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  • Debbie Schwake

What is Account Based Marketing (ABM)?

Comparing 8 account based marketing definitions helps us understand the most important parts of this essential B2B marketing strategy.

More than a buzz term, account based marketing as a strategy has taken off during the pandemic. As marketers, we needed to get smarter about approaching our B2B customers, and ABM fit that bill.

The definitions around ABM vary, but at their core, they all follow somewhat similar philosophies. And I wanted to take a moment to define those similarities to help you understand precisely what account based marketing means.

Account Based Marketing Definition Summary

I’m not sure about you, but this was a fun exercise for me. I love the connection between these definitions and the core themes and critical terminology in them. Here are some of the key terms:


While stating the obvious, this is a super important key term, so I listed it first. ABM is not a tactic, nor is it short-term. ABM is a strategy with guiding principles and specific goals that are measured. A strategy is a long game - a marathon - not a sprint.


Another interesting point is the reference to the framework, which means that it has outer boundaries. As important as what you do in an ABM strategy is what you don’t do.

Personalized. As a marketer in the B2B space, this is one of the most talked-about strategies, yet one of the most poorly executed. It takes a lot of time to personalize correctly (see my blog post: xxx), yet doing this precisely makes all the difference in getting through the noise of all the other content our prospects are overwhelmed with.

Sales & Marketing alignment

For organizations that have this - and there’s no doubt when you do - this is panacea. Something strange has occurred during the past several years. And that is, consumers have so much information at their disposal that they don’t need to rely on sales to learn about products or services.

Target accounts

If there’s one reference you can use to win the sales approval, there is nothing more important than the list. This is exactly why so many old school sales leaders think marketing’s role is to buy lists. That’s entirely a subject for another day. However, as it refers to ABM strategy, it is as simple as approaching your target accounts with the same criteria that define your ideal customer profile. If you’re an established business, that ICP looks like your existing or best customers.

Account based marketing sources cited

Here are the definitions from which I developed the above summary. These represent the top resources for ABM, including some of the software platform providers.

Account based marketing is a new approach to B2B marketing, where teams prioritize their “best-fit” accounts and use different channels, tools, and data to get their brand in front of important decision-makers. Terminus

Account based marketing (ABM) helps B2B marketers identify and target the accounts you value the most. Account-Based Marketing solutions typically include account-based data and technology to help you identify, attract, engage, convert, close and then measure progress against customers and prospects. Demandbase

Account based marketing (ABM) is a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts. HubSpot

Account based marketing (ABM) is a framework for targeting specific accounts or account segments, usually by purchase history, firmographics, product need, or strategic value.ABM uses demand generation techniques for account specific marketing. Triblio

Account based marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts. Engagio (purchased by Demandbase in June 2020.)

Account based marketing (ABM) is a business marketing strategy that concentrates resources on a set of target accounts within a market. It uses personalized campaigns designed to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the specific attributes and needs of the account. Optimizely

Account based marketing is a strategic marketing strategy where key business accounts are marketed to directly, as units of one (compared to the typical one-to-many approach). In essence, high-value accounts or prospects are identified, key stakeholders in these businesses are targeted, and then marketing strategies are implemented through various channels to appeal to their specific personas and needs. Account based marketing is like personalized marketing on steroids. Wordstream

Account based marketing, also known as key account marketing, is a strategic approach to business marketing based on account awareness in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one. Wikipedia

ABM is the new B2B marketing. If you need help with your account based marketing strategy, please contact me! I can help you from ideation through execution, and help you to start reaping the revenue benefits of your ABM strategy.

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