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The ABCs of ABM: Activation

  • Rene Asis
  • 4 min read

Now that you’re up to speed with building ABM account lists, the importance of audience governance, and what to look for in an ABM platform, it’s time to begin your campaign. In this blog, we’ll be discussing ABM activation, namely how to take those ABM audiences you’ve created and make them actionable. 

It’s important to note that in the ad operations (Ad Ops) world, there is typically a lengthy process from planning to trafficking, then post-performance measurement. Activation is often considered the “enablement” step of a campaign going live. Here, we’ll be discussing activating audiences by sending data to other platforms for ABM.

ABM adds an additional layer of complexity for the activation process. B2B marketing requires persistent tracking along with different levels of aggregations to inform marketers where prospects are in the sales funnel. B2B marketers must be cognizant of the various touch points with decision makers at specific accounts, ensuring their engagement to drive them further down the funnel. 

Before you get started, here’s a checklist of things you’ll need: 

  • Ensure your campaign assets (website and any associated media) are trackable
  • Have an account list (we covered previously how to build one), and indicate which additional attributes you’re targeting (e.g. persona type, intent signals, etc.); this is especially beneficial for measurement
  • Ensure your audiences are or will be distributed to the right channels and partners
  • Have a clear call-to-action (CTA) to indicate what you would like your audiences to do once you have their attention

In addition, here are several areas to consider before you begin your ABM activation:

Invest where it matters

Review your campaign strategy to ensure your budget for ABM audience activation is aligned with your goals and the results you’re seeking. Consider how audiences progress through your marketing and sales funnel, along with which phase of the buyer journey your campaigns are focused on. Whether it’s attracting decision makers who are showing buyer intent or accelerating audiences to the consideration phase, make your marketing dollars count. 

Key considerations:

  • Prioritize budgets: Align priorities with the sales cycle and where they need support. Perhaps it is a focus on the segment of your account list that is about to close, or current customers who would be in-target for upsells and cross-sells.
  • Use the 80/20 rule: 80% of your budget typically should cover your larger, established channels (obviously, focused towards your campaign initiatives). The remaining 20% should be allocated for testing new channels, as well as improving your results on the 80%. This includes identifying areas to refine your data and audience investments by testing new technology or data partners.

Refine your tactics and strategy

Before you begin ABM activation, consider all your other programs; whether they would be complemented or disrupted by how the new audience you’re looking to activate will move through the funnel. Review your ABM strategy, considering where target accounts are moving next in the buyer journey and the messaging you are looking to convey. Then ensure that messaging and tactics align with the overall goal of your campaign. 

Key considerations:

  • Reflect on buyers and personas: Your customers in enterprise-level businesses are likely an entire buying committee or group of people. For each persona, consider how and where they conduct their research, and where they are hearing about your products. Then consider where that persona may be six months from now. A researcher you are targeting can become an IT decision maker or a business decision maker in two years. 
  • Test often: Use technology that can connect all your programs together and build A/B tests to prove which messaging is working for your campaigns. 

Pivot, pivot, pivot

Once you activate your ABM campaigns, it’s important to stay vigilant, making adjustments to tactics and messaging as needed. Pivoting your messaging and tactics are especially significant in B2B ABM campaigns, where different buying committees or advocates may require different key messages. For example, within the same buying committee, one decision maker may be interested in receiving more information on product features while another is interested in learning about use cases and solutions. 

Key considerations:

  • Review your entire tech stack and marketing infrastructure regularly: Digital advertising and marketing efforts are constantly adjusting to consumer behaviors, so consider whether your tech stack is meeting your needs across all channels. If not, make adjustments and maybe even consider consolidation.
  • Build out your road map to help you pivot: Know where your benchmarks are today and where you’d like to see them go. For example, if ABM personalization is something you want to try, consider all the touch points that need to connect to make that a reality and the benchmarks you want to exceed. 

Keeping these points in mind will help streamline your ABM campaigns to be more efficient and accountable, while also eliminating unnecessary spend. Mitigating media waste is a benefit of a sound activation process, on top of ensuring customers have a good experience and positive brand association as a result of your marketing efforts. Additionally, having a clear understanding of how each audience and account engages with your campaign across channels—along with message resonance—will ensure your campaigns are measurable and can help with future campaign planning. 

If you’re interested in learning more on how to implement an ABM activation program across multiple channels for your campaigns, reach out to info@liveramp.com. Our LiveRamp B2B specialists can help you set up an ABM program that meets your needs.