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Why the hell are we all suddenly talking about account based marketing?

Chris Field
Chris Field

I’m thrilled that the wider industry has just discovered account based marketing, something Fieldworks has been doing for years.

To avoid using some of the clunky definitions that I have read recently, account based marketing – or ABM – is marketing to prospects that have engaged deeply with your content. Call it 1-2-1 or personalised marketing to remind yourself it is not new.

But why now?

ABM is what happens when marketing and sales finally collaborate, something we have espoused in this agency for years. Marketing now has the knowledge and insight into markets and prospects, and the tools to measure engagement, which makes it the logical party to manage 1-2-1 communications and then run the results straight into the sales team.

When it is done right, it is a beautiful thing. But too many companies are panicking and putting ABM in place way too early – the cart before they’ve even bought the horse, as it were. I understand why of course; it’s tough out there, not helped by the jobless Boris Johnson caring nothing for the rest of us who do work for a living, which is creating decision making paralysis among some retailers.

ABM only works if the awareness and communications stages are in place. Otherwise it is just the same as cold calling, doorstepping ‘prospects’ who may have never heard of you, with whom you are presuming a relationship where none exists.

Prospects need to be able to see you everywhere, know something meaningful and memorable about you, and know what you are after. Only at this stage does it become effective to take things to the next step – personalised web pages, insight-driven direct mail, targeted social media, roundtable events and other networking activities.

My fear is that the client may end up being sold another pup; yes, there is a formula for ABM, but I can see the formula dominating the actual quality of the execution, which will only result in the 1-2-1 communications being intrusive even creepy, rather than as the continuation of a conversation already begun.

If you want to know how account based marketing is done properly, give me a call on 0777 576 0876.

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