29/11/2022No Comments

5 things I learned at this year’s Global ABM conference

This month, I attended the Global ABM conference in London.

It’s an event held by B2B Marketing, featuring talks on the core principles of ABM (that’s Account-Based Marketing for those who don’t know).

From challenges in implementation (and how to overcome them) to case studies on how marketers are pushing new boundaries within this field – there was lots of food for thought.

Here are five things I took from the event:

1. ABM means different things to different people

For me, ABM has always seemed a bit of a marketing buzz-phrase, complicating a concept that’s actually quite simple.

Breaking down the acronym and explaining the principle behind it is key when having conversations about implementing ABM in any organisation. But being able to articulate how it will benefit individual teams is just as important.

To do this, you need to think about what each team will want from an ABM programme – as an example:

Sales: “I just need something I can execute like a personalised email, landing page, content or an event for my account(s)”

Marketing: “I want to create a programme based on a proper framework and build the right thing for growth”

Execs: “I need to address fundamental issues in alignment, budget, resources and skills to make ABM more successful”

Without doubt, these are all things you need to consider in your ABM strategy. But it’s clear the difference in people’s priorities means you need to engage all parties in the core principles of your ABM approach – before you embark on your journey. Because this will be key to getting their buy in and support with future implementation.

2. Data, data…aaand data

If one thing is certain, you need a hell of a lot of insight to execute a winning strategy. So, it makes sense to understand what you need upfront before engaging on your ABM strategy.

During a talk with Andrew Fitzgerald, Director of ABM at Kyndryl, on ‘How to build an ABM Engine for a $19B start-up’, we were taken through his strategy on initiating ABM in a billion-dollar IT company, Kyndryl.

My main takeaway was building a model for understanding customer potential – including market, internal and competitor data – is a huge factor in defining success.

Using data, Andrew and his team created a scoring system to determine lifetime value. And this was instrumental in making sure efforts were spent in the right areas; they were able to understand which customers to retain, accelerate, optimise or acquire.

Of course, it can’t be forgotten this was for a billion-dollar company (and all the efforts and resources that come with that). So, marketeers may want to start a bit smaller than a comprehensive dashboard and model. But you get the point – data matters!

3. The Metaverse is knocking

I always tend to gravitate towards talks focused on case studies when going to conferences. After all, the proof is in the pudding, right?

One which stood out to me was an agency that worked with a client operating in the HR tech space.

Their successful campaign involved getting their customers into the Metaverse, as part of their ongoing promotional activities. They even went as far as sending out Oculus devices to their hottest leads.

ABM is often associated with a long sales-cycle. Inevitably, this leads to substantial drop-off along the way. So, getting your customers and prospects to engage in meetings and see your promotions through the eyes of the Metaverse is surely a way to keep things fresh.

But is this just a passing fad or will we see other brands and agencies take up similar activities? Time will tell. But striking while the iron’s hot may reap the most success!

4. Remember the 10% rule

Keeping your customers’ attention is important, so why let it slip at the final hurdle?

Dr. Carmen Simon, from B2B decision labs, delivered an excellent closing talk on what it takes to leave a lasting impression on your customers once you’re in front of them. This is all the more important given the complexity of many B2B propositions, and the need to seal the deal with a presentation.

On average, customers will remember just 10% of a presentation after 48hrs. The lesson? Make sure they remember the 10% that matters. And yes, you can control this!

You could try introducing phrases in patterns and using images during presentations. That way, you can help your customer retain the right information. But it’s also important to make them work for it. You’ll often be told to keep things as simple as possible to make an impression. But, in fact, adding a little complexity to retain interest and work the brains of your audience is very effective.

As an example, Dr. Simon showed us two data cloud diagrams from a study she’d work on – one more complex, one less so. The former garnered a 24% better recall rate by participants. So there you have it – use detail, but use it sparingly.

