What the Rise of Account-Based Marketing Means for Your Team

Jon Miller, What the Rise of Account-Based Marketing Means for Your Team

Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder of Engagio, joins the Content Experience Show Podcast to discuss staying relevant in the era of account-based marketing.

In This Episode:

Jon Miller

Engagio

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Full Episode Details

Jon Miller, What the Rise of Account-Based Marketing Means for Your Team

How to Stay Relevant in a World That’s Embracing Account-Based Marketing

Fifteen years ago, marketers faced less digital noise. Capturing the attention of your target audience online, though certainly a challenge, didn’t require the same kind of vigilance and stamina it does today. Today’s marketers are turning to new approaches to stay visible. For many B2B companies, account-based marketing is the name of the game.

Jon Miller’s years of experience at Marketo and, later, Engagio (which he co-founded, and where he is currently CEO) showed him that traditional approaches to lead generation didn’t always cut it when it came to crafting B2B audience personas. Businesses house many personas, after all, each with different needs and levels of decision-making power. This distinction, according to Jon, is the key to successful account-based marketing.

In this episode, Randy and Jon reflect on the ways marketing has changed in recent years, as well as the shifts in perspective necessary to stay relevant. You’ll hear Jon’s insight into things like content creation, smart devices, nurturing collaboration between sales and marketing, and examples of account-based marketing done right.

In This Episode

  • The most meaningful ways lead generation has changed in the last 15 years.
  • The difference between being a lead-focused marketing team and an accounts-focused team.
  • Why your post-sale marketing strategy is more important than ever.
  • Insight on crafting personas for account-based marketing.
  • How Alexa and Google Home could eventually change B2B content marketing.
  • Real-world examples of well-executed account-based marketing.

Quotes From This Episode

“In B2B, you need to be account-focused and not lead-focused.” – @jonmiller

There are multiple personas at a company. You need to hit them from different dimensions. Click To Tweet

“Post-sale is more important than ever, whether it’s retention or expansion or cross-sell.” – @jonmiller

Resources

Content Experience Lightning Round

If you were to create a podcast that had nothing to do with marketing, what would it be about, and who would be your first guest?

Jon would love to explore his passion for cocktails in a podcast and feature one of the authors of Death & Co.’s legendary cocktail guide as his first guest!

See you next week!

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Episode Transcript

  • Randy

    Welcome to the Content Experience podcast. I’m Randy Frisch and I am solo today. Or, I should say I’m without Anna today, but I have an amazing guest. A guest who I personally really respect, and have leveraged over the years for advice as a marketer. This is Jon Miller.

  • Randy

    Now, if you don’t know Jon Miller by name, he was one of the co-founders of Marketo, a company that recently sold for roughly $5 billion to Adobe. These days Jon has moved on from the days where he helped create a lot of the guides that established Marketo is a leader over there. And moved to Engagio, where the latest trend on a lot of our minds is account based marketing.

  • Randy

    Today, we touch on account based marketing, but this isn’t a pure account based marketing show. This is a show where Jon and I got to talk a little bit about, how is marketing changing? And what’s happening that’s pushing marketing in different directions? One of the things that I think Jon and I are so aligned on is this idea of the push to and expected personalized experience day-to-day.

  • Randy

    So, when we think about our content, how do we start to adjust that for the very many different audiences? There was a number of different points that he brought up that I found really interesting. One of them that I’m sure a lot of you think about is, how do you connect to different personas? But how do you do that even more so when it’s not even just a matter of the format of content or the length of content. Or are you doing a video? Are you doing an ebook?

  • Randy

    But what happens when you also have to start to think about the different channels that people are going to engage with? So, we talk a lot about these different ideas of engaging with accounts and how content comes into play on that front. You’re going to enjoy this podcast. Let’s hit it with Jon. We’ve got some fun right ahead for you.

  • Randy

    Welcome to the Content Experience podcast. I’m Randy Frisch, and I’ve got Jon Miller here with me. Jon, let’s dig right into it this week. On the podcast, we want to talk about how marketing’s changing. You’ve seen different evolutions of marketing. I mean starting Marketo at a time when marketing was changing itself. What was changing then? Before we talk about what’s changing now, what was changing back then?

