Four Sure-Fire Ways to Land Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Engagement in Weeks, Not Months

Will it be a Successful ABM Campaign or Just a Long Fishing Trip?

It has been well documented that account-based marketing (ABM) provides compelling revenue and ROI. In fact, in many surveys, seasoned ABM practitioners often say thatABM produces the best return of any marketing strategy or initiative. Unfortunately, it can take months to set up, run, and see results from an account-based marketing campaign. All of that takes budget. So how do you justify and validate budget spend during a long campaign?


It has been said that marketing is similar to commercial fishing. You can look at the demand generation process as being similar to fishing with nets. It’s a volume play. Get the fish on board and then sort them out. Some say that ABM is similar to fishing with a spear. You are going after fewer, larger fish. More specifically, I see it as fishing for Bluefin Tuna with a harpoon. You are miles offshore standing on the pulpit of your yacht scanning the ocean for the big ones. You have invested a significant amount of time and money to land these fish. How do you better your chances of quicker and better engagement?

“80% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments”          -ITSMA

Four Fishing Secrets the Seasoned Captains Apply

1. Start with a sharpened spear (or harpoon). If ABM is fishing with a spear, then ABM display advertising is probably the tip of the spear. For many marketers, ABM display advertising is the first way to test the waters. It is important that the spear is honed with techniques such as targeting and personalization to pierce through the water and engage the fish. ABM display advertising can be set up relatively quickly and can begin showing engagement in weeks instead of the months that other ABM tactics need. Whether you are considering an ABM pilot or relaunching a full-blown ABM campaign, display advertising will probably show the fastest and highest level of engagement—providing validation and enabling you to maintain support as you roll out your other ABM tactics.

2. Have the greatest fuel capacity possible. Capacity equates to range. In the world of ABM, this means making sure that your advertising platform can scale and reach all of your targets. If you need to reach 10,000 accounts and your retargeting platform can only handle 4,000 accounts, your effectiveness may be “dead in the water” sooner than expected. Also, keep in mind that data is the fuel. The more data that you can access the further you can extend your reach. For example, one platform may give you access to 200,000,000 contacts while another platform nay give you access to 400,000,000 contacts. Obviously the larger data access gives you a lot more reach and segmentation. Know your capacity—and what you may be leaving at the dock. One of the most frustrating events that can happen to an inexperienced captain is to cut a fishing trip short—especially when the fish are starting to appear—because of a lack of fuel capacity.

“74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.” -Forrester

3. Use the most accurate and complete navigation tools. The best navigation tools will help with direction and location. When it comes to ABM, do you want to just stay in North America or do you want to cross into international watersto Europe or Latin America. This type of direction is driven by cookie-based andIP-based markers—consider them your longitude and latitude. For your navigation, you are leveraging both longitude and latitude. You not only need to know where to go, you need to know where you are—and where the fish are. How deep is the water? At what depth are the fish? What are the fish doing? Indicators such as job title targeting and role-based targeting give you depth and the best idea of where the fish are clustered. The more indicators you have, the more focused, precise, and successful your journey will be.

4. Keep up with the weather. Some fishermen print out weather reports before they leave port and then keep an eye on it while they are out at sea. Unfortunately weather changes quickly and by the time you recognize the change is coming while you are fishing, it is too late. You cannot take effective and corrective action. It is the same way with ABM. Many marketers use weekly batch reporting instead of real-time reporting and do not make adjustments as quickly or frequently as they should. Real-time reporting will enable you to see what messaging and targeting is working—and what is not working—and to adjust accordingly. ABM, like fishing, can be rewarding or challenging. Keep an eye on behaviors, conditions, and trends and you should be able to accelerate engagement.

“Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman’s job is simple: Pick out the best parts.”       -Charles Waterman

Account-based marketing is very similar to commercial fishing with a spear. It is a long journey chasing big fish through ever-changing conditions. There is a lot of water out there. The only advantage that a marketer or fishing captain has is the experience that is earned by—or shared with—him or her. I hope you will apply these four secrets that I have learned over the years and you will come back from your next ABM journey with some great stories—but not about the one that got away.

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