It doesn't help to diversity your marketing channels and find new targets if you're just going to use the same tactics. New targets mean new tactics, says podcast guest Vin Turk, who joins host George B. Thomas for Episode 575.
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"A common myth [in account-based marketing] is, I can just keep doing things the way I was doing it before, but now I just need an account list. I just need a list of companies or accounts to target," he says. "I think when marketers approach these new types of activation strategies, account-based marketing or connected TV, they may be using a legacy, an old school mindset."
For a developing channel such as connected TV (CTV), the medium has to dictate the message—and forms of measurement.
"If [you] simply put out a broad message that you would have in other video channels, now on the CTV side, you're leaving something on the table," says Vin. "You're looking at a big screen. The user, the watcher, they can't really take many actions; they can't go up to the screen and start pressing on it. Nothing is going to happen. I've seen creative ways of using QR codes or vanity URLs to track that response."
Vin pushes adopting an experimental mindset throughout the episode.
"Try a variety of things in isolated environments, so it's not a negative impact to the overall business, but we could learn a lot from those experiments," he says. "With that mentality and resources and budget set aside, now let's start trying different tactics and seeing the outcomes."
Listen to the entire show from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.
George B. Thomas: I have to ask, are you paying attention to or using CTV? Are you using CTV precision? Today we're going to talk about unleashing the power of ABM, account-based marketing, to reach the right B2B audience. All the acronyms in today's title. We're going to be talking about all of these things today with the one, the only, Vin Turk.
Of course, you know how this rolls. We're going to talk about what keeps Vin up at night, we're going to talk about what we actually mean when we say things like leveraging ABM, what CTV or connected TV is versus OTT, we're going to talk about hurdles, we're going to bust some myths, we're going to look at what success looks like, and of course we're going to get those valuable words of wisdom along the way.
As co-founder and chief operating officer at Madison Logic, Vin is responsible for creating strategic data partnerships, as well as guiding and growing the company's leading business intent initiatives. Vin brings over 15 years of expertise in strategy and design of B2B digital media platforms. Prior to co-founding Madison Logic, Vin provided senior account strategy at Industry Brains, successfully building digital advertising initiatives for some of the largest technology organizations, including Microsoft, Dell, EMC, and Intel.
Before Industry Brains, Vin engineered business continuity processes and disaster recovery solutions for the Department of Defense at Hanscom Airforce Base in Massachusetts. Vin is an advisor to a number of internet startups in New York City, he holds a bachelor's of science degree in computer engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and today he's providing mad value on the conversation of CTV ABM for you, the B2B marketers.
Let's get into the good stuff. Today we're talking about CTV and we're talking about ABM, but we're going to talk about this all around B2B and B2B audiences because you're a B2B marketer. The good thing is I have Vin Turk here with me today who is the expert. Again, I know you saw the title, but we literally are talking about the conversation of CTV precision, unleashing the power of ABM to reach the right B2B audiences.
Vin, how the heck are you doing today?
Vin Turk: I'm doing great, George. Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure and I relish the opportunity.
George: We're going to have some fun and bring value along the way. One of the questions that I like to ask at the beginning of the podcast has proven to provide some very interesting answers. In this conversation that we're having today around CTV and ABM and B2B and all of the letters just smashed together, what the heck keeps you up at night, is it a dream, is it a nightmare?
Vin: What keeps me up is the curiosity that marketers have to experiment, to dabble, to explore new channels, new ways to connect with their most valued accounts, but what keeps me up is are they thinking through it the right way? Are they planning to measure success in the appropriate way that can be communicated both up the value chain and across horizontally to the organization? And is that organization, their company that they work for, bought in, are they in the mindset that this is something that we need to explore, we know and understand the value here, maybe we haven't started yet, but we want to go in eyes wide open?
That's what keeps me up. When I talk to clients, I like to do a litmus test to understand where they are in that maturity curve of buy-in, understanding, and a foundation of properly measuring all these different channels within ABM.