  • Jon

    Yeah, well I mean, gosh, we started work at Marketo 2005. Then, if you think about that in history, I mean obviously that was before the iPhone and a bunch of other changes, but actually Google Ad Words was only about three years old back then.

  • Jon

    So, what was going on is really for the first time in 2005, marketers were generating leads at any kind of scale, really for the first time, online leads. They needed a place to capture these leads they were generating. Where does my click go? They needed a place to store these leads. Like, where do I put them?

  • Jon

    Then they needed, well, what do I do with them now that I have them? Because they’re not ready for sales.

  • Randy

    Right.

  • Jon

    It really was the rise of all this online lead generation that led to the business challenges that created the opportunity for Marketo, and Eloqua and HubSpot, and all these other guys. It was just this explosion in online lead generation.

  • Randy

    Interesting.

  • Jon

    Then, obviously, it’s not just paid online lead generation, but then content revolution came around. And now people started generating lots of leads organically and inbound. But same problem, where do I capture them? Where do I store them? What do I do with them?

  • Randy

    Quick question on that. To your point, in terms of capturing people’s attention back then, which is I think a big thing that we’ll probably get to today is, is how do we be relevant? How do we capture someone’s attention? What was being used back in 2005 to capture someone’s attention? Was it content being dangled on the other end still?

  • Jon

    Yeah, it was a lot easier though. The world was lot less noisy. Frankly, all you had to really do was start a blog, and you could get your word out. It was pretty crazy how, quote unquote, how easy it was then compared to what’s going on now.

  • Jon

    But, yeah, I think Marketo, we were early pioneers of obviously used it in content as the dangle to try to capture some of these leads as well. Yeah, it was just a lot easier than. It was before Content Shock and all that other stuff.

  • Randy

    Right, right. Yeah, absolutely. A lot has changed, to your point. 10 years later. It’s funny, I remember doing a post going into 2019, looking at 10 trends for 2019, but comparing them to the trends for 2009. And how different those trends were. I mean, same in some ways, but different in terms of sophistication.

  • Randy

    So, what are some of the things that you see now as you’ve taken on creating Engagio as a company, and some of your go to market strategies that you’re just trying to solve for in terms of complexion for the marketer?

  • Jon

    Yeah. Well, I mean all the problems that I’m most interested in are the ones that come about as a result of the limitations of Marketo and the other tools that we built. I mean, because that tool was built for a certain set of problems. But, you fast forward to today, and there’s some different things.

  • Jon

    I mean, the one that obviously I’m most associated with these days is, more and more people are realizing that just generate a bunch of leads isn’t what it’s really about. Because we don’t sell leads, we sell accounts. Salespeople don’t talk about how many leads they close. They talk about how many accounts they closed, and that kind of thing.

  • Jon

    So, clearly one the big changes is just this zeitgeist of realizing that in B2B, you need to be account focused and not lead focused. Right? And that’s the opportunity that I saw for Engagio. You got tools like Marketo that are lead focused. How do we create tools like Engagio that are more account focused? That’s one change.

  • Jon

    I think another one that I see, is most companies today are getting more of their revenue after their first sale, then as part of the first sale. That’s the whole, obviously the subscription economy and software as a service. But that whole post-sale is more important than ever, whether it’s retention or expansion or cross sell.

  • Jon

    The Marketo style tools aren’t built for that, right? They’re built to generate new leads for new business. It was, frankly, always a problem back when I was at Marketo that you would get a response from a customer, and it sort of was useless. Like, what’s the point?

  • Randy

    Right.

  • Jon

    Like, I’m trying to create new opportunities. What’s, what’s the value of this customer downloading my content?

  • Randy

    Yeah, it’s like who do we route this inbound request from a customer that goes to contact us at domain.com? Or fills out a form and you’re like, “Oh, that’s not us. That’s a support issue.”

  • Jon

    Yeah. Then, obviously, there’s business process stuff there, but Marketo and the other tools just aren’t built to support that. So I think that’s another big change, is this move to supporting post-sale. And as part of that, you’d need a much more nuanced understanding of different products and different buying centers. Right?

  • Jon

    Because that inbound lead request you just talked about, right? It might very well be a support request from a user who’s using your current product X. But it might also be a legitimate inquiry from a different buying center at the same company interested in product Y, that they don’t currently own.