5. The rule of 80/20

Otherwise known as ‘Pareto’s Principle’, this infers that roughly 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes. This is a principle that, to my surprise, turns out to be evident in most aspects of life. And it’s the foundation on which many ABM principles are built on.

To offer a Layman example, I only wear about 20% of my wardrobe and I wear it 80% of the time. I make this decision because these are the clothes I like the best and feel most comfortable wearing.

While this example may seem very unlike marketing, we can apply this same principle to what a customer portfolio means to an organisation. Most of their business will inevitably come from a select group of customers, and these are the customers who often provide the greatest collective financial value or potential to the business.

This really helps to put the value of ABM into context. It’s all about targeting and focusing on the customers / accounts who will provide you with the most value; enabling an organisation to hone its time and resources on what matters most. In our current economy, this is now more important than ever.

And that’s a wrap…

So, what did I learn?

Here’s a bitesize recap. If you want to make a success of ABM, you need to:

  • educate and inspire your team to get their buy-in from the start;
  • harness your data and regularly consult it;
  • keep your strategy fresh to engage your audience across multiple touch points;
  • and most importantly, focus on what matters (80/20).

If you want to hear more about how we at TMWB plan and deliver ABM campaigns for our clients, please get in touch.

16/11/2022No Comments

The creativity confidence crisis in B2B (and how science can help us crack it)

Standing out. The struggle is real. You only have to look around to see that.

The expected B2B visuals that lack punch. The commoditised offerings that are hard to tell apart.

When it feels like everyone’s saying the same thing, why are people still reluctant to try something different?

Could it be that, while we want to do something different, we’re stuck in old habits? After all, it’s easier to go with the flow than challenge the status quo. I get it. It’s hard to do something different, but it amounts to a crisis of confidence in B2B creativity.

No doubt you’ll recognise the challenges; The abundance of micro differentiators makes it hard to identify a USP. The broadness of audiences makes it difficult to find real insights. And many marketers feel more comfortable reverting to product and service messages. Yes – that’s still a thing.

But one of the biggest issues is process. Getting stakeholders together, aligned and contributing, for one, and getting them to contribute at the right time.

Some stakeholders – technical or product experts – are not experts in communication. Their contribution is most important in the beginning and, arguably, less important when judging the work.

To round off these challenges, there’s also the cultural aspect. Some organisations prefer safe and comfortable. Even their marketers see a departure from the norm, or any talk of creativity, as fluffy.

So, how do you give people the confidence to do something different, or, to be more accurate, something more effective?

For us, the answer lies in human understanding. And the recognition that most human behaviour operates outside of our consciousness.

Science has shown us that human behaviour is not just rational. Buying behaviour is influenced by emotion, memory retrieval and perception.

So, if we want to connect with people, it makes sense to get some help from neuroscience.

For example, if you want to understand what someone will do, just ask them. Right? The problem is, people tell you what they think they will do (or what they think you want to hear), but that’s not necessarily a true reflection of how they actually feel.

Implicit time response testing goes beyond what people say to understand the strength of their emotional conviction. At the simplest level, the faster the response, the easier it was to access from memory – making it more authentic.

Find out more about how that works here >

We’ve been using this type of creative testing to give our clients confidence that their campaign is going to both stand out and drive action. The road to getting there has been smoother too. There’s less subjectivity. And more focus on what’s working for the audience.

Creative testing with implicit research techniques helps brands understand what truly drives customers. It can help measure how the brain is responding, what people like and how they make complex decisions.

At TMW Business, we build our research methodologies to deliver on our brand promise: ideas that move people. This means emotion, motivation and action are all measures of effectiveness.

Because if you can win heads and hearts, you can win business.

13/10/2022No Comments

Saying what you mean AND meaning what you say

How techniques from neuroscience and behavioural psychology can provide a deeper insight.

We may often think that these two statements are equivalent. Of course, with best intentions, we do say what we mean. And we’d like to think that when we say something, we mean it. Right?

The brain is more complex than that.

