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ABM or JGM (“Just Good Marketing”) – Inverta

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June 30, 2023

I have sat through numerous well-intentioned presentations from enthusiastic marketers sharing their account-based marketing case studies. While the stories are interesting and the results are compelling, some situations make it difficult for me to differentiate whether they are doing ABM and JGM (“Just Good Marketing”).

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

“We had inbound activity but a majority of that activity was from companies and people that didn’t convert or didn’t fit our customer profile. Only a small percent of inbound activity actually turned into marketing-qualified leads. While our inbound programs are important we had to do more to generate interest at the right companies that would be good candidates for our solutions. Our new approach was to create a targeted account list and create and execute focused marketing programs and tactics at those accounts.”

While that is certainly a smart approach and commendable, being account-centric is not the same as implementing account-based marketing strategy.

What differentiates an account-based marketing strategy from an account-centric strategy is customer insight. Customer insight is the heavy research, mapping, and monitoring that is necessary to establish yourself as a trusted advisor and potential solution provider to an account.

Audience and customer-centricity are table stakes for an account-based marketing strategy. If you’re going to market by product, have sales teams that are segregated by product, and have product marketing creating product-focused content about products – then you are not set up to pursue a true account-based marketing strategy.

… even if you’re only marketing to a defined set of target accounts.

… and using some light personalization.

Knowing the organizations who are a good fit for your product and marketing to them is JGM, not ABM! 

If you can assemble the criteria of a target market, then they can be yours to pursue, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, calling that activity “account-based marketing” is rendering the term meaningless.

I am proposing that instead of the generic term ABM, we go a step further to specify what type of ABM we’re practicing. This helps marketers share challenges, solutions, and case studies that reflect ABM environments more similar to one another. 

Enter: The Demand Continuum

Instead of the traditional ABM pyramid, consider adopting a Demand Continuum to help your team strategically plan their approach to achieving revenue targets. Every business needs a clear strategy outlining exactly where they expect their revenue will come from in order to properly assign resources and set expectations within the organization.

To start, meet with your business and sales leaders to: 

  • Understand the plan for share of revenue coming from net-new business and expansion or renewals.
  • Identify the segments that will be the focus - enterprise, mid-market, or SMB. 
  • Which solutions are they planning for  these segments? some text
    • Does one solution dominate your revenue stream or do you need to plan for multiple solutions to hit your revenue targets?

With a clear understanding of your revenue sources, marketing can align its approach to support these goals. This might involve partnerships, inbound activities, and/or an ABM 1:Few strategy. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but the impact of a misaligned strategy can be significant.

Net-Net: be thorough in your planning. Document your strategy on the Demand Continuum to ensure everyone is on the same page and aligned towards the common goal. This will then help to relieve the confusion over what is ABM, and what is just good marketing. 

Once it is clear which goals will be ABM nature, then it is time to apply your known best practices. All great ABM is customer-focused, insight-led, and tech-enabled. The secret sauce of account-based marketing is in the insight you gather from deep research. ABM within the demand continuum also features coordinated, parallel efforts or plays between marketing and sales to understand and address target accounts and markets.

That said, the level of customization in your tactics, messaging, and content, along with total number of accounts and overall business health dictates what type of ABM is best for your organization.

Nowadays it might be tempting to refer to all forms of good, common sense marketing as ABM, but that would be misrepresenting the discipline. In doing so – we do a disservice to JGM’ers and ABM’ers everywhere.

Want to learn how to implement the Demand Continuum at your organization, Let’s talk!

Account Based Marketing