  • Jon

    The existing tools just don’t have any ability to understand that distinction and treat it appropriately.

  • Randy

    I want you to go back to a point that you were comparing with back in 2005, or 10, 15 years ago whenever we want to pinpoint to. And this idea that there was a time when it was very simple that if we just created content, they would come, right? Kevin Costner, build it, they will come-

  • Jon

    Yep.

  • Randy

    … In Field of Dreams. Those days are pretty much gone. I think a lot of us can agree with that. You mentioned Mark Schaefer’s Content Shock. There’s also just the reality today, and I talk about this a lot, when I’m out there is, my own house, I have, I think last I checked seven Google home devices, right?

  • Jon

    Uh-huh (affirmative).

  • Randy

    And on those devices, that is how I search, right? I say to the device, “Tell me how to make poached eggs.” And I’m basically going to Google to say, “Give me the first result in the list.” It’s no longer being on the first page of the matters. We’re entering a world where we have to be in the first result, and we have to match to Amazon’s Echo Skills, and all the different things to help people understand how to be sufficient in life.

  • Randy

    How do you breakthrough now, or what is that expectation going … How is it going to shift, do you think, when it comes to content in terms of what do we have to lead with? Or how we engage our audiences?

  • Jon

    I think, well as you know, I’ve always had a bias towards big rock content, as I like to call it. The big, substantial, definitive, complete pieces of content that can really serve as the bedrock or the anchor to everything else. Amongst other reasons for that, is this thing that you’re talking about.

  • Jon

    You want to aim for the big fat head and not the long tail. Especially, when there’s even more and more and more noise out there. So, if you can have that cornerstone piece that people really do start to see as the definitive piece of content on the topic, it’s more likely to show up and in that number one spot.

  • Jon

    Now, I’m not sure how many people are at home asking their Google Home or their Alexa for B2B marketing advice. But I think some of the same principles still do apply.

  • Randy

    Yeah. I also think it’s a matter of time until that expectation from that Google Home device is also what transfers to even a Google Search. Where the first result that we expect should be the right result. There used to be that saying, the best place to hide something was page two of Google results. Now it is, it’s not just page one, it’s often result one.

  • Randy

    So, I like to think that, yes, we may not be at the point where we’re going to start talking to devices to get our answers from the B2B search perspective. But it relates to our expectations.

  • Jon

    Yeah. I think there’s something else going on that I haven’t really explored much, but there’s a definitive … I’m sure other people have explored this too, so it may not sound like rocket science. But, there’s a definitive difference to how I consume content, from how, for example, I think some of the millennials at my workplace is consumer content. Which is way different from how my 13 year old son consumes content.

  • Jon

    And to maybe over simplify the whole thing, the last thing I want to see when I have my content feed is video. If I see that it’s a video, I don’t want to click through, because I don’t want something to start playing. I want just something I can read. And then other people, it’s just give me the video all the time.

  • Jon

    So, I think as we think about evolving content into the future, obviously there’s different formats and different modalities. And to be honest, I haven’t cracked the code on what is the video equivalent of my clear and complete guide.

  • Randy

    Right, absolutely.

  • Jon

    That anchor piece.

  • Randy

    This is a fun debate. I want to keep going on this one. I actually have an interesting customer segment that I think this relates really well to, the example you just said.

  • Randy

    But we’re going to leave that as a cliffhanger, hear from one of our sponsors. And we’ll use that on the second half here just to debate how do you go to market when you have so many different audiences, and only so much bandwidth to create content? We’ll be right back here on the Conex podcast.

  • Jay

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  • Jay

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  • Jay

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  • Randy

    All right, Jon, we’re back and we’re talking about the importance of delivering more relevant content ultimately to people. And their different consumption patterns and how they’re changing these days. I tease this idea that, that’s a challenge in different ways that we go to market.

  • Randy

    One of them that I actually spoke to a marketer recently on is higher education. Choosing a university or a college, and having to figure out in that scenario where the college has to essentially get the parent on board. Has to get the student onboard, who may be 17 years old or younger when they start making their choices.

  • Randy

    Not to mention they’re also trying to get alumni to sponsor or donate to the university, which is a whole other demographic. So you end up with these marketing teams, and we can relate to this probably in our B2B world, where these days the number of people who are weighing in on a buying decision is growing. Right?