Emotion (feeling) is at the heart of our decision making. But emotion largely operates at an unconscious level that we are unable to articulate, and therefore have little insight into its effect on our decision making.

What does this mean in the real world?

Well, when we’re asked a question – in person, by a friend or colleague, or more specifically in a research survey – in addition to the answer we declare, there is a previously hidden dimension aligned to that emotional component.

Hidden until now, that is: reaction time testing allows us to measure not just what people say, but also the strength of their emotional conviction. By correctly measuring the speed of reaction and controlling for the speed of response through robust calibration and data cleaning procedures, our reaction time testing approach allows us to understand what people say but add an additional layer of insight from the emotional reaction.

Let’s look at it more (possibly too) simplistically.

In a simple agree/disagree question, we capture the rational response (% agree) and their emotional reaction (speed of response). When reaction time is introduced to the methodology, the same “YES, I agree” response can indicate two different things. This distinction is lost in traditional survey responses that just take the “Yes” as, well, a yes.

While at an explicit level, people rationally may declare the same answer (they both say “yes”), their speed of reaction helps us to understand the strength of belief. The faster the response, the more accessible the attitude from memory, the stronger the level of emotional conviction. So:

“YES I agree” where reaction time is FAST = Says it and truly believes it

“YES I agree” where reaction time is SLOW = Says it but doesn’t truly believe it

This capability has become a game-changer in the research we’re carrying out to gather market and persona insight but also to test responses to creative concepts, or stimuli.

We’ve used it internationally for clients like Castrol, to understand real sentiment on complex topics and themes like “sustainability” where often responses can be conflicted and difficult to interpret meaningfully.

We’re also using it in the B2B space to test creative stimulus.

For Capita for example, we carried out implicit reaction time testing to dig deeper into the emotional responses to creative routes, not solely to find the winner – but to understand how the messaging, the visuals and their combinations speak to the rational and emotional decision-making process.

We spoke to 200 C-Suite and senior decision makers, across public and private sectors in the UK. With three creative concepts to test, we wanted to go beyond a superficial appraisal and understand how the communications really impact at an emotional and cognitive level in order to assess true effectiveness.

We set a high bar for ourselves:

We believe good creative needs to capture attention, stimulate emotions, create and reinforce memories and importantly, drive action.

We call these: Ideas that move people.

Our questionnaire design allowed us to interrogate against these three criteria: catch attention, stimulate emotions, drive action.

Within that we’re looking for attributes like for clarity, believability and relevancy.

While the results helped us to identify the strongest creative, it also allowed us to understand which elements of the other concepts could be leveraged or adopted to guide next-stage creative development.

Our Capita campaign will be in-market shortly – and both we and the client have real confidence in how it will be received, processed, remembered and critically – acted upon.

If you’d like to speak to us about our implicit reaction time testing – and how you could put it to use in your next campaign, drop me a line: eoinr@twmunlimted.com

11/10/2022No Comments

Decisions, decisions…

How to choose your best ABM candidates.

Well done! You’ve successfully managed to bring sales and marketing together into a common cause: account-based marketing (ABM).

Everyone has agreed to go after one or a handful of clients, customers, or prospects, with a highly targeted and carefully planned approach. You’re now looking to tailor it exactly right for each organisation and the key individuals within them. But this might be where the approach you all agreed on, in theory, starts to fray a bit in practice.

How do you choose which accounts to select and proceed your ABM activity with? The answer isn’t always obvious.

Sales might steer you one way – towards a more immediate win.

But marketing might be looking at a longer-term prospect.

And your business leadership team might want an impressive client to put on the logo board.

Sure, these are all potentially valid options. But which path should you take? And how do you keep everyone happy with your decision?

You've got two options now...

Watch our webinar to find out...

13/05/2022No Comments

Asking the big questions

Debate: is the B2B/B2C distinction collapsing?

