Account based marketing is one of the latest buzzwords to hit the industry. Wikipedia's definition is "a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one." Personally I like Marketo's definition - "Account-based marketing (ABM) is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account." Put simply it's about focusing marketing and sales efforts to create an account specific, targeted approach to generating business.
Any approach that can help marketing and sales align is great. The closer marketers can get to customers makes us better at understanding needs and ultimately how we position our company. I've learned more about the businesses I've been part of when I've been in front of customers and prospects than any training I received. It may not have always been easy or pretty but you get to the heart of what happens at the relationship and transactional level, which is where all the theory turns into application.
Account based marketing takes that approach and focuses resources on a specific group of customers and/or prospects. It's beyond target marketing that may hit an industry group, customer size or geography because you are trying to get as deep as possible into customers and their specific needs and drive revenue growth with an integrated approach to marketing. Creating multiple touch points across the organization that are tailored to them is the key and it should build the kind of intimacy that can deepen relationships and build a long-term partnership.
I think it will continue to be a challenge for smaller companies to get to a complete account based marketing strategy at the scale but I think there are merits to taking parts of it and putting them into practice. Even if it's having a list of target accounts and figuring out simple ways to create customized messages for them can get you on the road to ABM. Larger companies will need to embrace this approach even more in order to provide strategic focus to key areas of revenue opportunity. Regardless of your size take a look at account based marketing and apply it in a way that works for your business.