What We’ve Accomplished & Where We Want to Go
Some time has passed since we last updated you on our Operation Eco journey, so now that we’ve moved to our new Conshohocken office location, we wanted to tell you what we’ve been up to and where we’re going.
Our Conshohocken Move
As you may know, Strata has two locations – one in Plymouth Meeting and one in Conshohocken. Our Plymouth Meeting facility primarily houses our production team and equipment, along with several other production-affiliated employees. Our Conshohocken location, on the other hand, is home to many other Strata team members – from IT and advertising to marketing and campaign coordination. We’re excited to announce that our Conshohocken team has moved, and will now be working out of 1100 East Hector Street (also known as the Spring Mill Campus).
We’re very excited about this new (refurbished) space, as it was chosen due to its excellent atmosphere, room for the company to evolve and expand, natural lighting, clean, modern, and industrial feel, as well as its flexibility and sense of community. We knew we could renovate and add to the space without overusing new resources and materials or conducting a complete redo – which was a primary goal for us. Additionally, it’s right down the road from our original Conshohocken office location and is yet another “small change” for employees with big current and potential impact.
Our Conshohocken Office Eco Choices
To innovate and refresh this new (yet used) space with minimum impact on our environment, we worked with Re:Vision Architecture, a company well-known for “re-visioning and restoring the balance between natural, built, and social environments.” We knew they could help us evolve this office space with environmental care and green consciousness to the best of our ability.
Although as a tenant, we didn’t have control over everything, we were able to use a lot of existing materials and remodel in an environmentally conscientious manner. Here are some of the details…
First and foremost – the building we chose (Spring Mill Campus) was a tire factory from 1912 to 1980 – so it has a ton of history and feels that way. It’s an older building with modernized refurbishing and a unified, community feel across offices and companies. So, all necessary structures and infrastructure were already in place. Reusing versus starting from scratch is the single biggest eco-benefit, as is the case whenever you find a way to reuse.
We were extremely happy with how close it is to public transportation (just a short walk to the train station, for example), as well as many food and coffee places. The building even has food options, like vending machines of various types, right within its walls.
The building’s HVAC system is a geothermal system, which, if you’re unfamiliar, is one of the most efficient HVAC systems out there.
Energy & Air Quality
The space is outfitted with an energy recovery ventilator, which constantly exchanges indoor air with outdoor air, recovering 90% of heat energy. This basically means that while saving energy, we have a lot more outdoor air in our space than in most standard offices.
The office space, in general, has an incredible amount of natural light and exposure to the outdoors, as it’s surrounded by large, tall windows. This ample sunlight reduces our need for lighting fixtures and will help heat the office in the winter. We’ve also installed south-facing shades to reduce glare and summer heat, and ultimately lower our need for air conditioning. These shades are vinyl-free from Mermet’s eco line, with partially natural fabric and highly recycled content. For us, it was imperative that we found non-vinyl shades since vinyl is toxic, can’t be recycled, and offs gases throughout its lifetime. Additionally, according to the DOE, if we manage the usage of these shades, we can reduce heat gain by 77%.
Furthermore, all lighting fixtures are energy efficient LED and occupancy censored. This means that their sensors will detect the presence of people and turn them on and off as needed. Even better? The finial lights in the main cubicle area have daylight sensors – so they dim as the sun goes down.
We chose a drywall product that has a higher level of recycled content than typical drywall. Additionally, the sound insulation within these walls is mineral wool insulation, which is made of 95% recycled content.
Most notably, we made use of the existing polished concrete subfloor in the lobby, lunch area, and back of house, instead of applying another flooring over top – which would have left a larger carbon footprint. The chosen carpet tiles for the rest of the office are by Interface, and are known for their “cradle to cradle” material. This material is highly recycled, and when it’s at the end of its life in our office space, the company will take the tiles back, recycle them, and turn them into new carpeting. Additionally, the tile format stops us from having to replace the entire floor after just a few spills. If needed, we can simply just replace a few tiles.
