The Definition of Account Based Marketing
As Account Based Marketing gains traction, a lot of definitions are starting to emerge. Here’s a quick recap of some of the definitions out there.
“Treating individual accounts as a market in their own right. A structured approach to developing and implementing highly customized marketing campaigns to markets of one. This approach involves marketing and sales taking a close look at key business issues facing the target account, mapping those issues to individuals, and tailoring campaigns to address those issues.”
— ITSMA (who coined the term)
“The strategic approach marketers use to support a defined universe of accounts, including strategic accounts and named accounts.”
“The coordination of personalized marketing and sales efforts to drive engagement at a targeted set of accounts.”
“Focusing sales & marketing resources on the greatest revenue potential to guide the deal through the complex B2B sales cycle.”
“Account-based marketing is, in many ways, the exact opposite of the traditional demand generation approach. Rather than reaching broadly across a large number of organizations, companies that employ an account-based marketing strategy focus their marketing and sales resources on a targeted set of accounts and look to deliver strategic, orchestrated campaigns personalized to those accounts. The accounts that you target with ABM are high-yield, and are often considered a better fit for your products or solutions. These accounts are likely to generate more revenue, and often have other strategic significance, like helping to penetrate new territories or influence a market.”
“ABM is simply a shift in B2B marketing strategy, from the focus of acquiring and nurturing individual leads to building relationships with specific businesses.”
At Engagio, we looked at all these definitions, found what was common, and came up with our own:
Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.
Here’s what we like about this definition:
- ABM is strategic: ABM is not a simple campaign or tactic for the quarter; it’s fundamentally different way of thinking about running your marketing department (or at least part of it); ABM is not ‘one and done’; it’s “always on” for an account.
- ABM is personalized to specific accounts: The most fundamental concept of Account Based Marketing is that you focus on fewer accounts, and by doing so you can be more specific and therefore more relevant and more effective.
- ABM is for marketing and sales: Calling the strategy Account Based Marketing is a misnomer (in much the same way that marketing automation was a misnomer, since you have to put work into a marketing automation platform to make it succeed). ABM may have marketing in the name, but in reality it’s a close collaboration between sales and marketing – and without that alignment ABM will fail.
- ABM helps you open doors and deepen engagement: Marketing departments today are often overly focused on top of the funnel activities. In Account Based Marketing, the focus is not only on landing new accounts, but also on expanding existing relationships – both during the initial sales cycle, and throughout the customer journey.
How would you modify or expand this definition? Let us know in the comments!