  • Randy

    When someone evaluates Uberflip, I’m sure Engagio, we’re not dealing with one buyer, we’ve got multiple buyers. So, how are you starting to test these different personas and understand what does work?

  • Jon

    Well, I think it is a really good use case for the whole idea of account based marketing. I mean a lot of people think of account based marketing as just sending cute packages or something. But in reality what it is, it’s about understanding that there is an account, and there are multiple people at that account. And you do need to engage with them.

  • Jon

    Usually, they’re segmented by persona more than by content consumption habit. But, that would be an interesting way to think about segmenting things. Yeah, but fundamentally if the account is worth enough value, then you’ve got to go in and really say, “Okay, who are the six people that I care about? And how am I going to engage with each of them separately?”

  • Jon

    That’s what ABM’s about, and that might be this person needs video, and this person needs written content. It might be that this person really cares about profitability, whereas this person cares about ease of use. And just different ways of just making sure that you are being relevant.

  • Jon

    Because fundamentally, more than anything else, I think when people are talking about ABM, one of the things that’s important to say as part of that discussion is you’re reaching out to people, you’re not waiting for them to come and raise their hand to you.

  • Jon

    When you’re reaching out to people, you have to stand out from all the noise and all the clutter that’s out there. And the only way you’re going to do that is if you can be more relevant. If you can be more meaningful, somehow connect to their needs and their pains better than everybody else. So, yes, it’s a buying committee, multiple personas, multiple types. How are we going to stand out?

  • Randy

    So, maybe you can give people an example of a program or campaign that you’ve seen operated well. Either something Engagio’s doing, or one of the accounts that you’re working with. Who are taking that time to understand that there’s a different type of content or different type of engagement strategy that’s needed for different buyers at different stages. And someone who’s differentiated well.

  • Jon

    Well, I think there’s probably more examples out there. But one that comes to mind of just people who really think about multiple personas that they need to sell to, is come to help Lingo Live that sells language training for people who have large outsource development teams. Right?

  • Jon

    So, again, if you have a bunch of engineers in some foreign country, how do you help them speak English well enough to collaborate with the rest of the company, for example. So, it’s an interesting business problem they’re solving. But there’s no way that somebody buys their product without basically a sign off from both the head of HR and head of engineering.

  • Jon

    In reality, those two departments don’t talk very often. So, they put together a relatively simplistic ABM program, but that just basically sent a package to both of them. Actually, I don’t remember the specifics of what they said, but that it only worked is if they came together.

  • Jon

    I think as a gift card, but the each had half the code or something. It was basically a forcing function just to get these two executives, who don’t normally talk, to actually have a collision. And maybe explore the business problem that they’re talking about.

  • Jon

    So, not a perfect example of what you’re getting at. But it is at least the first thing that comes to mind of people who really think about the fact that there are multiple personas at a company, and you therefore need a to hit them from different dimensions.

  • Randy

    Absolutely. One of the ones that I know you guys do a great job with, because we’ve talked a lot about ABM, is having a guide of your own. And it’s hefty as you said, it’s a big rock. When you think about engaging with people, is your goal that is many of the people in the buying committee read that asset?

  • Randy

    Or is your goal that specific will, but there may be derivatives of that asset for others in that committee to simplify?

  • Jon

    Yeah, I mean it’s, it’s a good question. Our goal has been just how do we get as many people to see this thing as possible? Also how do we get the most important people to see this thing? We wrote it in a way that’s very much designed to be flipped through and browsed.

  • Jon

    Most white papers, are written very much like, I’m starting on page one and I expect the reader is going to read it. Each page and these big blocks of text. I don’t think that’s actually how people consume a lot of the content.

  • Jon

    So, I think even though these books are big and potentially on the face of it overwhelming, it’s, “Oh, wow, it’s 180 pages.” What’s amazing is you put it in somebody’s hands and you just see what they start doing. They just start flipping through. Then something catches their eye and they look at it. Then they go a couple more pages and then something else catches their eye.

  • Jon

    That’s almost a nice format to get different people … Different people will claw onto different things based upon their own interests.

  • Randy

    Yeah. See, it’s got that feel on … I don’t know. I’m thinking of this because my oldest kid is almost as old as yours, he’s 12, and he brought home from school last nigh, his yearbook, right? I mean, this thing’s thick, but he showed it to me and he wanted me to look through the whole thing.