The glass doors into the various rooms are of reused glass. Not only are they recycled, but they help to further promote the abundance of natural lighting and a connection to each other as well as the outdoors.
We chose to use acoustic ceiling tiles by Armstrong, which feature high amounts of recycled content and environmentally friendly, plant-based binders.
Paints & Coatings
All of the paints and coatings used as finishes within our space are low-VOC. The products are primarily of maple wood and have clear finishes – natural materials that do not emit gases over time.
Appliances & Supplies
All kitchen appliances are energy-star rated appliances, and the sink and dishwasher within the kitchen are low-flow appliances – which means they have around a 1-gallon-per-minute restriction. We also installed the dishwasher to help promote the use of plates and silverware as opposed to paper products and plastic utensils with single-use applications.
Living Our Mission
Lastly, we’re not just placing eco-friendly elements within our space and renovating conscientiously, but living in an eco-friendly manner, as well. We’re promoting the use of plant-based or phosphate-free dish detergents to help reduce the number of phosphates that end up in the environment, especially in our lakes and streams. We’re using silverware, plates, mugs, and other dishware instead of one-time use plastics. We’re also promoting other reuses with the eco-swag we’ve distributed. This swag includes things like beeswax wrap, reusable snack and produce bags, grocery tote bags, and more.
The Plymouth Meeting Office Beginning Changes
We’re excited for the more in-depth Plymouth Meeting renovations to come and appreciate you for keeping up with our eco-efforts. Since we own the Plymouth Meeting space, there are more possibilities for change and impact. We’ll provide exciting updates about this in the near future – but until then, follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to keep up with our eco initiative and look out for future blogs.
What Choice is Best?
You’ve probably noticed that, within the last few years, there’s become a bit of a paper shortage in the US – to say the least. Paper has been much harder to come by – and with that, many companies are looking into alternatives as well as ways to combat the shortage. Today, we’re discussing eco-friendly paper options that, in the long-run, may not only help with the shortage, but aid our environment to positively impact the world we live in.
Why is there a Paper Shortage?
Not too long ago, we posted a blog on the paper shortage. We discussed what’s causing it, what it means for marketers and their print projects, and how we can combat it. Overall, the shortage is due to the many changes in our world that have happened over the past few years. Between the pandemic, lumber scarcity, changes in supply and demand, and a decrease in transportation, several things made the perfect storm to decrease our paper resources. Learn more by reading the full blog, here.
Myth vs. Fact of Tree Waste
Before we go into some paper options and alternatives, we wanted to bring a few statistics from ChoosePrint.org to your attention:
- Myth: Paper is Made from Fresh-Cut Trees
- Reality: Paper is Made Primarily from “Waste” Products
- Myth: Print Leads to Deforestation
- Reality: Print Promotes Trees
- Myth: The Tree Population is Shrinking
- Reality: More Trees and Forests Exist Today Than 20 Years Ago
Questions? Dive a bit deeper into these, here.
Why Look Into Other Options?
Right now, the world “consumes around 300 million tons of paper each year.” So, although there are many trees being planted each year, and a lot more people are focusing on the environment, to keep up with what we’re taking away, we need to stay cognizant of our paper resources and usage. No matter what we’re doing to combat the negatives of paper creation, there are still forms and instances of paper creation (for example, deforestation of tropical forests) that take away wildlife habitat and emit greenhouse gases into the environment – so it’s important to be sure you’re not contributing to these negative practices. It’s estimated that “28,000 species may become extinct in the next quarter of a century from deforestation”, and that the burning and clearing of forests “accounts for about 20% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions.”
What are My Eco-Friendly Paper Options?
Although it may be your go-to and first guess, recycled paper may not be your only or best option. Eco friendly or “alternative” paper has a “smaller carbon footprint” and less overall impact on our environment.
Overall, there are currently two kinds of eco-friendly paper options. Recycled and curated.
