you? Consider that question as you craft your next campaign.

Best of luck,

Tom Backus