What PR pros can learn from account-based marketing

September 22, 2016

If you’re in B2B marketing, you’re probably familiar with account-based marketing (ABM). The concept is simple: ABM shifts marketing and sales teams’ focus toward researching and targeting a specific account, instead of individual leads. Decision makers can close deals more rapidly by targeting these accounts with sales and marketing touch points from the beginning of the buyer’s journey, while ensuring content and outreach are personalized for each account. While this concept shows extreme promise for marketing professionals and their prospects, the same key concepts can be applied to how communications professionals approach media relations.

Below are three ABM lessons I learned at a recent FlipMyFunnel event in Boston that can be applied to the media and PR space:

Remember to HPC: humanize, personalize and customize.

A big part of ABM involves researching strategic accounts before reaching out to them. The same goes for journalist engagement. Reporters look for relevant, timely sources and stories that can help deliver the best possible news – so contacting a reporter with a story should happen in an equally timely manner, with a tailored pitch that fits the reporter’s beat. Failing to do so will only impede the journalist’s work, while shedding a negative light on your reputation as a PR pro – not to mention your client’s business.

Before pitching anything, communications professionals should ask themselves: how can my client bring a new, compelling angle to a specific reporter’s areas of interest? By humanizing engagement with careful research and personalized outreach, you increase the likelihood your target will cover the story.

Choose quality over quantity.

One of the major perspective shifts set in motion by ABM is a focus on the quality, rather than quantity, of an organization’s accounts. This helps sales teams spend more time selling to companies that are likely to become customers. Communications professionals are in the same boat – they need to identify the gatekeepers who influence potential customers in their clients’ industries. It might seem tempting to think that this means tapping into every single journalist, but you couldn’t make a bigger mistake – it’s always better to identify the right one or two journalists who speak the language that will grab your intended audience’s attention.

Keep your contact data accurate.

ABM panelists at FlipMyFunnel mentioned that in a 30-day time frame (January 1 to February 1), 19 percent of their collective company account contact data decayed. Refreshing this data requires a proactive effort by the sales and marketing team.

In the media sphere, although turnover varies from industry to industry, journalists tend to move around and freelance more than professionals in other industries. That’s why PR-journalist relations are most successful when they’re rooted in mutually valuable relationships, in which both parties keep in touch regardless of an immediate need – and why spray-and-pray PR fails every time.

ABM might be the key to success for B2B marketing professionals, but its core tenets can be applied to many other industries, including media relationships. With personalized engagement, quality targeting and accurate data, your PR efforts can offer rewards for clients and influencers alike.


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