Marketing has been continuously diverging especially in recent times from being something some organisations did to anyone who would listen, into discreet niches and subtypes that encompass every possible permutation and are viewed as essential for almost every company. While there are plenty of firms who only deal with B2C marketing there is a growing demand for targeted B2B solutions, especially Account based marketing.
Account based marketing targets the key decision makers within an organisation based on their known needs and previous purchasing/research history. But why are so many companies embracing the new account based marketing ethos? What could advertising effectively to other businesses do for you? Let’s take a look at some of the opportunities ABM can give you over other marketing solutions.
A personal approach such as ABM, creates a synergy between you and your clients processes. It’ can be very obvious when a marketing solution is disseminated with generic appeal to a multitude of different targets. Possibly the biggest advantage of account-based marketing is it engages with the clients’ needs and concerns. This shows your commitment to their organisation and increases the chances they will purchase your services.
Using an account-based marketing strategy increases the chances of gaining the client that you are targeting. By appealing to this client on a personal level, you are more likely to convince them that you can offer them what their organization needs. It also gives you the opportunity to cater your services to the gaps that both you and your client may see in their organisation.
Promoting Your Strengths
Creating space between you and competitors in the market is another useful benefit of ABM. You can show who you are and how what you achieve is different from your rivals, your unique selling point. Utilising Account based marketing is a powerful way to directly show how your individual services perform for the industry and how the USP will be crucial in creating great outcomes for the client.
Generating a buzz with what you offer via an account-based marketing strategy is crucial, discussions will resonate about your product far beyond your own sphere. Every relationship produced over your content is another potential avenue for discussion of your brand and how each company can benefit from using your services. By launching an account-based plan that incorporates several influential persons within one business, you can further improve your knowledge of their needs and operations while also generating more opportunities for you to be discussed around the water cooler.
The Best ROI’s
Its proven that account-based marketing offers you a significantly greater return on the investment for your company. While inbound marketing can be highly effective when executed correctly, it has the disadvantage of being far less efficient than a highly targeted strategy. Having your market researched, segmented and effectively hyper-targeted ABM allows a focused decision on a single target for a marketing impact, precise and at multiple touchpoints, this saves you money in real terms and provides a strong relationship between you and the client, even before their knowledge of you, Creating a better opportunity for a long lasting working symbiosis with that organisation.
In the end account based marketing is all about value, it’s the most cost effective and proven B2B marketing strategy currently available; and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?
The birth rate in the UK has been consistent rising year on year for quite some time (since 2002). It’s a global trend and one that’s putting a lot of strain on all pretty much all the systems in society. One of the worst affected is the school system. Every year since 2012 the rates of children being accepted to their first, second, and even third choice schools has been falling. First choice placements for secondary schools fell from 82.1% in 2018 to just 80.9% in 2019; correlating with a fall for top three placements from 95.5% in 2018 to 94.8% in 2019. This could spell the rise of the independent schools
There are around 2500 independent schools in the UK; most are junior schools but all. Over 550,000 children are at independent school, which is nearly 6% of all UK school pupils.
There are big discrepancies in regional uptake of private schooling. In Scotland merely 4% but with a far healthier 25% in the capital; A decent 10% in the South East of the country rising to an unsurprising 13% in London. The figures rise far more steeply towards the end of schooling with around 20% of all UK 6th formers in independent education.
It is generally true to say that independent school pupils achieve higher average examination scores than regular government run school population. Over 50% of GCSE entries from independent schools are awarded a grade A/A*, compared to a national average of around 20%. At A-level, over 50% are awarded grade A compared to about 25%. Independent schools make up one third of A-level candidates gaining three grade A’s or better. The vast majority end up going to university.
However there has been some tough times for independent schools recently, rising costs and a need to maintain educational standards above an ever improving public school system has meant lots of schools increasing their fees. So, in order to combat falling numbers, what they need to fill their classes, is some effective marketing!
Marketing for an independent school has a very different set of parameters than a typical B2C campaign. The usual customer journey has many more stages than a usual B2C relationship, more touchpoints = more opportunities however it also means more moments for the customer to lose interest. Parents need to see an advert, contact the school, check out information about services etc, make a visit to an open day, and have an obligatory meeting with an educational decision maker. This could be repeated for each prospective school! A tough sell.