George: I love this idea. When you were talking, I got this circular communication, like understanding in all directions where this needs to go. I would say it's a little bit of a dream in a good way. Let's do this. One of the things that I like to do is level-set because you never know the listener, they could just be getting started or they could have been doing this for years, and we did throw a lot of letters that aren't the actual words at them at the beginning of this episode. When we say leveraging ABM for the rest of this conversation today, what the heck do we actually mean?
Vin: I think the most important letter of ABM is the A, account. Account-based marketing, what does that mean? It means focusing and strategically pointing toward pursuing accounts, organizations to become your clients, or expanding your existing client base in ways that provide strategic value for your company. Maybe that means that they have the highest revenue potential or upside. Maybe it's that they could become the best customers to become advocates of your solutions.
It's moving from a mindset of broad advertising and marketing to much more narrow, specific, and explicit focus on the particular accounts that are going to have a meaningful and material impact on your company.
George: I love this idea of quit trying to spread a broad net and actually be pinpoint focused on who is a good fit, who you want to work with, that type of thing. I love account being the number one word in those three letters. Let's keep digging through these, because we put a few in. Connected TV advertising, or CTV. Some marketers might be like I know another acronym, what makes that different? We'll talk about that in a minute. When you talk about CTV, what do we actually mean?
Vin: We'll get to the other acronym shortly. CTV is delivering video content to large format screens, televisions essentially. That can be typical shows that you would watch on your traditional cable network, but now it's delivered via the internet into a smart device or television that can consume internet content. Whether you're thinking of your Roku device, your Chromecast, or your Amazon Fire Stick, it can be different apps, it can be in the Hulu app, Peacock, there's a thousand different apps out there. The thing to remember about CTV is it's larger format televisions. Think of the bigger screens here.
George: Okay. Beautiful, bigger screens. If you're advertising, you're like I like big screens, let's go. Also, I know there might be marketers that are like I thought that was the OTT thing. What's the OTT? Let's answer the question what is the difference between OTT and CTV so marketers can understand as we move forward in this conversation why there is a difference.
Vin: OTT, over the top, is actually very similar to connected TV, but there is an important difference. Over the top is still focused on video content delivered through the internet, but the viewer can consume it in a wide variety of different devices. Like this smartphone—I'm holding up my iPhone here. It could be a laptop, a tablet, or it could also be a smart television or a larger television that can simply consume internet content as well.
OTT encompasses a wide variety of different devices, while connected TV is more narrowly focused on that larger format, that larger experience.
George: I love what my brain is doing right now. I start to think about the words that you're using, and hopefully the words that the Marketing Smarts listeners are paying attention to. CTV is more focused. ABM is more focused. I feel like we're saying you need to be focused on your focus as we move forward.
Now, we've kicked the tires, we've checked the gas, safety check done. Time to get in the car and buckle up and drive down the road. What are some key elements that B2B marketers should be paying attention to when leveraging ABM and CTV for their marketing success in the future?
Vin: This is one of my favorite topics. When you think about what the goals are and how to measure success when it comes to activating programs, account-based marketing, connected TV, in my mind, the biggest impact that a marketer can have is prove out and drive revenue growth, customer retention, and customer expansion. There are lots of vanity metrics, all different ways of measuring media campaigns, activation, all these different channels. But when you get to the heart of it, what are we trying to accomplish? Impacting and growing our revenue, preserving or retaining our revenue, and getting our customers to love us and want to spend more time and money with us as we become a trusted partner to them.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is how is this going to impact my organization from a revenue perspective. That can then bleed into pipeline, conversion rates, pipeline velocity, average contract value, all metrics I think are most important, especially when we start looking at a channel like connected TV where you're looking at the big screen. The user, the watcher, they can't really take many actions, they can't go up to the screen and start pressing on it, nothing is going to happen. I've seen creative ways of using QR codes or vanity URLs to track that response. So long as you can tie that back to the impact that you're having to your revenue, to your pipeline, and the velocity of your sales team, I think you're in a good place.
George: I love this so much. Again, I hope that the Marketing Smarts listeners heard the words impacting, retaining, loving. I feel like that's a three step methodology to just keeping the back door of revenue closed shut and not always needing to focus on bringing more people in. Why am I saying that? It takes us back to the focus of the focus. If the back door is not wide open, and everybody is going out the back door, then you can focus on what you are actually bringing in. Impacting, retaining, and loving.