Recycled is made from “post-consumer waste rather than wood pulp from freshly cut trees”. This reuse of post-consumer waste reduces deforestation and keeps habitats for wildlife, plus, “recycling roughly one ton of paper reduces greenhouse gas emissions by one ton of carbon equivalent, and saves around 7,000 gallons of water.” But – and this is important – be sure to look at the percentage (which manufacturers are required to include). Several companies will only use a small percentage of recycled materials, when we really want the percentage to be as close to 100 as possible.
Curated paper is from a managed forest system – the most popular and well-known of those being FSC Certified paper. FSC Certified is Forest Stewardship Council certified, which means it was created sustainably. If you look further into this, it primarily means that the paper was created with consideration of the protection of our environment as well as ethical treatment of production workers. “So far, the FSC has certified around 174 million hectares (429 million acres) of forests worldwide.” Additionally, other certifications exist, such as Preferred by Nature, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and PEFC.
Lastly, you can use both. What do we mean? Curated paper that is made from (at least partially) recycled materials – the best of both worlds! Look into what makes the most sense and works best for your company. If you’re not sure, the best thing you can do is reach out to others, research, and simply try to do what’s best for our world.
Want to discuss your options with us? Looking for more information or resources? Contact Strata.
With a Combination of Direct & Digital Marketing (and the Right Partner)
Maybe you’ve heard about the paper shortage, or maybe you’ve experienced it first-hand. Either way, it’s something you should know about, as it’s seemingly becoming a bigger issue in our field day by day. But, before we sound all doom and gloom, we do have good news. Although it’s a current issue we’re facing, there are ways to combat it and work around it. In this blog, we’ll walk you through what exactly is causing the shortage, what it means for us (and you), and how we all can continue business as (almost) usual.
What’s Happening with the Paper Shortage?
So, what’s really going on? Well, there are many shortages going on right now – primarily due to all of the craziness that’s ensued over the past few years. The pandemic has been the primary factor in most shortages, from toilet paper to manufacturing products, and everything in between. Something else that’s suffering? Lumber, and in turn – you guessed it – paper.
Back in 2020, the demand for paper dropped by “up to 75% in some segments” due to drops in education and office space usage. Because of this, “paper mills reduced or curtailed production…which caused inventory to drop to levels which have not been seen previously.”
More recently, there’s been a “convergence of Canadian lumber tariffs, increase in demand for home remodeling and building of homes brought on by the pandemic, and hiccups in supply related to transportation.” From home projects to home purchases, we’re now using a lot of wood. More wood demand has called for changes in processes for these previously idle lumber suppliers, which has slowed production – and even worse, transporters impacted by Covid-19 risks has made for fewer available drivers to carry out shipments from mills and shipping ports.
Generally, one thing has led to another, causing a domino effect that’s triggered lumber prices to skyrocket, and has disrupted several industries.
What Does This Mean for Marketers & Print Projects
Yes, the paper shortage is concerning, but it doesn’t make print and direct mail marketing impossible or any less effective. With that said, don’t go overboard. Be aware of the materials you’re using and try to keep a close eye on the balance of supply and demand. While the lack of resources is a hurdle, the shortages are actually giving printers and marketers an opportunity to get creative with project execution by combining print with digital and trying new outreach possibilities.
How Can We Combat the Shortage?
There are several ways to work around the current hurdles we’re facing. The first? Using more digital technology wherever possible (and effective) – like QR codes, for example – to cut back on the paper needed to communicate a message or tell a story. Not only can QR codes and PURLs, or other tools help you use less paper, but they can help you more effectively track, monitor, and enhance your campaign. You can also try supplementing your multiple direct mail touches with other tools like digital ads and emails. A multichannel approach is always more impactful than a single channel, anyway.
Next, look into making your mailers, flyers, and other print marketing materials more cost effective by using a smaller paper weight, or stand out in the mail with a smaller but more uniquely shaped piece.
Lastly, look to work with a company with paper buying power and ample experience. They’ll be aware of the current issues, and will understand what’s best for your company’s marketing needs.
