ABM Best Practices from The ON24 Experience
The Aragon Marketing team and I attended ON24’s virtual conference on Wednesday, April 27th: The ON24 Experience. If you don’t already know, ON24 is a complete virtual events platform that supports everything from webinars/webcasts to conferences to content hubs. It’s used by organizations like Microsoft, Salesforce, and UCLA (my alma mater!).
One of the sessions I attended was “Creating Account-Based Experiences,” and it covered how to improve your virtual events to help engage with your major accounts. I found the presentation to be chock-full of actionable insights, so I thought I’d share what I learned from the two presenters: Tara Shirakh, Senior Manager Expansion Marketing at ON24, and Eva Jackson, Director Demand Generation at PFL.
1. Account-Based Marketing Should Be About More Than Just Net-New Acquisition
When you think about ABM, what comes to mind? For me it’s about growing our client base. And of course, this is many marketers’ end goal of campaigns, especially intensive campaigns like ABM. But Tara was wise to point out that it’s about so much more, and one of the key points that stuck out to me was the focus on using ABM to increase customer loyalty and retention.
We’ve all heard the old adage that it’s easier to keep a customer than to obtain a new one. It’s a good reminder, especially during this strange time of virtual events (soon to be hybrid??) and customer interactions. It’s important not to only hyper-focus on new customer acquisition during ABM, but to remember your customers who are sitting on the other side of the computer, experiencing your campaign.
How is your campaign reinforcing value for your customer? How are you bridging the digital divide?
Successfully answering these questions through your virtual events is key to keeping your customers satisfied. It can also potentially expand your business with them.
2. When It Comes to Events, Build A Great Brief
Tara discussed that when it comes to great events, it’s key to get stakeholder buy-in by building out a great pre-event brief. This brief should:
- Share goals and KPIs
- Provide content overview and console tour
- Explain key interactions and signals
- Map the follow-up plan and owners, and,
- Enable sales with email copy and reports
This is a fantastic best practice, and it got me thinking: why not do a similar/altered brief for your customers? As part of your ABM campaigns, focus on the accounts you want to grow, expand, or improve your relationship with, and give them an exclusive look at your upcoming event, before you’ve even announced it. Give them a personalized ‘tour’ of your event console or virtual stage. This is an opportunity to really make them feel valued, and it builds on that first step of engagement. If you want to take it a step further, you could even survey them for what they hope to see at your event, and let them know if you make any improvements based on their advice.
3. Pre- and Post-Event Tactile Touches Help Bridge the Digital Divide
Because I signed up for The ON24 Experience, I received an event kit in the mail a few days before the event that was filled with goodies like a ring light for my phone, an insulated tea mug, peppermint tea, and info on the event. Getting a special box like this pre-event got me hyped and excited for what was to come by encouraging me to start interacting with event content. Even better, it served as an event reminder. It’s almost like an insurance policy to make sure registrants will become engaged attendees!
The other key tip Tara and Eva mentioned: why not keep the engagement going post-event, too? A post-event tactile touch is a great way to build on the excitement of engaged accounts. After tweeting about the event and the goodies I received, ON24 reached out via DM and asked if they could send me a surprise post-event. This personalized touch added an extra dimension to their virtual conference, and will keep me thinking about their event and the insights I learned long after.
Tara and Eva also discussed how to segment these pre- and post-event tactile touches based on the types of accounts you’re working with. This can help you to prioritize budget and maximize the types of tactile touches & results you’re looking to get with them. It can even help you to re-engage with old accounts and establish a new relationship, or filter them out of your CRM (because I can bet you your CRM needs a clean-out!).
The past year has been weird to say the least, and even though we’re beginning to emerge from it, the days of 1000+ person indoor conferences are still a ways off. A virtual event is a great way to engage your accounts—especially ones who haven’t been feeling the love lately. Incorporating tactile touches can help to bridge that digital divide and make your clients feel that you’re doing due diligence to give them your undivided attention—a rare commodity in today’s fast-paced, virtual world.
P.S. Speaking of virtual events, don’t forget to attend Aragon’s next one on June 8th. We’ll see you to discuss the power of disruptive technologies. Register and be one of the first 50 people to claim your free swag kit!
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