I feel like this next question could be two questions. I positioned it as one, but if you answer it as two, I won't be mad. I want you to take time to debunk the myth. The reason I always throw this into the episode is I am a big fan of Mythbusters. I could watch that show over and over again. If there's a marathon on, my wife knows I'm checking out for the day, I'm going to get my chips and my beverage, and we're going to go here. In the heart of that show, what is a common myth about ABM or CTV or ABM and CTV together that you want to debunk here right now on the Marketing Smarts Podcast?
Vin: I'm going to answer it as two different questions, but the answers are going to actually be very similar. I think with account-based marketing a common myth is I can just keep doing things the way I was doing it before, but now I just need an account list, I just need a list of companies or accounts to target. All of the different content, the messaging, the channels that I was using in the past, just keep using it in the same exact manner, but slap on a target account list and we're good to go.
Why is that a myth? Because if you treat these narrow audiences in the same way, they're likely going to respond in the same way. ABM gives you an opportunity to get closer to that prospect or even your customer. Personalize the message based on what you know about that account, based on where that account is in the buyer's journey, based on the type of personas in that account that have meaning, rather than saying let's just target anyone that might be generally on this buying committee at any company in these broad ranges of industries. The message gets diluted and it doesn't have nearly as much of an impact when it's received on a broad swath of accounts versus when you take the time, improve the amount of resources that you use into these strategic accounts, you see higher engagement, higher responses, and faster sales cycles.
Let's shift gears and look at connected TV. You could argue if I simply put out a broad message that I would have in other video channels, now on the CTV side, you're leaving something on the table. You're leaving opportunities that this new channel affords. I kind of alluded to some of it a little bit earlier. A QR code, another type of vanity URL, or simply leveraging data in this ecosystem of connected TV where more and more data is becoming available, if you're not leveraging it, you're leaving opportunity on the table. Use it to your advantage, personalize that message, understand where your buyer is in their journey, and understand the nuances of that channel and how it plays alongside more of a multichannel approach in the mix.
George: So good. Ladies and gentlemen, we might have reached a rewind point. The fact that Vin went into ABM and was talking about journey, personalization, a stronger message versus a diluted one, that is the direction that you as B2B marketers want to go. I would be remiss if I didn't mention leveraging data. You mean we can make smart future choices based on the true data that we can see? That's where we want to be as B2B marketers.
Vin, let's keep chugging along down the road here. Are there any tips, tricks, templates, hacks, tools that B2B marketers can use when implementing ABM and/or CTV? My brain thinks things like starting, scaling, measuring. What are those tips, tricks, hacks, templates that might be out there for folks?
Vin: To start, I would say buy-in within the marketing org to have an experimental-type mindset. We're going to try a variety of things in isolated environments, so it's not a negative impact to the overall business, but we could learn a lot from those experiments. You get buy-in of marketing, hopefully you have buy-in from sales, and even the larger organization, it could be customer success, operations, all the way up to the C-suite. With that mentality and resources and budget set aside, now let's start trying different tactics and seeing the outcomes in a very small pilot like formation.
Which means how do I know if I'm going to see greater success if I use content syndication, connected TV, LinkedIn, and programmatic display all working in harmony together versus one or maybe two of those channels? You're not going to know unless you test them. You can run a huge combination of all these different tests, but if you don't have the right ways of measuring that success, then you're going to be looking at all of this data saying, "Did it work? Maybe. This person says it works. This one does not."
Buy-in runs through not just experimentation, but it runs through how we're going to measure success here. Start small, prove it out, and then with that data you can go back to validate an even larger use case and get more resources to continue to spend, to continue to expand it out.
I'm always thinking about this continual experimentation mindset. As you know, George, there are so many new tools, so many different ways to go after these accounts, and so many different types of data to leverage that you can never say we nailed it, we hit it, our job is done, we never have to experiment or try something new.