B2B versus B2C. Sound familiar? It’s an age-old distinction marketers have been arguing about for years. yawn, right?

Business-to-consumer marketing has always been the cool kid at the party. With business-to-business marketing being the less glamorous cousin sitting in the corner. And people still seem to accept that.

But we like to ask questions. Interesting ones.

Like is the gap between B2B and B2C becoming, well, less of a gap? Does B2B have a legitimate space on TikTok? Why are we so obsessed with a funnel?

These are all topics of conversation featured in a recent debate organised by The Drum. And our managing partner, Eoin Rodgers, was only too happy to take part.

Along with several other B2Bers (all experts in this industry), Eoin examined the real difference between B2B and B2C. And what that means for marketers.

Now, the write-up of the debate is available. It’s a cracking read, and – we’d go as far as to say – essential reading for marketers everywhere.

Visit this page to see what our Eoin (and the other panellists) had to say. No yawns – promise.

The Drum US | Marketing, Advertising, Design And Digital News

01/02/2022No Comments

This month we’re… getting (even more) serious about TOV

This little beauty is Voicebox. And we’ll be using it to help brands find a unique way of communicating with the world around them. It’s all part of our mission to get (even more) serious about TOV.

Voicebox – brainchild of Nick Parker at That Explains Things – is the stuff of legends in the world of marketing. Why? Because, at the heart of every great (and loveable, and memorable, and successful and so on) brand lies a great verbal identity. Finding a unique voice that cuts through the crowd can be hard, though – and getting a whole team of people to buy into one clear vision can be even harder. Voicebox is here to make the whole process fun, interactive and easy. Plus, it comes in a mysterious black box which makes us feel important and interesting.

Basically… we had to buy one.

Unboxing Voicebox

Our curious package arrived by courier one dreary January morning – and we were more than a little excited to uncover its secrets.

Inside, we found:

  • 99 TOV tarot cards (with a whole range of adjectives like ‘quirky’, ‘childlike’, ‘blunt’).
  • A guide to flexing brand voice from formal to informal.
  • Dozens of real-life examples from distinctive global brands.
  • Stickers. And oh boy do we love stickers.

Our first thoughts? Voicebox is inspiring, tactile, and really hand-holdy (in a good way). It’ll help set the right direction in TOV development sessions, and help bring theoretical discussions to life with real-world success stories.

As the product site encourages: “Find your voice. Speak to the world. All in a box.” This is a big promise from such a little package… but we’re already firm believers.

Let’s get Voiceboxing

We’ve been helping brands craft better copy for longer than we’d care to admit (have we always had this many greys?). Now, Voicebox has given us yet another tool for creating distinctive, authentic TOVs.

If you’d like to help us try it out, simply get in touch with our Head of Copy, Tom Mitchell.

16/11/2021No Comments

Doing our bit for breast cancer awareness

This October, we had more reason than ever to reflect on Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

That’s because, over the past year, we’ve been working with Kheiron Medical – true AI innovators whose vision it is to make cancer as manageable as an everyday illness. (‘How?’ you ask. To which we reply: ‘It's pretty advanced stuff, why not take a look at the website?')

While the cause was already close to our hearts, our working relationship with Kheiron has allowed us to put our creative talents to the very best use.

Kheiron Medical 31 Wishes Campaign

For the start-up’s ‘31 wishes’ campaign, we collected the wishes of 31 people affected by breast cancer – one for each day of the month. Then, we rolled these thought-provoking stories out across social media, supported by a wish-upon-a-star-themed look and feel.

Of course, it was important for the focus to stay on the patients and their families. So, Kheiron took a back seat and let their campaign stars shine bright.

Visit the campaign landing page here to listen to the wishes >

One final thing: if you’re popping over to our office in Winnersh any time soon, ask for one of James’ famous bacon (or mushroom) sandwiches, which he was selling off throughout October to raise donations for charity. We’re sure he’ll be happy to take your order.

05/11/2021No Comments

(other) People power

How to use marketing’s cheapest winning strategy.

