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One critical component of Account Based Marketing is to reach the right senior executives. However, you can’t maintain a conversation at this level with generic messages. Programs that win include personalized emails, reports and content that use everything you know about the company to prove you understand their most pressing challenges and needs.

Before we go on, I want to draw a small distinction that makes a huge difference:

Customization is NOT Personalization

Saying “Hi Suzy” is customization. You can swap out that name for any other.

Saying “It was great bumping into you at SiriusDecisions – let’s continue our conversation about balancing personalization with automation over coffee next week” is personalization. You cannot send that message to anyone else.

3 Executive-Level Conversation Starters:

  1. Seeing a relevant article and popping it in the mail with a post-it note pointing out its relevance is a quick way to establish contact and credibility.
  2. For an account expansion play, a great piece of content might be a case study showing how another division or group within the same company is using your solution.
  3. Mentioning your connection to the prospect is a strong opener for ABM conversations, especially if you can make the connection relevant. “Bob Apollo mentioned you in a conversation about XYZ yesterday…”

This kind of interaction will often out-perform your more automated marketing, even when it is personalized.

The Content Personalization Spectrum

One of the biggest challenges of ABM is balancing personalization with automation. Automation is great because it lets you scale your efforts. However, you lose the human element, which is essential for building relationships and closing deals in B2B. On the flip side, you can’t rely only on personalization because that doesn’t scale.

At Engagio, we advise having a balanced mix of content, with each piece falling somewhere on the content personalization spectrum:

content personalization
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“If something reads like it could have been sent out to 100 other [people], then chances are that’s exactly what has happened.”
-Adam New-Waterson, RevJet

Getting Practical with Simple Personalization

You can turn a relevant but broad piece of content into a super-relevant piece with some simple tweaks, including:

  • Targeted title or subtitle
  • Imagery that reflects the target industry
  • Case studies from the target market
  • Tweaked introduction and conclusion
  • A targeted landing page and email

This allows you to scale up your content personalization efforts without breaking the bank.

Getting Up-Close and Friendly with Super-Personalization

Content prepared “just for you” can be the most compelling of all. Consider using your company’s unique expertise, resources or assets to produce a special report specifically on the target account and its key challenges.

For example, OpenDNS created a custom visualization of the network for each target account and used that in their campaign. If you were a network security company, you may get meetings by scanning a client’s network, finding vulnerabilities, highlighting some of them and asking for a meeting to go over the rest.

Other vendors make highly personalized Annual Reports for each major account (especially powerful for existing customers). While this might be labor-intensive exercises, you may also find an automated approach. For years, Hubspot’s Website Grader was a top-performing content asset that auto-generated a report from the target’s website URL.

However you create it, a custom report is often an irresistible offer: “Based off of information I know about you/your company, here are some specific recommendations. Can we set up a 15 minute call to discuss the rest of the report I put together?”

Building a Digital Relationship

There are more and more platforms and technologies that can help you personalize digital content at scale.

  • Dynamic content providers can deliver highly personalized message flows that adapt as the audience interacts.
  • Vendors like Vidyard can insert a person and company name into videos.
  • MarcomCentral lets you personalize marketing assets like postcards and signage.
  • Many digital print vendors can create cross-media campaigns that personalize across print, email and landing pages, at scale.
  • PDF documents like eBooks can be personalized from a file of target profile data
  • Personalized landing pages are a great way to pay off personalized emails or direct mail.
  • Content curation platforms make it easy to assemble an entire content hub targeted at a single account.

“The same kind of predictive analytics you used in your account selection can guide your personalization for emails, advertising and content. It’s about the intimate understanding of a persona.”
– Doug Bewsher, LeadSpace

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, I’m presenting on a webinar with Elle Woulfe, LookBookHQ’s VP of Marketing on Thursday, August 24th at 11am PT. Register here.

Are you ready to run simple, or super-personalized activity within your Account Based strategy?