Many companies give gifts of swag to customers or clients, but they don’t always associate those gifts with any formal strategy. They may also be missing out on opportunities to improve engagement through experiences and other “unorthodox” marketing strategies, such as direct mail. Both gifts and direct mail are great strategies for companies that focus on marketing to business accounts.
This article is based on a recent Aptitude 8 webinar entitled “Using Experience Marketing To Create An Engaging Automated ABM Campaign.” Here, we’ll explore how automation can be combined with experience marketing to improve engagement in your account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.
Why Gifting and Experience Marketing Are Important
Experience marketing is sometimes referred to as “experiential marketing” or “engagement marketing.” It’s a strategy that involves using experiences to promote a company or product.
Some of the most common experience marketing strategies evolve around events, whether they are in-person or digital. However, experience marketing can include a wide range of experiences, including receiving gifts.
Gifting has been an important part of marketing for years. However, few companies today recognize how powerful gifting can be, especially for ABM campaigns. Gifting doesn’t have to refer specifically to sending complimentary “swag” in an ad-hoc way, either.
You can utilize the tools you typically use for sales engagement and marketing for your gifting campaigns. This includes automation. You can add the sending of gifts and mail directly to your cadences and sequences.
This enables you to make gifting a central part of your sales and marketing apparatus.
Gifting isn’t just for marketing, either. It can also be utilized by your sales and customer success teams in the following ways.
- Target account prospecting
- Progressing on a stalled deal
- Re-engaging a past good fit
- Thanking a referral
- Closing an upsell
- Upcoming renewals
- Change of proof of concept (POC)
- Churn risk
- Apologizing for an error
- Beta testing a product
You can even include gifting as part of your internal processes, such as for recognition and employee awards. Make gift-giving a standard practice when employees reach specific milestones, complete difficult tasks, or earn a new promotion or accolade.
You can gift new hires with a book, a swag box, or even a bottle of wine. The possibilities are endless.
Incorporating Experience Marketing with an ABM Campaign
As you can imagine, gift and direct-mail automation can become a central part of your ABM campaigns as well.
To incorporate experience marketing into your ABM strategy, you first need to choose an automation tool that provides a multichannel approach. This will enable you to work offline channels into your sequences and cadences.
Automation helps to standardize the gifting process and make it easier to manage. However, it’s important to remember that personalization should play a role in gifting as well. You don’t want your gifting strategy to seem arbitrary, or it may not be as effective as it could be.
Adding a simple, personal touch to each gift can go a long way. For example, adding someone’s name to a gift, or using a gift that’s relevant to the recipient, can show them that you recognize who they are and understand their needs.
Cross-Channel ABM Marketing
Gift-giving is just one part of a broader, cross-channel ABM marketing strategy. You can also use other “offline” strategies like direct mail to add a more personal touch to your ABM campaigns.
The reason direct mail is still effective is that there’s a certain level of value associated with going from online to offline when you engage with accounts. Online interactions are efficient, but they also require little personal investment. Most people can stay relatively anonymous when communicating online, and it’s easy to ignore emails.
It’s much more difficult to ignore, say, a handwritten letter addressed specifically to you.
People are also much more willing to provide their home mailing addresses than in previous years. This is due at least partially to the fact that so many people are working from home. For many of us, our homes have now become our offices and our business mailing addresses.
You can also bridge the online/offline divide by including QR codes in your direct mail messages. These codes enable recipients to quickly access a website by taking a picture of the QR code on their smartphone.
QR codes weren’t widely used in the past. If you had sent a QR code to a C-level executive in 2019, chances are they wouldn’t know what to do with it.
But COVID led to a wider understanding and the large-scale adoption of QR code technology. As companies pushed to become more touchless, they widely adopted QR codes to provide people with information, whether they just wanted to share their restaurant’s menu or provide a helpful piece of marketing content.
Online Calls, Meetings, and Events
If there’s one thing that’s changed significantly in the past few years, it’s people’s familiarity with online meeting tools like Zoom. These tools are no longer under the sole purview of businesses. Consumers now use them for a variety of face-to-face online interactions.
This represents a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful experiences with your prospects. It also means you can host events or speak face-to-face, even if your prospect is on the other side of the world.
The Blur Between Online and Offline Experiences is Disappearing
The ability to look at your CRM and marketing data, then deliver experiences powered by it, is instrumental to ABM. But that data doesn’t have to only fuel your digital campaigns. It can also help you launch a personalized, omnichannel strategy that blends both online and offline experiences.
When used in combination with your automation tools, you can differentiate yourself from competitors through both your creativity and your consistency.