Fortunately, private schooling has a mystique all its own. They have great social clout. Parents who have enough money and interest in this kind of educational route often communicate with other likeminded prospective school goers. This connectivity, only enhanced with social media, means most parents base opinions about independent schooling from their friends. The efficiency of advertising, social media posts, and the school’s website is absolutely crucial. It needs to reflect keenly what is on offer, especially important in order to target the right parent types (those who value sport over academia, those who value alumni over cost, those who value Ofsted reports over courses on offer, the list goes on).
The most important thing to remember is you are engaging with parents that are making decisions about their children and simultaneously making financial commitments often worth more than the average salary …for possibly many years. Independent campaigns should always be treated with the reverence and due thought they warrant in order to create the ideal return on investment, not just for the school, but also the parents, and even their children.
Seelocal have proven experience making the most of marketing for independent schools. We can get more local eyes on your open day and make sure children have the best opportunity to succeed by finding your school. Book for a no obligation demonstration of our system today.
We don’t know about you, but we are constantly hearing the phrase ‘There are plenty more fish in the sea’, generally they aren’t talking about marketing but that’s a discussion for another day! The thing is, people are always chasing the big fish. Moby Dick had his whale, Martin Brody had Jaws (or Bruce) … ok ok, and in the real-world fishermen weigh their catches, and trawler men chase massive tuna paydays. Minnows and pilot fish are ignored in favour of bigger game, despite the fact their biomass as a whole is many, many times that of all the whales and sharks combined! In the past the same could be said of marketers. Everyone chased the big clients pushing for superiority, only relatively recently has it become a great choice to pursue small and medium businesses, SMB’s. They don’t play by the same rules as the big hitters though, so let’s take a look at how you can maximise your connectivity with small and medium business marketing
In broad stokes, no one is fixed on what makes a company small, medium or large. There is no universal agreement on how to measure the size of a company; some people use staffing, some profits, some revenue, others still square footage! Obviously this muddies the waters a bit when even discussing SMB’s. All we can say is, you’ll know what companies are small or medium to your company when you meet them.
They don’t appear to be small outwardly, you have to dig below the surface on a backend level to determine the true size of a business. Most don’t want to be self-titled as small, and especially don’t want to be targeted by marketing as small. That means using lots of common tropes associated with companies that size or doing more homework to correctly assess their size.
In most of the developed world more than 99% of businesses are considered to be small or medium, so in reality the massive scope is far more the problematic than finding companies to market to in the first place. How do you appeal to as many as possible but retain relevancy?
Grouping companies based on number of employees or size/number of premises is rarely appropriate. Sometimes ‘small’ companies can have as much or more efficacy than a ‘larger’ business assessed by the same metric. Maybe the business with more employees just has more connections, more money coming in, a better/longer start, or even just have similar but differing numbers of staff (say 200 vs. 250) that are not lumped together as far as strategy goes but are very similar in real terms. It’s also wrong to NOT group based on similarity in other areas rather than size. Marketing to a small tech start up is much more like marketing to a medium web design firm than marketing to a small construction company. The type of company is frequently more important than the size when it comes to advertising.
SMB’s don’t have purchasing teams or marketing departments often, so the link between decision maker and buyer is much shorter and a lot tighter, frequently meaning more precise knowledge of what they want, good, but this also leads to more indecision as mistakes are not easily tolerable and a lack of multiple committee style choices causes decision paralysis.
So why go after them?
Mostly because they’re so various. The number of niches that need filling is astronomical. The creation of the idea of a USP means all businesses see themselves as having unique properties and needs, meaning more gaps in the market to fill with diverse marketing. They are frequently less contested contracts or more open to the concept of fresh ideas than larger businesses, who have set processes and times to review relationships.
How to do it right
The first section of this blog may make it seem like marketing to SMB’s could be a nightmare, ‘we’re going after 99% of all companies that span almost every type, style and specific niche going??’ The best way to make sense of the deluge of opportunities is to be very specific about who you are directing each campaign towards.
You should: target key issues the industries have, make the most of those issues that affect small business specifically rather than all businesses; try and be more precise about what sort of small businesses you are targeting, make your materials better for small start-ups, small family-run legacies or small but growing firms; don’t just target a specific industry with ALL of your marketing, but do create both generic content and some specific ideas towards one or two key industries.
