Digital media has taken the advertising industry in a direction that was once unattainable. We now have the ability to truly analyze performance based on engagement with advertising to the client’s website, and we can optimize those ads in real time. Beyond that, a new world has opened in terms of targeting an audience. When working predominantly with business to business (B2B) marketing, like we do at M/C/C, reaching a very niche, targeted audience is commonplace.
The methods of retargeting, geo-targeting and IP targeting help us overcome this challenge. Each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps the most misconstrued in the industry, however, is IP targeting. Commonly referred to as account-based marketing, IP targeting is defined by Forbes as “a strategic approach to B2B marketing based on goals for specific target accounts.”
You can imagine why targeting a company, using an IP address, is a hot commodity in the B2B space. It’s easy to understand why a business that sells products or services to other businesses would buy into this type of media platform. Before diving right in, however, it’s important to take a step back and understand what you’re getting in to. Below are three things to consider before committing dollars from your paid media budget toward account-based marketing.
Does your target list align with that of the sales team?
This may sound like a no-brainer, but we often find that the marketing team and the sales team do not align when it comes to high-value prospects. This could be the result of several factors, and there are many strategies to remedy this. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to evaluate whether you, the marketer, have the absolute best list of prospects in your hands.
It’s also important to note that this is a fluid process. Based on the length of the program, plan to touch base with the sales team regularly to evaluate whether certain accounts should be removed or added to your IP targeting program.
Hit them with relevant, customized content
Now that you have the most up-to-date, accurate list of prospects, seize the day with your creative. While you’re reaching a prioritized account, why not take the opportunity to communicate directly with them? This can be as blatant as including the company name in the ad copy but can also be so strategic as developing messaging that directly correlates with that prospect’s needs.
Depending on the size of your target list, however, dedicating the time and money toward unique creative for each prospect may be an unrealistic use of your resources. Have a lengthy list on your hands? Consider categorizing based on likeness between prospects. This gives you the opportunity to deliver less generic messaging without busting your budget.
Alter your mindset when evaluating performance
So you’ve aligned with the sales team and secured an account-based marketing program, and now you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to customize content served to your audience. You’re a few weeks into the program, and you’re ready to see results.
Before you get into the analytics, however, it is vital that you do not compare apples to oranges. This applies to the evaluation of account-based marketing, versus other digital opportunities, for several reasons. With this platform, you are reaching anyone who has a certain IP address. As you know, not every individual who is employed by your prospects is going to be a decision maker. For this reason, engagement on the advertiser’s website following a click on the ad is a greater determinant of performance than, say, click-thru-rate. Whereas the percentage of clicks on the ad versus impressions may be lower, engagement with the ad indicates that your decision makers have not only seen your ad, but they’ve responded and followed through for further investigation on your site.
These are just a few steps to prepare you for the world of IP targeting. As digital media is constantly evolving, we are sure to see opportunities fine tuned and new opportunities developed for targeting audiences even more precisely. In the meantime, account-based marketing continues to be an attractive choice for B2B marketers.