Throughout my series on integrated marketing over the past few weeks, I’ve been focused on how it needs to change in order to be more effective. However, maybe it’s just time to move on and replace it with a new concept. One that comes to mind is account-based marketing, or ABM, which has been gaining in popularity over the past few years.
SiriusDecisions recently completed its 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing Study survey that revealed 92 percent of companies recognize the value in ABM, going as far as calling it a B2B marketing must-have but only 20 percent have full programs in place. However, wider adoption is expected with more than 60 percent planning to invest in technology for ABM over the next twelve months.
Wikipedia defines account-based marketing as “a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organisation considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one.” For many this means targeting a few key accounts with a high-touch, customized approach but it has the potential to be much bigger through marketing automation.
But could account-based marketing replace integrated marketing or is it complimentary?
One of the issues with integrated marketing is that many businesses are organized by product or channel or marketing tactic. Account-based marketing does not fix this but it’s implied that all of these groups will work together to focus on individual accounts. From that perspective it could replace integrated marketing but it may fall prey to the same issues.
It does bring the customer into the equation, which I’ve noted is a key omission with integrated marketing and has a focus on audience which is also critical. Because of the close alignment to sales, marketing will get more feedback that can be used to make changes to existing campaigns or to identify new targets. But in the end, account-based marketing still needs a truly integrated marketing plan to target the accounts and move them through the funnel.
So account-based marketing is broader than integrated marketing as it includes a better identification of the target and implies ongoing activities with existing accounts. But I’m not sure it’s for everyone as it may not scale if you are trying to reach a broad audience of several hundred or thousand accounts.
For those that think this may help them, I’ll look at the key steps for an account-based marketing plan in my next post.