Back to the future with ABM
If you work in B2B marketing and haven’t heard the term ABM, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. It seems difficult to go a day on LinkedIn without seeing at least 20 articles on ABM, or a minimum of 30 posts on Twitter, but this traction raises some interesting questions: what is the next big fad, and what will happen to ABM? Well, where we’re going, we won’t need the term ABM for much longer.
Before we crank our DeLorean to 88mph, we need to take a step back and address a lingering, yet still unanswered question: What is ABM? Is it 1, or 1000 accounts? Sirius Decisions defines ABM into four different types, which I consider a very accurate approach when sorting the state of ABM, but I will discuss this later.
I recently wrote a post regarding the different classifications of ABM. I concluded that, ultimately, the premise of ABM is in targeting named accounts, whether that is 1000 accounts or 10. The more organisations who embrace the ABM mantra will ultimately render the term ABM obsolete, leading it to simply be known as marketing or, at the very least, the norm in the way we market.
I always use a simple explanation for this theory: you can target companies with over 1000 employees in finance, or use a list of all those companies instead. Either way, it is exactly the same thing. The reason targeting was not aimed in this way (before the emergence of ABM) was down to the fact that the available digital channels were not able to target in this granular fashion. Well guess what, they now can, and technology on the back end has caught up, so you can track it as well.
We still work with some companies that use the old firmographic and demographic based targeting metrics, but as the industry progresses, we’re finding less and less doing this and more moving to a full ABM model.
It does raise another question though, if you focus on only 10 accounts, you can’t just call it marketing, right? This is very different, so you need to ensure you have alternative definitions for the contrasting types of ABM.
We hope that this is where Sirius Decisions will start to change the market. In a recent meeting, someone mentioned how Sirius Decisions are now defining ABM by breaking them into four distinct models, from named accounts (1:1) all the way through to large enterprise account based marketing (1 to many).
As you can see, right now Sirius Decisions are at the forefront of new ABM definitions, but if I get into Doc Brown’s DeLorean, crank it to 88mph and project myself forward five years, I think the current ABM definitions will become defunct. It will transform into the way we market, and although we may still use account based marketing, it will only be used to refer to those 1:1 based programs (named accounts).
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