When it comes to shortages of any kind, remember to be patient and plan ahead. The paper shortage most likely won’t be around forever, but the more flexible you can be, the more you can mitigate the issue. After reading this, we hope you’re feeling a bit more knowledgeable of the current shortage as well as what you can do to combat it. If you’re interested in learning more about how Strata’s working through the shortage with our client (and on our personal projects), or are looking to work with us on your next multichannel marketing campaign, feel free to reach out.
Operation Eco’s Starting Initiatives
If you’ve read our blog, “Operation Eco”, or our earlier blog, “Renovating Our Environment (Without Deteriorating Our Environment)”, you know about our initiative to become a carbon neutral company by 2030 and fully sustainable by 2035. In our first steps as a fully focused team, we’ve brainstormed and begun making small changes for big impact. Read on to see what these main efforts are, and how we’ve started to progress toward our goal.
Getting & Promoting Eco-Friendly Supplies (& Staying Away from Single-Use Plastics)
One of the lowest hanging eco-friendly fruits – in our opinion, has been eliminating single-use plastics. So far, we’ve promoted the use of anything that replaces the plastics we use and throw out day to day – from permanent water bottles and mugs, to long-lasting glass storage containers with lids. To help with this transition, we’ve provided access to both branded water bottles and travel mugs, and hope to continue to provide branded, sustainable alternatives so that staff (and clients) can support both Strata and our planet. The Strata team has also moved from any single use plasticware to eco-friendly utensils, plates, bowls, and towels to create a more environmentally conservative lunchtime. We know the best thing for us to use would be permanent plates, bowls, and utensils, so we plan to purchase environmentally friendly dishwashers for both locations this year to eliminate any need for buying more kitchen supplies.
As another eco-incentive, we’ve purchased Strata tote bags for use at the grocery store available for Strata employees. We’ve also recently started looking into multi-serve, environmentally conscious coffee machines that meet the coffee needs of our hardworking staff while being safer for the earth around us. And lastly, we’re transitioning to all eco-friendly personal cleaning products within the next few months.
Transforming our Trash & Recycling Habits
Another set of somewhat easier changes – or at least easier to put into place – are those surrounding our trash habits. We realized that the bags in our recycling bins are unnecessary, so we decided to eliminate them completely. We’ve also gotten rid of individual trash cans within offices, which not only limits our amount of wasted trash bags, but also motivates employees to stretch and move around throughout the day (which is always a wellness plus).
Unplugging, Conserving, & Renewing Energy
To better conserve our energy and power usage, we’ve made quite a few changes in our office spaces. For starters, we’re making an effort to always turn off the lights whenever office areas are not in use. We’re also unplugging at the end of the day (when possible). But that’s not all, we also plan to purchase smart plugs and install LED lightbulbs where they aren’t already in use. Additionally, we’re making an effort to donate and recycle unused or old electronics each year by taking a thorough inventory of what we currently have.
Lastly, to bring nature in and improve air quality, we’ve added more desk and office plants. Don’t worry – they’re not being neglected. Our “care schedule” ensures that everyone has a chance to care for their new green desk-mates.
Reaching Out & Making Connections
Although we always try to do this, this year we’re putting a focus on connecting with others to gain the highest and most diverse, quality knowledge we can about other eco-initiatives and processes. We’ve reached out to other organizations and our peers, asking them what they’re doing to make a change, and more importantly – if it’s working. We’ve also been sure to call ahead and make arrangements with catering companies before events to ask for less use of packaging and paper products upon delivery.
This is just the beginning – as we have many ideas to improve our eco footprint going forward. Interested in following along with Operation Eco’s journey? Keep an eye out for future StrataBytes blogs on our website, and connect with us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to follow our eco initiative.
Executing Your ABM Strategy
Welcome to the exciting conclusion of our six-part Account-Based Marketing (ABM) series!
To recap the series thus far, we’ve touched on the basics of ABM like aligning your sales and marketing teams, identifying target accounts, doing thorough research, and creating great content.