  • Randy

    I was intrigued, but I flipped through and I pick the sections that looked intriguing. Or look like I could connect with my kid in some sort of meaningful way. I think that’s very aligned with how a lot of us look through a lot of content today. Right?

  • Randy

    I mean, as you said, when we’re on a channel like Linkedin, we’re scrolling through just looking for something that catches our attention. And it sounds like those elements are still possible if we format these guides, and format these big rock assets in that way.

  • Randy

    Perhaps that’s something to think about, as you said earlier, how do you transfer this into video or something like that? There needs to be a way to navigate to those highlight moments without getting overwhelmed seeing a 25 minute video.

  • Randy

    We’ve got a couple minutes left, we’ll get you to stick around Jon. We always try and have some fun and get to know our guests a little bit better. But before we break to that, maybe just let us know where people can find that guide that we’ve just talked about.

  • Jon

    Yeah, engagio.com/guide is the short URL. Or you can just go to your website and you probably won’t have too much trouble finding it. It’s The Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing.

  • Randy

    There you go. All right, Jon, we got to know you. We got to know the past of Marketo, the president of Engagio. We’re going to get to know a little bit of behind the scenes when you’re not in work mode right after this short break.

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  • Randy

    All right, Jon, we are back on the Conex podcast, and we are just wrapping up here. We’ve got a couple of minutes left to get to know you, some of your interests, what fuels you and you’re not dreaming about marketing. One of my favorite questions to ask people ties to podcasts.

  • Randy

    We’re on a podcast. It’s a great format of, of content. Maybe it is that answer, as we said, to the big rock piece that can be created on a regular basis. But if you were creating a podcast that had nothing to do with marketing, just tied to a passion, a hobby, an interest that you focus on, on your downtime, what would be that podcast? What would you call it? Or who would be your first guest on, on that podcast?

  • Jon

    So, at first I wanted to talk something about, how I know like working out and staying fit and all that kind of thing. And I realized that even though that’s important, to me that’s not what my podcast would be about. Instead, my podcast would be about a passion in the other direction on the health spectrum, which is cocktails.

  • Randy

    All right, nice.

  • Jon

    I’m very into cocktails. I make them at home. Love having company over and always … I’ve got a good enough bar, I can make quite a few things. They’re interesting variants in them. I’m always exploring new, different things. So, I think it would be fun-

  • Randy

    What’s your go to drink on a Sunday evening?

  • Jon

    Oh, it varies all the time. I mean, like a lot of people, I drink a lot of Manhattans because they’re both good and easy. Recently, I’ve been making a drink called the Vieux Carre.

  • Randy

    That’s amazing. I’ve had it. It’s awesome.

  • Jon

    It’s a sweeter, spicier version of the Manhattan. A thing called the Penicillin I’ve been making a lot recently.

  • Randy

    I haven’t had that.

  • Jon

    Well, it’s got scotch and honey and ginger in it. Anyway, I think a podcast about cocktails and cocktail trends, history of cocktails, something around that.

  • Jon

    There’s a really good, from the best cocktail recipe books out there, it’s called Death and Company, which is … I believe they’re a New York cocktail bar, but they have published more like the great modern guides to cocktails. So, I’d have one of those authors on the podcast. They’d be a cool guest.

  • Randy

    That’s amazing. That’s great. I would tune in. This is true, you can ask my marketing team. I’ve wanted to do a segment from a content perspective called Content and Cocktails. Where two marketers just sit at a bar, order a drink. Very Seinfeld-like in terms of comedians in cars drinking coffee, but a simplified for production purposes. Maybe we’ll collaborate.

  • Randy

    Anyways, Jon, this has been a lot of fun. I really thank you for making the time, and for everyone listening, for tuning in. Hopefully this challenges you to think more about the relevance of the content you’re putting in front of people as you try to engage with accounts in a more meaningful way.

  • Randy

    I think that’s the big takeaway, is that marketing has changed a lot over the last 10, 15 years alone, And it will continue to change going forward, leaning to this personalization economy. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please check out all the other episodes.

  • Randy

    You can find them anywhere from Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, we are everywhere. Where you can, please leave a review and let us know what you’d like. Until next time, thanks so much for tuning in.

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