When you talk about tools, platforms, channels, systems, look at just one of those. There's different channels here. We're talking about connected TV today, that's a relatively new channel for account-based marketers. Big brands have been using this channel for a number of years, but leveraging data that you have on your customers, what you know about them, in combination with your best-of-breed vendors, that's a one-two punch. If you're solely reliant on external data sources or only your internal knowledge, again, you're leaving opportunity on the table there.
Experimentation, measurement, impact to pipeline, buy-in from sales and the broader organization, I think those are the best ways to start.
George: So many good words in there. I jot them down as we're going along. By the way, I am going to ask you to go off the beaten path for a second here in a minute. I just have to double down on that buy-in, above and below, beside, buy-in. I love the idea of creating experiments, smaller at first, then they can get larger along the way.
You said something in there that I was like I hope the Marketing Smarts listeners hear harmony in your multichannel strategy. That is a key factor to understand what affects that thing that moved the needle. Vin, I know you're a brother from another mother because I heard you say don't get to the end and ask, "Did it work," that is not the place to be as a B2B marketer.
So, off the beaten path for a second. Mar-tech, tools space, the SaaS space, the technology space, it's like a jungle. Are there a couple of tools that we could at least mention or that maybe people could start to research around ABM and CTV so that we can at least know where we can dip our toes into the water?
Vin: I'd say the first tool and platform and activation system that I would recommend is Madison Logic. That's a selfish statement. I just think that we're doing such incredible things leveraging data, harnessing our clients' first party information in a very secure encrypted manner, and then the ability to bring them across all these channels is unique. That's exactly what we do.
Then I would say when we look across the broader stack, most marketers today have some CRM system already in place, whether it's Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or even a combo of a CRM marketing automation like HubSpot. What we're seeing is more and more of these platforms are moving at such a rapid pace. We haven't talked about that other acronym yet, the two letter acronym. Maybe we'll get to it, maybe not. But that I think is going to be fueling so much innovation and an acceleration of the rate at which chance occurs inside these tools. Big shoutouts to Marketo on the marketing automation side, which we use.
Putting these tools together and making sure that they're configured properly and data is flowing accurately and in near real time when possible is fantastic. A lot of different systems, though, they don't always play nice together.
Something that I'm a big fan of are middleware connector tools, like a Tray.io or Workato. Those folks have spent the time to build out connections into so many different platforms in not just martech, but in business intelligence, data warehousing, sales, and operations, that it enables companies to simply connect in with a few clicks and have their information securely traverse between these systems to just open lots of new opportunities. I think one of the earliest players in that space was Zapier, many years ago. Bootstrap company that built connections, APIs, into so many different systems.
I would encourage you to always stay on the ball on what's happening and what's new, but to your point, George, it's not easy. The volume of new players and those coming out with new offerings is just exploding. Scott Brinker's Martech Landscape, every year it gets bigger and bigger, until there isn't a PDF large enough to contain all of the logos on that landscape.
George: It's almost going to be the size of the world soon. Let's stay off the beaten path, let's not pull this car back on the road quite yet. You teased out and alluded to a two letter acronym. Why don't you double down on that and explain to the Marketing Smarts listeners what you mean?
Vin: I am referring to artificial intelligence, AI. More specifically, generative AI. It made a big splash just a few months ago when OpenAI released ChatGPT, the third version, large language models that seemingly felt like you're conversing with a human. Really smart developers started plugging into their infrastructure and building tools on top of that. We're already looking at, experimenting, using some of those tools.
We're going to bring this back to account-based marketing now. When you think about this concept of personalization, that sounds like I have to do a lot of work creating new content, new messaging, new imagery to go after each of these accounts. Leveraging tools that can speed that development, I think, is a boon for marketers.
I think it's rational to say for some marketers, "What does this mean for my job, my position?" I would argue this is a boon for your job and position because this is like what the calculator was, but even more exponentially beneficial. To work alongside these tools, help you be more productive, get more insight, and really dive deep into your workflows to get a lot more stuff done.
I'm very bullish on the positive impacts that AI can have, especially for marketers that are inundated with so many different types of data, so many different channels. How do I make sense of it? How do I experiment? Leverage some AI tools to help you.