In part six, it’s finally time to put it all together and execute your strategy. Here’s how to do it in four easy to follow steps.
Let’s get started.
1. Identify Online Habits for Ideal Engagement
The first step is to identify where your stakeholders spend the bulk of their time online and the ways they like to view content. To illustrate this, we’ll base our example around an ABM approach to social media.
Once you have their habits and preferences identified — for instance, a preference for Facebook vs. Instagram — it’s time to carefully coordinate your messaging across key touchpoints. This means a multi-faceted approach.
For example, you might get the ball rolling by demonstrating value through social media engagement. In this scenario, you’d find groups and conversations decision makers from your target accounts are participating in. You’d then join the conversation, ideally with some relevant content your team has created.
Hopefully this would lead to a more direct dialogue — after you’ve established yourself, you can further the conversation via direct messages on social media. This is a great strategy, particularly when supplemented by more traditional means of approach, like personalized email outreach.
2. Build Out Customized Channels for Engagement
Having an attractive and convenient means for deeper engagement is crucial to building your relationship with those in control of target accounts.
This “means for deeper engagement” most effectively takes the form of a multi-channel approach to promotion such as:
- Building custom landing pages tailored to the needs, questions, and concerns of accounts
- Offering gifts for engagement and interaction (e.g. prizes, swag, and discount codes) while utilizing dimensional mail and PURLs
- Distribute content such as blog articles across channels that are relevant to each account (e.g. website, social media, and emails)
- Creating ad campaigns and social ads to target different factors such as location, skill, and job title
- Inviting contacts to (physical or digital) events and asking attendees to invite their colleagues
3. Forge Strong Relationships with Buying Committees
Here’s an obvious statement: swaying the buyer is the most important part of making the sale.
So how do we do that? Buyers rarely fall for glitz and superficial offerings, which means you need to take the right approach.
The right approach is basically comprised of the following:
- A focus on educational, value-add pieces
- Hyper-personalized content
- One-to-one (not one-to-many) communications
- Hosting events and webinars that speak to your target buyers
4. Measure Success and Plan for Your Next ABM Campaign
Once you’ve launched, the execution isn’t complete. You’ll need to look back on your efforts and evaluate their success. Remember, ABM is a long-term strategy, not a quick one-off.
You’ll want to turn to easily interpreted metrics for our evaluation separated into three categories: awareness, engagement and relationships.
The best ways to measure awareness is by evaluating things like website visits, social media mentions, and social shares.
To measure engagement, you’ll assess website behaviors like page visits, number of return visits, time spent on site, content downloads, product demos, and email sign-ups/response rate.
Finally, you’ll want to look at your relationships. To put numbers on what appears to be an intangible, take a look at things like the number of decision-makers reached, meetings set, proposals submitted, trial sign-ups, etc.
A Final Note On ABM
Over the course of our six-part series, we hope one thing has stood out above all others: the importance of relationships.
That’s really what ABM is all about — relationships founded on providing opportunity. Above all, ABM is about meaningful connection to create mutual success.
We hope you’re enjoyed this series. For more information on Strata and launching your own ABM strategy, contact us to see what we can do for you.
Why We Decided to Refresh Our Brand
Over the last three decades, we’ve done a lot of amazing things for a lot of amazing clients. We’ve pioneered automated direct mailing processes, built custom correspondence management portals supplementing complex workflows, and we’ve moved mountains to ensure our customers could stay focused on what they do best. In Strata lingo: we’ve Made Smart Happen.
In fact, our services and solutions have evolved to the point where we felt they were being constrained by the visuals of our existing brand. As experts in removing roadblocks and bottlenecks, we recognized that this meant we needed to make a change. Think of it as a makeover, if you will. And yes, we know they say, “it’s what’s on the inside that matters,” but first impressions are lasting impressions and it never hurts to have a pretty, shiny exterior to match the high-caliber engine on the interior.
