Marketing professionals are probably tired of hearing that they must “do more with less.” This common refrain has long haunted marketing departments, which historically bear the brunt of recession layoffs.
Unfortunately, the need to accomplish more with fewer resources is genuine for modern marketers. Gartner reports that marketing budgets plummeted to their lowest level in recent history last year, a nearly 50% reduction from pre-pandemic levels. Add onto that the slew of economic uncertainties facing the world — which have resulted in thousands of cut staff — and it becomes clear why it’s so necessary for marketing departments to meet more KPIs with a smaller budget.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Recent years have also seen marketing departments make historic investments in cutting-edge digital solutions. Nearly 90% of businesses are currently investing in personalized advertising, which is great news because 90% of U.S. consumers find personalized ads more appealing than generic ads. Clearly, the industry is trending in a positive direction. The next step is for marketers to home in on solutions and initiatives that provide the greatest bang-to-buck ratio, like personalization and account-based marketing (ABM).
According to HubSpot research, 67% of brands have adopted ABM strategies. ABM, which focuses on improving the outbound sales pipeline instead of lead generation, is a powerful method for attracting B2B buyers with an elevated level of product interest. And when applied correctly, ABM can drastically increase a marketing department’s ROI. The key to doing so? Evolving ABM into its next form: Person-based advertising (PBA).
PBA Can Build & Target The Correct ICPs
ABM has dominated digital personalization spending since its inception in 2003, with the modern ABM market growing to impressive heights. There’s a reason for this remarkable traction. ABM increases marketing ROI across the board by shifting departmental focus from inbound to outbound efforts. Moreover, ABM ties B2B consumer interest to personalized advertising and outreach, making the eventual outreach more successful. Ergo, lead conversion rates skyrocket. That’s why ABM remains an effective marketing strategy today — but a lot has changed about B2B marketing since ABM came onto the scene.
According to Gartner, the average B2B buying decision is made by a team of six to 10 people. That’s a marked increase in the number of decision-makers involved in every B2B purchase. As a result, personalization advertising needs have changed. Marketers no longer need to personalize their ad content toward accounts; they need to target specific buyers on those accounts. By focusing on particular players within an account, marketers can increase the effectiveness of their outreach — and improve the outcome of the sales process.
That’s where PBA comes in. Instead of focusing on account personas that could be interested in a product or service, PBA targets personas that have already demonstrated interest using behavioral cues. For example, if a member of another organization’s C-suite clicks on a social media ad or navigates a product’s website, they’ve demonstrated an initial level of interest. Interest indicators are ranked using behavioral scoring models that give marketers a clear picture of who is interested, when they were interested and, perhaps most importantly, exactly how interested they are. Marketers can use this information to build precise ideal customer profiles (ICPs).
Accurate ICPs are an incredibly effective method to reduce spending and increase ROI. With PBA-provided ICPs, marketing professionals will no longer waste time (or crucial dollars) pursuing uninterested account members. Instead, they can make informed decisions using exact personas of interest. That makes a big difference, as PBA has been shown to increase revenue by 208%.
But improved ICPs are not PBA’s only benefit. Using behavioral scores, marketers can further enhance their digital personalization efforts.
Personalization Radically Reduces Spend-Per-Customer
Once marketers identify where a prospective B2B buyer falls in the sales funnel, they can apply that insight to create enhanced, hyper-personalized ad content. Persona-specific ad creative enjoys much greater returns than generic content, including a higher click-through rate (CTR) and sustained interest over time. This is promising because persona-specific ad content is comparably easy and economical to produce. And in most cases, personalized ad content can naturally fit into existing templates or campaigns.
To create hyper-personalized content, marketing professionals can:
- Identify an ICP and review their behavioral score; and
- Reference the target persona’s organization in ads moving forward.
For example, if an operations manager at Apple navigates an organization’s website several times, they have demonstrated substantial interest in a product or service and likely have a high behavioral score. As a result, this individual may see ads mentioning Apple moving forward. This touch of personalization is often enough to drastically increase buyer interest.
McKinsey reports that personalization can boost sales by more than 10% and increase overall marketing ROI up to 8X. When combined with the revenue-generating possibilities of PBA, these returns are even more massive.
During economic distress, marketing teams are often the first to tighten their belts. But this doesn’t mean marketing teams cannot increase their output and outreach. In fact, modern marketing departments are positioned to “do more with less” if they prioritize the right strategies and tools.
Joe McNeill is currently the Chief Revenue Officer at Influ2 and a B2B technology sales leader who combines an enthusiasm for client service delivery, employee empowerment and robust revenue operations to position organizations to scale and grow. He has overseen commercial teams ranging from 50 to more than 100 members, accelerated profitability by boosting conversion rates and deal size and increased YoY revenue, skyrocketing repeatable and scalable business growth. He has contributed to the development of multiple rapidly growing tech firms offering best-in-class-technology services, including Proto Labs and Siteimprove.