Most people consider themselves independent thinkers, unmoved by the behaviours and decisions of others. We believe the choices we make are our own. Because we’re smart and in control.

Behavioural science often proves the opposite. People are constantly buffeted by biases and subconscious influences that affect their choices in any moment.

To take a simple example, a hotel tested two alternative messages left in rooms to convince guests to reuse their towels. The first provided the environmental argument for reuse. The second just stated that most people reused their towels.

The second message improved towel reuse by 26% compared to the first.

Note that the second message didn’t say why people had reused their towels – just that they did. The only motivation for people to reuse was the perceived behaviour of others.

This is an example of social proof. Simply, that means people are positively influenced by the behaviour of the herd. It’s a non-rational instinct that when we see lots of other humans doing something, it’s likely a safe or profitable course of action. And it governs our actions more reliably than any logical thought process.

So, while you may be smart, you’re certainly not in control.

How to use social proof

Shout about yourself

If you’re able to show that people are choosing your brand or product, then it’s valuable to do so overtly. Decision-makers seek out what has been tried and tested. This then helps them define a range of options that feel less risky, as others are choosing them and (hopefully) not getting fired for it.

Never assume audiences already know about your market position or great customer successes – talk about it.

Consider the sales environment

In B2B, solutions are identified, considered, and bought by groups. There’s typically a single point of final sign off, but you expect people to discuss solutions with others.

Take a sales meeting. There might be one or two people there that you absolutely must convince of your offering. But there might be other people who, despite not having the same buying power, might be more receptive to what you’re selling. Perhaps you have an existing relationship with them, or they were the people who got you in the room in the first place.

Those advocates can be hugely valuable in helping to build consensus in the room for your product or service. Including and equipping anyone who may contribute in your favour can help to reduce scepticism in the people who will make the final decision.

Add a pinch of salience

Social proof isn’t an isolated effect. The extent to which people will be convinced by a message depends on many things, including other behavioural biases and contexts. But one way to give your message a guaranteed boost is to add points of salience.

Take a generalised message: “65% of small businesses use Dodo HR software every day”. Add in a salient piece of information about your target role: “65% of operations leaders use Dodo HR software every day”. The result is more relatable and human, but it’s also more targeted to the group you want the audience to emulate.

Convince a creative

It’s easy for writers to sneer at social proof. It’s too boastful and simplistic, too lazy. It’s boring to write headlines like “78% of customers chose Brand X”.

But like it or not, telling customers that you’re a popular pick with their peers works. It stirs their primitive impulse to follow the decisions of others who have tested the option and survived.

The simplicity of social proof needn’t be a temptation to produce mundane creative either. Stating a stat, like the example above, is only one basic expression of the concept. There are plenty of ways to communicate popularity that don’t rely on blaring facts.

A story

Case studies are great. They allow people to tell their own stories, making solutions and results more relatable. They also offer the opportunity to include plenty of contextual detail, which increases salience for particular audiences, improving effectiveness. Not to mention the variety of formats available to this tactic, whether filmed interviews, infographics or animated storytelling.

A free trial

Perhaps you have a brand new product, or your solution doesn’t yet have a market share to encourage widespread adoption. Offering the goods to people for free is a great way to make potential customers more receptive to seeing the best side of the offering. It also gives you a chance to create and share real-world examples of it working that don’t rely on decades of building your brand and customer base.

An advocate

Making a beeline for the primary decision-maker in your target organisation might feel like the most direct route to success. But take the time to find other people who can endorse your solution, or shout about what great work your business does. Consensus is critical, and hard to obtain.

Never think social proof is too boring or basic to use in your campaigns. Find ways to prove that what you’re doing for your customers works, and shout about it. Treat social proof models as a starting point for creative briefs, and set people the task of bringing this simple, basic tactic to life.

Everybody else is doing it, after all.