So, we saw a huge opportunity to show the world (not just our clients) our true colors. We’re marketing enthusiasts dedicated to innovation, collaboration, and top-notch service – we just needed our branding to confirm that.
To Rebrand or Refresh – That is the Question
If you’ve ever worked on a branding project before, then you know the first question that needs to be answered is, “do we rebrand or refresh?” A complete rebrand requires scrapping your current identify and starting with a fresh slate, where a refresh allows you to keep your main identity and strategy intact.
The answer for us wasn’t hard to find – our brand was strong with our current clients and we had a great reputation as problem solvers and solutions experts – so a refresh it was! I mean, just like you wouldn’t build a new house to change the color of a room, we didn’t need to start from the ground up to create a brand that mirrored our vision, our team, and our solutions.
Ready, Set, Go!
Fast forward to January 2020 and we’re in go mode. Ideas were flying, brainstorming was brewing, and I’ll be honest, it was a good couple week of chaos. Even as a group of marketing professionals, I don’t think any of us truly recognized the complexity and number of brains it would take to refresh our brand. In the end however, the initial chaos was beautifully orchestrated and the seeds of our new brand began to sprout.
True to the saying, the first step (the discovery phase) was definitely the hardest. It made us take a deep look at who we were so we could identify each conflicting detail between who we were at our core vs. who we were on paper. It involved a lot of long, honest conversations – but they’re conversations that needed to happen.
Then came the fun stuff. After breaking down our brand into a million essential pieces, we finally started to put it all back together and our new brand started to emerge. Our voice, values, mission, logo and brand standards all began to meld together and tell a single, cohesive story that was both accurate and elegant.
To Infinity, and Beyond
As you can tell, we’re pretty pumped about this new brand and it’s hard for us to picture ourselves any other way – it finally feels like were walking in the perfect pair of shoes.
The best part is, our new brand doesn’t really feel new to any of us. In fact, it’s exactly who we’ve always been – sleek, bold, and always moving forward. Although we don’t know exactly know where the future will take us, we know that we have the vision, mindset, solutions, and *now* the brand to mirror it all.
So, I pose this question to you – what do you think of our new brand? We hope you feel the same as us and that you’re ready to Make Smart Happen and #StrideWithStrata.
Killer Content in 4 Easy Steps
Welcome to part 5 of our Account Based Marketing (ABM) series. In our previous blogs, we’ve touched on the basics of ABM, such as aligning your sales and marketing teams, identifying target accounts and doing thorough research.
This week, we’ll be moving towards the creative side of your ABM strategy — creating well-written and useful content. We’re going to take you through a 4-step process that’ll help you develop the kind of content that’ll drive your ABM strategy and connect you with your audience.
It’s hard to stress this point enough: it’s both difficult and crucial to actively engage your potential buyers, but like most of us, your buyer is constantly inundated with ads, emails, and not to mention, social notifications. As a marketer, it’s your job to cut through that noise and offer value, particularly when it comes to an ABM strategy.
Here’s how to create killer (and scalable) content to support your ABM strategy.
Step 1: Do Your Research
If you’ve been keeping up with our ABM series, you should’ve noticed a pattern by now — an ABM strategy relies heavily on research. That’s because the best ABM strategy is focused on personalization.
In the same way, the best ABM content is also personalized. This means that the more personal and relevant your content is, the more likely your target buyer will engage with you.
So, how do you create content that engages them? Ask yourself a few key questions:
- Who are your key personas?
- What do they care about?
- Where do they consume information?
- When do different types of content work best?
Step 2: Draw from Past Content
We never have as much time or resources as we’d like to. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of your hard work in the past to maximize your output in the future.
Here’s what we mean by that in the context of your ABM strategy: recycle your content. There is absolutely nothing wrong with picking and choosing pieces of relevant content to dust off and repurpose as part of your ABM strategy.
The key is not to waste time reinventing the wheel. Evaluate your existing content and figure out where it falls in your strategy. Go through it, find a couple core pieces of reworkable content and identify where you need to fill in the gaps with more research or fresh content.
