As we accelerate towards the end of what has been a busy and somewhat challenging year for the world of account-based marketing, we rounded 2022 off by attending the Global ABM Conference in London this week.
The event, organised by B2B Marketing, garnered approximately 300 attendees, as well as a virtual audience too, all ready and eager to hear what was new in ABM.
The reality? There was nothing really new or ground-breaking that came out of the event- not for us at least.
Whilst we couldn’t deny that it was great to hear from some of the pioneers of account-based marketing, like Fujitsu’s Andrea Clatworthy, or Alice Clarke from Google, there wasn’t really a eureka moment for us, or an ‘I can’t believe we haven’t been doing this all along!’ type of response.
However, as we meandered between stands, conference rooms and coffee breaks, what the event did perhaps teach us was more about the state of ABM now, and it allowed us to reflect on how we may want to position ourselves as an ABM agency, as we head into 2023.
Growth and scaling ABM:
The one buzzword that managed to sneak its way into most of the talks we attended that day: growth. Whether it was Bev Burgess’s speech on the need for a more scaled approach, or Dorothea Gosling from Inflexion Group stating that growing existing accounts will be where we see impact for ABM.
It seems that growth and scaling ABM has become the primary focuses for many organisations when it comes to their ABM strategy. It was re-enforced further in the case studies selected to be shared as talks throughout the day, many of which took a surprisingly common 1-2-few or 1-2-many approach. Even the term ‘account-based growth’, was coined on a few occasions.
For us here at Ambition ABM, being an agency that naturally sees 1-2-1 as the purest form of ABM (echoed also by Robert Norum during one of the first key notes of the day) we typically don’t look at scaling as a priority for us.
But, with a recession looming, marketing teams and budgets being likely to be squeezed, and with the potential for new clients to become slightly scarcer in 2023, perhaps we do need to take a second look at scaling our 1-2-1 ABM programmes into the new year and look at helping our clients to grow their existing customer base, for better revenue potential.
The role of the ABM agency
What also became prominent during the conference was the role of the ABM agency now and heading into the new year. In the keynote talk ‘The state of ABM in 2022’, the guest speakers pulled out a plethora of stats and figures from a recent census undertaken by B2B Marketing themselves.
One particularly acute ABM stat for us, was that in 2022, 44% of those organisations surveyed stated they were going to be scaling back on their agency use, as a result of pressures to cut budgets.
Whilst that stat may have had us concerned for a moment, that figure was overshadowed by contradictions on numerous occasions throughout the day. With almost every stand being held by an ABM agency, attendees were pulled left right and centre, plied with notepads, leaflets and goodie bags, all plastered with different agency logos.
Even during their B2B Marketing awards sneak peak of the ABM shortlist for 2022, every entry in that category was the collaboration of a vendor and ABM agency partnership.
Whilst organisations may need to become more flexible with costs, it’s clear that the role of the ABM agency is still vital to so many. Our specialist capabilities, combined with an in-house team’s lack of time and resources, means that working together, an agency and organisation can deliver ABM more effectively, no matter what the approach. Afterall, two heads are better than one!
It was also refreshing to see and hear about some new agencies on the scene during the day. What was once an exclusive men’s club of a few large agencies is now becoming more and more overshadowed with fresh, young faces, all hoping to win business and transform B2B marketing strategies. A sign that ABM is branching beyond the early sowed seeds, with everyone now wanting to take a leaf.
ABM: still here, still vibrant, and still relevant
And that’s the largest takeaway of them all from the conference: ABM is here to stay.
We may have felt that there was nothing particularly new or ground-breaking in ABM that came out of our day out in London, but perhaps that’s because how ABM is currently being done is still working for so many.
From keynotes to case studies, it’s been made clear that ABM is an approach that is still continuing to generate revenues and results, higher than any other strategy. As the saying goes, don’t try to fix something that isn’t broke!
Whilst it’s still evolving, the reception from all of the talks and stands that day told us that account-based marketing will still thrive in 2023, even if it means tweaking our own approaches slightly. Whilst we may need to shift our focus to a growth and scale mindset with our ABM programmes during a time of recession, when done right, ABM still remains the most effective marketing strategy of all.
As B2B Marketing’s Editor-in-Chief Joel Harrison mentioned in his opening keynote: ABM is still here, it’s still vibrant, and it’s still relevant.
If you would like to transform your B2B marketing with an ABM approach, then speak to us today to see how we can help.