If you’d like to learn or share more about how we can influence behaviour to grow your business, get in touch at tomw@tmwunlimited.com

03/11/2021No Comments

What are you trying to prove?

Why you shouldn’t just throw a stat in.

B2B marketing likes its data. White papers, e-books, blogs… you name it, you’ll find stats in there propping the content up. At least, that’s what businesses think they do.

“95% of businesses agree that using stats in their marketing copy makes it more compelling.”

Okay, I made that up, but it’s probably true. And I mean it sounds good, doesn’t it? So, people are bound to find it relatable. And hell, I’m sure they grasp it. Right? Guys…? Anyone?

We see stats being used all the time by governments, charities, banks, beauty and cosmetics companies – to name a few. But unless they’re meaningful, they won’t take your message very far.

Here are three tips for using stats in your marketing content:

The Truth Factor

Above, that 95% I made up is probably close to the truth. After all, what company would disagree? But there’s a reason why businesses include disclaimers in their ads. You know the type – six out of eight saw instant results. Underneath, there’s that tiny writing that says something like ‘64 people took part in a survey and 48 agreed they saw an improvement very soon afterward.’

If only that many agreed to a similar sort of statement – is it really a truthful claim? And what exactly is it an improvement of? Slightly cleaner hair? Looking a bit less hungover in the morning?

I mean, it’s never worked for me but that’s not really the point. Empty statements or misrepresented ‘facts’ won’t do much to boost your offering. People will see it as a fake news alert. So, check the truth factor of your stat. Better yet, interrogate it. Especially for your more cynical readers. But before we get too stuck into empirical truths, let’s move on…

Avoid the Dub Effect

As the saying goes, ask an obvious question and you’ll get an obvious answer. And possibly a cringe. Here’s (another) one I made up earlier:

“80% of people said they preferred working for a company with clear pay increments.”

Well, duh. Who would look at that and think “gosh, that’s a surprise”? With stats like this, you’re not telling your audience something new. In fact, you’re kind of insulting their intelligence. You might think it sounds good, but it’s not really adding anything.

If you use a stat, it’s got to be meaningful. Stats shouldn’t be used for quick wins – they should add value to the subject of the piece and add weight to the argument. And if it doesn’t – get rid.

The Two R's: Readable & Relatable

Now, I know I’ve warned you against staying away from the ‘duh effect’. But it’s also important not to overcomplicate things. You’ve probably heard the quote, “if you can’t explain it to your grandmother, you don’t understand it.”

You might read a stat that confuses you. Especially if there are multiple ways to interpret it. Like, “85% of the people we asked about this thing in this way would rather not have it in this context.” WTF does that even mean?

Stats shouldn’t be so niche that they need dissecting to understand. Nor should they form a tenuous link back to what you’re telling your audience. So, choose each fact carefully. It should resonate with the reader. They should read it and think “yeah, I get that.”

And to be relatable, it needs to be readable. Make sure it’s concise, clear, and in plain English – wherever possible. The copy around it can do the job of elaboration.


To sum up, stats can be a powerful addition to marketing copy. And they have an impact. But only when they are truthful, meaningful, easy to understand, and relevant. So, if you have a killer stat that ticks all those boxes, you should – 100% – throw it in.

Want to talk about your marketing content and how best to sprinkle it with stats? Get in touch at lucyd@tmwunlimited.com

25/08/2021No Comments

ABM Scorecard: Who should you target?

Picture this...

You've successfully managed to bring sales and marketing together into a common cause: account-based marketing (ABM).

Everyone has agreed to go after one or a handful of customers or prospects with a highly targeted and carefully planned approach.

So far so good.

But now you're at the most important step in the entire ABM process: choosing your accounts.

Sales might steer you towards a more immediate win.

Marketing might be looking at a longer-term prospect.

Whilst your business leadership might want an impressive client for the logo board.

These are all valid options, but which path should you take? And how do you keep everyone happy with your decision?

Watch our webinar to find out...