Account-Based Marketing (ABM) isn’t a new thing.
The idea that B2B salespeople target a few key corporate accounts — using spears instead of marketing’s widely cast nets, as some have metaphorized — has been around for a while.
What is relatively new is the ability to do this at scale, intelligently and automatically. When the definitive history of marketing technology is written, the creation of this army of spears will be one of its most important consequences.
Major marketing platform Marketo, for instance, added ABM to its resume in 2013 when it bought Insightera. From Marketo’s website:
“Because ABM requires more account-level personalization than traditional marketing it has historically cost more to implement. However, advances in marketing technology have enabled marketers to employ ABM for much less than previously possible and at much greater scale.”
In part because of the tech tools available, ABM is now common. A 2016 report from SiriusDecisions on the “State of ABM,” for instance, found that over 70 percent of B2B firms have now completely or partially adopted ABM as a strategy.
In a way, the adoption of ABM is a counter-movement to two other marketing and sales strategies: inbound marketing, which uses content and other means to drive leads to sales, and the age-old technique of marketing based on customer personas, which has largely been based on demographic assumptions about customer types.
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