When’s the last time you practiced hitting a target? It’s no secret that the more you repeat the same motion over and over and over again, the better you become at that particular skill–just ask any NBA, NFL or MLB player. The world’s best athletes get it, so why don’t we apply the same learnings to marketing? After all, it’s usually the amount of time someone spends on target practice that separates the novices from the greats.
But the difference here, in our case, is that marketers are often looking to hit a constantly moving goal. Toss in a new tool required to hit that dancing dartboard and you’ve got a very frustrated marketing team. So I’d like to propose something: let’s embrace a bigger target with more surface area for us to hit and our straight-up-embarrassing misses, too, while we’re at it.
What do I mean by this? Well, let’s take a look at target account lists in Account Based Marketing. It’s easy to get caught up in building and maintaining the perfect list. And frankly, that can end up just eating more of our time than actually helping us. We as marketers need to be much more comfortable with practicing our craft and understanding that we won’t nail that hole-in-one or 3-pointer every time. And we shouldn’t expect ourselves to. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try, it just means that it’s perfectly OK to pick up the tools we have available to us and give it a go. After all, even Michael Phelps had to learn how to swim.
I say we make our best educated guesses, run some programs, campaigns and events, and then look at the data that comes in from these efforts. Over enough time, enough practicing and enough polling, you will have some amazing skills and insights to help you start hitting your more serious targets (longer distance, if you will).
So where to begin?
Luckily, everyone has some data, as everyone has some customers. Chances are there are deals that already exist that you’d love to repeat and some that you never want to look at again (and we all have those…trust me). Take a look at the customers you like and see if they share anything in common. Predictive tools can do this for you much faster and in a much bigger way, but sometimes your intuition and gut-feeling will be enough to get you started. Use this information to your advantage.
Do you have a list of “dream customers”? Grab those names! You don’t need a lot to start a super customized, offense-driven play (click here if you missed our post on offensive vs. defensive marketing).
Next, sit down with your sales team and figure out what content you can create to cater to these potential clients in a personalized way. A specific white paper? Data sheets that address common challenges in the industry, new product run-downs or customized solution options are just some to name a few. You probably only have time to dedicate this level of customization to a handful of companies, and that’s fine. So why not start with just 2 or 5?
As long as the messaging is right, you don’t have much to lose. And if you do lose? Learn from it; you are collecting valuable data after all. Take your fast fails and pivot. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Patriots in their fourth-quarter comeback at Super Bowl LI. (Too soon for you Falcons fans, out there?) It benefits to scope out the field, dive in with your best efforts, pivot your plan, and drive hard home to the finish line using what you’ve learned so far.
So knock up that arrow and start your target practice NOW. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
And if you want a little coaching first, feel free to reach out to your local superhero to see what we’d recommend for your marketing game plan, specifically. You got this!