George: So good. Let's pull the car back on the road. As we're driving down the road, the Marketing Smarts listeners are listening to artificial intelligence, research, some tools, start to use the different channels, start to have a different focus, they're going to start driving down the road themselves and they're going to run into hurdles. What have been the hurdles that you've seen B2B marketers face when trying to leverage ABM, CTV, or ABM and CTV together, and how in the world can you help them get over those hurdles or potholes?
Vin: I'm a big fan of automotives and driving, so let's continue on that. Again, I think when marketers approach these new types of activation strategies, account-based marketing or connected TV, or using them together. They may be using a legacy, an old school mindset, "I'm going to measure success the same way that I was in the past." That's likely not going to cut it. If you simply look at open rates, click rates, and engagement without looking at the metrics that matter that drive the business, you're going to be missing the boat here.
Something to look out for is as I proclaim experiment, test, experiment, make sure you have a solid foundation. Not just that buy-in, but how do I measure success, how do I set the right expectations, and how do I kind of put the high beams on so I can see the potholes even before they're right in front of my front wheels. If I have more time to give myself to make the necessary adjustments, steer the steering wheel, look in my rearview to see if anyone else is coming, and recalibrate along the road, I'm going to be better off. I can communicate that across my organization much better as well. Giving yourself more visibility is beneficial for your own sanity, but also for the marketing team that you're likely leading here as well.
George: So good. I hope that people are paying attention. You did allude in that last section, I heard the word success. When you think about this conversation that we've been having today, and it has embraced focus, it has embraced AI, it has talked about focus, AI, CTV, ABM, all of those things, let's tie this in with a nice bow to that word success. What the heck does success look like when it comes to leveraging ABM and CTV, I'll even throw in AI? How can we determine if we're effectively doing the things, hitting the right audience? In other words, how do we know if we've reached ABM and CTV nirvana?
Vin: Here's how I would approach it. Prior to activating an account-based strategy, prior to using connected TV, what did all of our success metrics look like? We can start at the high level, top of funnel vanity metrics, we can go down into pipeline, value, volume, velocity, my conversion rates, average contract value and lifetime value of those customers. Use that as your baseline. Now we're saying we're going to change things up, we're going to deploy account-based marketing, we're going to test these new channels.
The litmus test is, are we improving upon those baseline metrics. Some of them may not be the case. You may find that it's actually a longer sales cycle, but the upside on the revenue is exponentially greater than the traditional approach. You have that baseline set of success metrics that cannot be argued, it's bought-in at the CRO level, the CFO level, even the CEO level. We know how the business is operated and run, we're trying account-based marketing, we're using these channels, including connected TV. We are going to measure have we increased conversion rates on a small subset of the accounts that we pursued and how does that differ from that baseline metric, average contract value, sales velocity, all of these different ways.
I like to look at this and say, let's establish this before we even start experimenting and let's put out some guesstimations. What do we think the upside incremental lift is going to be? How is this going to positively improve our conversion rates? Set those expectations with whoever manages you above, and hopefully they send that even further up the chain.
I'm someone that does not like surprises. If you put out even estimates, guesses, here's what we assume is going to happen predictions, regardless of even if you fall far off of that, you planted a flag in the ground saying this is what I expect to happen, and now you can work from that center place. Why didn't it happen this way? Let's dive into the data. Why did our conversion rates go up even more? Was it something about the channel mix? Was it something about the message or the key personas we went after and pursued?
Having the baseline as what you always point back to, always refer and look back to, kind of that rearview mirror saying are we heading in the right direction, and that allows us to recalibrate, maybe putting in higher octane fuel, maybe changing the tires, maybe swerving off the road a little bit and taking a different path.
George: I have loved this conversation. Before I ask the last question, I do want to go off the beaten path one more time. The thing that keeps ringing in my brain after this amazing conversation is how the heck do I get started? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can't go to CTV.com to get started. If I'm listening to this and I'm like, let's go, how the heck do I get started?