It’s about working smarter, not harder- let’s stick to this cliché.
Step 3: Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
Before your content goes out the door, make sure that it’s as relevant to your audience as possible. For example, it’s important to include things like industry relevant examples and terminology.
Another important facet of personalization is the tone you use and making sure to change it with context. For instance, your tone may change from casual when addressing a perceived peer to more professional when addressing a member of your target account’s executive team.
The most important thing is that you decide what speaks most to the person with whom you’re trying to connect to.
Step 4: Create Your Game Plan
Once you have your content created, determine who gets what by identifying which content speaks directly to your target account’s needs.
Referencing back to step 1 — the research you did to develop engaging content— determine the best way to get that content to your audience and act.
Creating great content can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be a monumental struggle. By researching your audience, mining existing content, personalizing your materials and delivering your offering in an effective way, you can make valuable content that resonates with your target accounts.
Check back next Thursday for the conclusion to our ABM series – How to Execute Your ABM Strategy. And of course, if you’re ready to start your ABM program and would like to see how we can help, contact us to learn more.
A Deep Dive into Data Discovery
Welcome to part 4 of our Account Based Marketing (ABM) series.
So far, we’ve taken a look at the basics of ABM, how to align your sales and marketing teams ahead of your ABM campaign, and how to choose your target accounts.
In this installment, we’ll be taking a deep dive into data discovery — the importance of data to your ABM strategy, how to collect it, and why data hygiene is so crucial.
Let’s get started.
Why Good Data Is So Important
Good data is arguably the most important part of developing your ABM strategy, specifically when choosing your target accounts — it’s a B2B marketer’s best tool to identify the decision-makers ready to buy now.
In the next few paragraphs, we’re going to be discussing how to collect and utilize data from outside sources, but it’s important to note that plenty of data can be gathered internally from team members and existing data in your CRM.
3 Steps to Using Data For Choosing Targets
Step 1: Use Internet Data
One of the best ways to identify a target account is by gathering internet data. By using IP addresses and third-party cookies, we can look into online behaviors, such as search engine queries, repeat website visits and content downloads.
Step 2: Identify Net-New Prospects Through Audience Mirroring
As you begin to research and discover potential target accounts, you’ll begin to notice similarities in the types of businesses that come onto your radar. This can be a valuable research tool in helping you identify trends and patterns to build criteria for likely target accounts, ultimately speeding up your identification process and boosting your results.
Some places you’ll likely notice similarities include:
- Employee Responsibilities
- Employee Roles
Step 3: Researching the Individual
By now, you’ve narrowed down a pool of prospects into a group of true target accounts. Now let’s not blow all your hard work with a sloppy ending — it’s time to bring it home with by researching your point of contact.
Figure out who you need to reach out to. Once you have it ball parked (department, level of seniority, etc.) start looking at who the ideal point of contact might be. Some of the specific details you’re after are:
- Job title
- Decision-making hierarchy
- Account affiliation
- Activity/engagement history
- Skills and proficiencies
- Experience with your category
- Personal information (hobbies, family, likes dislikes)
Identifying Weaknesses and Maintaining Data Hygiene
It’s important to recognize areas where you may have insufficient data. This is a good opportunity to partner with other companies who have access to quality data and work together.
It’s also crucially important not to be cavalier in your choices when it comes to third-party data acquisition — choose your third-party vendors wisely to ensure that data is well-informed and accurate
Moving onto hygiene: once you have data, you need to maintain it. While we all know that good data is important, accudata.com offers these statistics to put the true cost of bad data into perspective:
- Corrupted and inaccurate data costs US businesses approximately 3.1 trillion dollars each year.
- Nearly 40% of all sales/donor leads include some form of corrupted data, making them either difficult to use or simply useless.
- There is a 25% rate of consumer data decay annually, requiring consistent vetting.
The bottom line here: make sure you acquire good data and maintain its integrity through best practices.
