The Craft of Personalization in ABM – Why, What, and How

One of the main things that makes ABM different is personalization. In this post, we will review why personalization is important, the different uses of personalization, and how to create ABM and ABX campaigns using personalized approaches. We also review how implementing ABM will change your marketing department’s operations.

Why Personalization Matters

ABM and ABX are about dedicating your marketing resources more precisely to fewer people. It’s the opposite of a mass approach. ABM campaigns are based on the insights you have about the accounts you are targeting and the knowledge about the buying behavior of personas in each account’s buyer group.

The availability of different types of intent and behavioral data means you are missing a big opportunity if you don’t use that to personalize your marketing. And with ABX programs targeted at existing customers, you risk alienating them by not showing them that you know them.

The other reason personalization matters is that it works. According to McKinsey, 76% of purchasers are more likely to buy from brands that personalize, and 78% are more likely to recommend your brand to others if you personalize. In B2B markets, personalization is becoming table stakes.

According to Forrester, personalization continues to be a priority for B2B marketing leaders, with 52% planning to increase spending on content marketing and personalization technology to get this right (according to the Forrester Business Technographics® Marketing Survey, 2020).

A personalization strategy’s building blocks are connecting audience, content, and delivery. In Forrester’s opinion, this is about three things:

  • Assess the audience. First, define target segments and their attributes according to the type of personalization desired for the tactic, focusing on job role, market segment, and behavioral characteristics.
  • Map and tag content. Content requirements are driven by the type of personalization being targeted, including personas involved, buying stage, knowledge requirements, and content formats. Ensure content is tagged properly to increase findability, automate activation, and contribute to audience intelligence.
  • Data drives delivery. The data available or desired for each audience segment and activation channel fuels targeting, delivery, messaging treatment, and optimization.

Personalization is ultimately about getting the right content in front of the right customer and buying persona so that it resonates and provides compelling value.

Here are a few examples of personalization for ABM in action:

  • Email: When you recognize that a buyer is showing intent signals, you can drop them into email campaign sequences tailored to the topics they are showing intent for and stage in the buying cycle.
  • Dynamic ad personalization: Tools like Folloze allow you to brand digital ads with messages and branding tailored to a specific account so that the ad and landing page are customized and reflect their stage in the buyer journey.
  • Content Personalization: Personalization tools allow you to curate content and brand the page for a specific prospect. The content can be adjusted to their stage in the buying cycle. If the buying signals suggest they are early in the process, the content may be more general and educational. Later in the buying cycle will be the right time to present comparisons versus competitors.
  • Personal URLs (PURLs): Allow you to personalize the web URL to the person you are emailing, for example, When the recipient visits the webpage they are greeted with a personalized welcome. Content is curated to their needs.

Scaling Personalized Campaigns

There are several components to successfully executing a scalable personalized ABM campaign model.

  1. Content: You will need a great deal of content, possibly significantly more than you may have in place. This is because you will need to address more precise needs for more personas across different clusters of accounts at different stages of the buyer journey. This can be intimidating and is one of the main reasons why ABM and ABX are considered to be expensive.
  2. Technology: You can execute ABM campaigns in a limited way with technology you may already have, especially if you can access intent data. However, to implement ABM at scale, you will need to consider adopting an ABM platform (e.g., Demandbase, Triblio, Rollworks, Terminus, 6Sense). In addition, you may want to look at tools that make it easier to personalize ads, landing pages, and content (e.g., Folloze, Uberflip, Pathfactory). These tools make creating personalized content, messages, and landing pages easy. And these will need to be well-integrated with your CRM and marketing automation platforms.
  3. Alignment and Communication: Unlike traditional B2B marketing, where sales and marketing tend to be siloed, ABM is a team sport. Marketing and sales must be joined at the hip in acquiring new customers. Together, the team will look at intent signals, determine how to address the needs of a cluster of accounts, and run personalized approaches to improve engagement. In more experienced ABM teams, the SDRs start to take on tasks typically associated with marketing, such as creating personalized landing pages,  In an ABX scenario, customer success is a key member of the team. They must advocate for their customers, pinpoint their needs, and guide them on how to best personalize campaigns for their customers.
  4. Agility: As ABM works best as a team sport, moving quickly and adapting to buying signals and other buyer behavior is a way to gain a competitive advantage. If you can act more nimbly than the other guy, you can beat them in winning the customer over to you. We are seeing several organizations adopt agile marketing as an operating model.

I am curious, are you adopting a personalized approach? How are you going about that? What have been the results? Please DM me.

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

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Adam Turinas

Adam Turinas is a long-time technology marketing leader and entrepreneur. He is the co-author of the Total Customer Growth book and founder of Total Customer Growth LLC. Adam spent two decades marketing for Dell, IBM, Bank of America, and dozens of other major marketers. In 2012 he founded, grew, and eventually sold a healthcare technology software business and then created healthlaunchpad, a leading healthtech marketing firm that teaches clients how to use ABM.