Vin: One of the best ways to get started is come on over to MadisonLogic.com and take a look at what our CTV offerings are in combination with our entire ABM platform. For those that are maybe looking to just understand the ecosystem and landscape, there are ways that you can programmatically target accounts in the CTV universe via a wide variety of demand side platforms, DSPs. You may not find all of the benefits, on the measurement side especially, by going that route compared to more of an ABM specific partner or vendor, because they have to appease a wide variety of different types of clients, consumers, and so on.
When it comes to understanding how to start this, what budget to set aside, that's an internal conversation where you have to understand what are the limits of the types of tests that we can run and who, meaning the vendors, we should include in that experimentation and those tests. We usually find that out by talking to the vendors. Be curious, get out there, and identify who may be a fit, and start chatting with them. What I think they'll find is there might be a few players that can combine account-based marketing and CTV. It hasn't really hit the mainstream yet, but I think it's heading there.
Dip your toe into it. Start small. Experiment. Understand each vendor's strengths and weaknesses and where they are focused. Are they purely and exclusively a paid media activation platform that just wants to be the best at paid media, or maybe they're going after different areas of the value chain, personalization, chat bots, and so on. How does that fit into the equation that is your business strategy and where you want to head? That's for every marketer to decide.
George: Marketing Smarts listeners, did you hear the be curious, dip your toe in, create experiments? Again, these themes are running through the episode.
Vin, I have had an amazing conversation with you today. I have one last question that I love to end the podcast with. You've been on a journey, we've all been on a journey, and along the journey, we get these little nuggets of wisdom from actually doing things, helping people, putting ourselves through it. What are the words of wisdom that you would like to share with the Marketing Smarts listeners? It could be about leveraging ABM, it could be about CTV, it could be about marketing ads, it could be about life itself. What are your final words of wisdom?
Vin: I'm going to give you two little ones. Don't sweat the small stuff, which is really look at the larger picture, the longer term picture of what you're after, and don't get too bogged down in little tiny things that push you to the side a little bit.
The other one is something that my dad said to me when I was in the second grade. I was a drummer and I was starting the orchestra. I had a horrible experience, the orchestra conductor yelled at me and made me cry in front of the whole class there. He said it's like water off a duck's back. During your experimentation, during your testing, trialing, and entering new things, it's not always going to work out. If you let that bog you down, it's going to suppress that curiosity, it's going to make you not want to be as curious and experiment and see what else is out there.
So, have that long term vision and strategy and goal in mind, and always stay focused on that. You're going to run into issues, hurdles, team members may decide to leave, new people will join that need to get ramped up, there will be setbacks. As long as you stay focused on that North Star, you have that guiding light, you have that compass that leads you to exactly where you know you need to go.
George: Marketing Smarts listeners, did you take lots of notes? I have to ask, what is your one thing, your number one execution opportunity after this podcast episode? Make sure you reach out and let us know in my inbox or on Twitter using the hashtag #MPB2B.
I also have to ask are you a free member of the MarketingProfs community yet? If not, head over to Mprofs.com/mptoday. You won't regret the additional B2B marketing education that you'll be adding to your life.
We'd like it if you could leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast app, but we'd love it if you would share this episode with a coworker or friend. Until we meet in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast where we talk with Joey Coleman about unlocking the power of employee engagement, strategies for remarkable experiences and effective onboarding, I hope you do just a couple of things. One, reach out and let us know what conversation you'd like to listen in on next. Two, focus on getting 1% better at your craft each and every day. Finally, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble B2B marketing human. We'll see you in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast.
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Published on December 14, 2023
Vin Turk, co-founder and COO at Madison Logic, where he is responsible for creating strategic data partnerships, as well as guiding and growing the company’s business intent initiatives. Prior to co-founding Madison Logic, Vin provided senior account strategy at IndustryBrains, successfully building digital advertising initiatives for some of the largest technology organizations, including Microsoft, Dell, EMC, and Intel. Before IndustryBrains, Vin engineered business continuity processes and disaster recovery solutions for the Department of Defense at Hanscom Airforce Base in Massachusetts. Vin is an advisor to a number of Internet startups in New York City. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts.
LinkedIn: Vin Turk
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