ABM is all about specificity, whether that’s in delegating roles, establishing goals, or doing research. An ABM strategy can be intimidating, but the rewards are worth it. Make it easy on yourself by starting with great data.
Looking to broaden your knowledge on Account Based Marketing? Check back next Thursday for our final ABM blog focusing on how to execute your campaign.
Think you’re ready to start your ABM program now? Contact us to see what Strata can do for you.
Finding the Needle in the Haystack
Welcome to part 3 of our Account Based Marketing (ABM) series.
To quickly review, in part 1 and part 2, you saw us introduce ABM as a strategy and dive into the steps you can take to align sales and marketing.
In this blog, we’ll go over arguably the most important step in an ABM campaign — identifying target accounts. Let’s do it.
What Are Target Accounts?
To put it simply, target accounts are the companies you want to turn into customers.
We’re sure you could’ve guessed that.
Why Target Accounts Are So Important
Selecting your target accounts isn’t as simple as “I’d really like our business to handle the collateral needs for Coca Cola.” It’s about identifying exactly which accounts fit best in your business model, help build your brand, and effectively grow your company. Basically, if you’re spending the bulk of your energy and resources identifying these accounts, then you’re doing it right.
The right target accounts are critical to the success of your ABM campaign. If you choose wisely, you’ll see better account engagement, quicker deal velocity, and larger deals. The wrong choice, however, often leads to difficulty defining clear goals, aligning your sales and marketing teams, and ultimately a poor ROI.
How to Identify Target Accounts
The first step to identifying a target account is to look at the goals your team has established for your campaign and create essential criteria.
Then, step two uses that criteria to establish a persona, creating an ideal customer profile for your target account. The process is a lot like creating personas for B2C business, except you’re creating a persona for an entire company. Things like annual revenue, reputation, philanthropic efforts, etc., all go into this profile.
Next, step three will put this persona to use. Start scouting prospects that fulfill your criteria and resemble the persona you’ve created.
Finally, step four is all about getting the data. Once you have a pool of potential target accounts, utilize any metrics you can get your hands on to delve into them and find which ones are truly the best fit for you. This is a good time to consider not only the potential financial payoff, but how doing business with this account will build your brand and provide value in the future.
Know Your Point of Contact
By now, you’ve narrowed down a pool of prospects into a group of true target accounts. Let’s not blow all your hard work with a sloppy ending — it’s time to bring it home with a little more research.
Figure out who you need to reach out to. Once you have it ball parked (department, level of seniority, etc.) start looking at who the ideal point of contact might be. The specific details you’re after are:
- Job title
- Decision-making hierarchy
- Account affiliation
- Activity/engagement history
- Skills and proficiencies
- Experience with your category
Once you have this information, use it to identify your ideal point of contact.
Double check everything, always…. that’s all.
Allocate Your Efforts
While all target accounts are important — that’s what makes them target accounts — they’re not all equally important. We can visualize this as a tier-based system:
Tier 1 accounts are perfect fits, similar to your highest value customers.
Tier 2 accounts are strong fits but have a lower lifetime value.
Tier 3 accounts fit most, but not all criteria. They’re worth pursuing but typically not worth investing significant resources to win their business.
The point of breaking up target accounts into these groups is energy allocation. You should allocate more resources to accounts that have the potential to drive the most revenue and/or strategic value for your business.
Worth the Work
It’s a pretty hefty work load up front, but ultimately, that research pays dividends — if you choose your targets wisely, your business could very well see growth like it’s never seen before.
That promise of success, however, does come with an important word of caution — if you rush the process and make the wrong move, you’re likely setting your ABM strategy up for failure.
The point is this: if you take your time, do your research and make smart moves, an ABM strategy can truly open new doors for you and your business.
Looking to broaden your knowledge on Account Based Marketing? Check back every Thursday for more ABM topics including tips for how to map individuals to accounts and collect data, best practices for defining and creating targeted campaigns, how to execute your campaign, and more.
Or, if you’re ready to start your ABM program and would like to see how we can help, Contact us today.