Make yourself as available as possible. Taking note of the fact that purchasing for SMB’s is so much more tightly controlled than larger businesses, make sure whatever you are selling is as available to them as possible. Trials, demonstrations, personal contact with other users or reps as well as detailed reporting and added value resources are all great ways to enhance the clients experience on a personal level. This makes it easier to entice them to use your product or create repeat orders. But be careful, if you are trying to market to large numbers of SMB’s the more you entice the more time and money will be used in these strategies.
Show them they aren’t alone. Back to the USP, while all companies want to be individuals, most aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. They see themselves in a segment of a larger landscape of their particular industry. Being part of their industry is the true barrier from other companies their size, they acknowledge the similarities between themselves and their competitors. Consequently, when they go out to buy a product or service, they feel far more reassured to know the company they are using is a veteran of campaigns with other companies in their sector. This is frequently more important than the intricacies of the product itself. To achieve this aim, and cover as many bases as possible, websites and literature should contain testimonials and case studies from the target trades.
Aside from that the only real thing to remember is to treat every person you meet, as well as each company as a whole as an individual. Most people in smaller companies are there for a reason. It could be they really believe in the product, or they are inexperienced, or they like to have a feeling of impact on the running of the business, maybe they just like to have more social interaction. Whatever it is it’s likely they see themselves as the representative of the company far less than people from large corporations, the best way to get on their side is to talk to them like openly and honestly, free of agenda and without the infamous ‘hard-sell’.
There are 408 principal councils in the UK, but there are estimated to be around 11,900 local councils, that’s broadly 1 council for every 5,500 Britons! That’s a pretty good reach. But councils have their own set of unique problems when it comes to marketing, especially local advertising. These challenges are key and can make or break a client’s campaign. So, here is a brief overview of the problems councils face when marketing and hopefully some solutions!
Being either governmentally overseen or on quite small-scale budgets are usually a big problem for councils. The lack of revenue coupled with a fundamental need to operate at only minor profits means the marketing budget doesn’t stretch too far. The best way to counteract a low budget is advertising that really stretches, finding new ways to reach your audience. Any form of free advertising space should be utilised as fully as possible. Social media, cost effective 1-page websites, and council owned physical space should all be used to maximum efficiency to provide premium local advertising space. When paid options are the only solution you need to create the most effective strategy possible so impression figures are as high as possible but still with a top end conversion rate. How? Laser focused targeting that really zones in on the people you think need the services and a way to fine control your campaign to make sure you only use money on what’s working.
I said before that there’s a council for every 5,500 people in the UK, that’s rather a good way to consider their audience as well. Most councils will sit over a town or small area with only 408 government-led councils that preside over a larger patch. Given the nature of their business it’s very likely anything they wish to promote will only be important to those in the local area. The internet, fortunately, is a vast network accessible by almost everyone. That doesn’t necessarily lend itself to showing relevant content to those who need to see it. Using real-time location data to enhance your targeting criteria for advertising as well as a consistent and effective retargeting strategy that assesses and focuses on creating multiple lasting touch points with previous visitors and users to foster a long-lasting opinion and ‘brand’ loyalty is key to campaigns forging ahead. Marketing on multiple platforms and applications means even with a relatively small target audience interactions by each member of that audience will be high and more likely to create the desired result.
So you’ve executed your value for money, hyper local advertising campaign, what now? How will you know if it worked? Many councils face the issue that their campaigns are not product promotions, and while some are attended events without some sort of reporting the efficacy of the campaigns can sometimes be lost. A comprehensive reporting tool that shows how your campaign is being interacted with, how your budget is being used, and what your local saturation is like can really help you take control and make key decisions about how to best use the data that is collected. Coupling this with accurate real-time direct reports means understanding how the knowledge you acquire over the course of a campaign can be filtered, assimilated, and used to improve results in subsequent endeavours.
Over all councils can have quite a hard time trying to balance their marketing experiences to provide an awareness-based ROI from a limited budget and stringent advertising guidelines. However, with the right management and powerful marketing tools at their disposal they can find ways to succeed.