What is Account Based Marketing?

The term ‘Account Based Marketing’ started to appear in my articles feed more frequently a couple of years ago, although it’s been around a lot longer. I think I’ve referred to in passing a couple of times, but for the curious who haven’t found out more for themselves, here’s a bit of background.

Account Based Marketing may be something you do without realising it had a name. In essence, it means setting up marketing strategies targeted at individual prospects and customers. Instead of trying to get as many leads as possible with a one-size-fits-all marketing campaign and then picking off the easy wins, whatever their value, we just concentrate on the big ones without waiting for them to show interest.

The steps involved in Account Based Marketing are to identify the prospects and customers that have the potential to contribute the most value; to work out their specific individual needs; and to develop creative material to suit. You’ll probably already have realised how targeted online advertising works with this approach very well.

This requires much closer collaboration between sales and marketing than inbound or similar marketing strategies. Creating more personalised marketing requires the sort of input that only sales can provide. But if you think about it from a customer’s point of view, marketing material which is clearly targeted at them (and them alone) is always likely to have better penetration.

Back to outbound marketing?

So what are the objections to this approach? The first is that it seems to require us to go back to outbound marketing (firing sales stuff at prospects) rather than continuing to develop our concentration on inbound marketing (persuading them come to us). I think this is an oversimplification, and we can still use inbound marketing collateral.

The second is that it excludes a group of prospects who could have been easy wins, if smaller ones. This would be even worse if it also neglected smaller existing customers. But would most of us really let this happen?

Finally, the integration with sales sounds like an efficient one, but it can lead to cultural issues in larger companies. It’s not going to be such a problem for smaller companies though.

Best of both worlds

I’d say that it’s well worth researching the principles and lessons of Account Based Marketing – set aside an hour or two to read some of the hundreds of articles online. However, I don’t think it has to be an either/or thing. Why not try implementing the best of both worlds?