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B2B marketers are still in the early stages of rolling out their account-based marketing (ABM) strategies and continue to prioritize traditional demand generation efforts over ABM, per research from Demand Gen Report [download page]. Even so, roughly three-quarters of those surveyed said that their ABM efforts are meeting (54%) or exceeding (20%) expectations.

For the time being, relatively few B2B marketers are incorporating tailored content into their ABM outreach, per the study. Most commonly, respondents are using personalized/custom content for each account, with fewer targeting content tailored to specific industries or roles.

Recent research indicates that content personalization is a growing trend among B2B marketers. The primary form of personalization being tested by B2B marketers (not limited to those using ABM) is the type of content that targets are engaging with (66%), though many (53%) are also trying out personalization by job function and title.

With respect to the types of content offers or experiences being offered as part of ABM initiatives, respondents to the Demand Gen Report survey pointed most often to:

  • Targeted executive event invitations (54%);
  • Interactive content tailored by industry/role (46%); and
  • Sales meeting invitations (41%).

The use of interactive content brings to mind new research from SiriusDecisions, in which B2B CMOs identified interactive content and visual storytelling as their top marketing trend planned for implementation in the next 2 years.

Top Tools and Technologies

B2B marketers are using various tools and data sets to help them in their ABM efforts – but predictive analytics haven’t yet hit the mainstream.

Currently, 79% are using sales team selections to build their targeted account lists for account-based marketing, and close to half are relying on firmographic data. For the time being, fewer than one-third (29%) are using predictive data to formulate their lists, though another 39% plan to use such data.

Similarly, while 72% are using analytics and reporting tools and 60% campaign execution and orchestration tools, far fewer (30%) are currently making use of predictive analytics tools in support of their ABM strategy. Once again, an additional 35% plan to implement predictive technologies – which marketers separately are the martech function most likely to produce ROI.

Other Findings

In other highlights from the report:

  • Sales and marketing alignment continues to be the biggest ABM-related challenge for B2B marketers, ahead of personalization at scale towards target accounts; and
  • Respondents are using a variety of metrics to measure their ABM efforts, from net-new accounts engaged (49%) to win rate (46%), contribution to pipeline revenue (42%) and number of qualified accounts (42%) among others. Research released earlier this year by Demand Gen Report had found the top ABM metric to be conversion of engaged account to opportunity.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 248 B2B marketers, 40% of whom are from companies with revenues of more than $25 million.

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