Account Based Marketing, your new old friend

Account Based Marketing (ABM) has been a popular trend for about nine months. Apparently SaaS companies now have a shorter gestation than humans, because we are now surrounded by apps, platforms and services for ABM. Some of these are new, and ABM-specific. Engagio. Terminus. Cockpit. Others are familiar players with new angles: Demandbase. Infer. Bizible. Marketo.

Consensus is emerging about the ABM tech stack: Predictive analytics, contact data sourcing, targeted advertising, personalized web content, and account-level tracking.

Do any of these sound familiar? That’s right, they do. Because we’ve already been using them as part of our inbound marketing efforts.

A few years ago inbound marketing promised the death of outbound, or “interruption marketing.” And as inbound marketing matured, it gave us sophisticated tools, some of which it turns out can be used for outbound marketing that isn’t so interrupty. Really, that’s all that ABM amounts to — it’s our old friend, outbound, with inbound’s manners.

By all the talk at conferences, you’d think that ABM was overshadowing inbound as a marketing method. But that’s not what Google Trends indicates.

The trend line is real, but still small. I’m not dismissing it as a fad. Perhaps we’ll get back to more parity between inbound and outbound as methods. And that might not be a bad thing. So please employ ABM— perhaps you’ll even find a new tool that you like, though you’re probably fine with the inbound tools you already have. ABM is a tactic, and shouldn’t require a wholesale shedding of your marketing tech stack.