Account-Based Marketing – A Good Fit for You?
The world of business is infinitely nuanced, but every company strives towards the same thing – making more money. In order to make more money, most companies use some form of marketing, and as time have gone by, marketing has grown into a very heterogeneous industry where various companies use a variety of strategies and tactics as part of their marketing efforts.
Most recently, the marketing industry has been clamouring with news of a new player – the increasingly present account-based marketing. As is often the case, people are split right down the middle – with some saying it is the greatest thing ever and with others claiming it is nothing but another marketing fad.
Once again, as is often the case, reality is not that simple.
The Basics of Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing (ABM for short) is a specific kind of B2B marketing that is used to attract a small number (often just a single) client through very exclusive targeting.
This highly targeted marketing takes on a number of forms, all for the common goal of acquiring this one (or a few) account that would provide enough revenue for the company to make a profit.
The Most Famous ABM Account Ever
Perhaps the best way to bring ABM closer to someone who has never heard of it before is to say a thing or two about the most famous use of this type of marketing ever. Namely, in 2003, the IT sector of Northrop Grumman started off on an ABM odyssey in order to convince the Commonwealth of Virginia that they were the best choice for a new project. This project involved a consolidation of all state IT services under a single agency.
Up to that point, Norhtrop Grumman had been widely known as a defense contractor, famous for manufacturing the B-2 strategic bomber, among other things. Through extensive research, a comprehensive repositioning of a part of their brand and direct account-based marketing, Northrop Grumman landed the $2 billion contract after two years of hard work.
The Exclusivity of ABM
When determining whether account-based marketing is a good fit for you and a practice that you should start employing; the first thing to understand is that it makes sense for only a rather small number of companies.
For one, unless you are a B2B company, ABM will simply not be something you would ever be interested in. No B2C company can live off of a single customer or a few of them. This is not how B2C works.
Even for most B2B companies, the ABM approach will not make much sense. For the majority of B2B companies, their livelihood still depends on attracting as many customers and accounts as possible.
This is why ABM only works for very specific companies and accounts that are big enough for such companies to operate without the need to go chasing further accounts. It should be pointed out at this point that some companies that employ ABM target more than just a single account, but this will always be a very limited number.
Why ABM Works
For those companies that do fit a very selective profile of ABM-friendly organizations, account-based marketing really does work and the reasons for this are many.
For one, ABM acknowledges the fact that in large corporations, decisions are made by a number of different decision-makers that have to come to a consensus. Unlike with small businesses where the CEO is the only one making the decision, ABM-targeted accounts feature a multitude of decision-makers, and reaching out to all of them with specifically tailored marketing goes a long way.
When you know the person you are targeting, it is far more likely that you will come up with content that will resonate with them. Personalization is the name of the game in ABM and this is something users of Reply and the readers of the Reply blog will know how to appreciate.
Finally, account-based marketing is still new and people have not grown jaded. In the modern world of business this is a rarity and as experts like Charles Ngo will always points out, there is nothing that can replace a new idea in the tough business arena.
Account-based marketing is not for everyone. However, if you do run a B2B company that is chasing a few truly huge accounts, it might just be what the doctor ordered.
Keep in mind that ABM is much more than just saying you want to do it. It takes commitment and it takes time.
Be patient and learn.
Nate Vickery is a business consultant and a blogger mostly focused on management and marketing for small businesses and startups. Nate is also an editor at a business oriented blog — Bizzmarkblog.com.