The Past & Present Of Account-Based Marketing

For many years, businesses would take a “blanket” approach when it comes to marketing. By casting a broad net and trying to appeal to as many individuals or industries as possible, it was hoped that at least a few leads would be generated.

As it turned out, this approach was not very effective, which led to the creation of account-based marketing. This form of marketing replaces the net with a line where a highly targeted, personalized approach is taken to win over individuals and specific accounts. It is an exciting step forward for the marketing industry because, although it struggled early on, account-based marketing is now thriving thanks to the development of new, innovative technologies.

How Does It Help?

So, what exactly are the key benefits of account-based marketing? It is, essentially, the opposite of inbound marketing, where you first identify potentially interested parties and then focus your efforts on converting them. This new focus means that it is a much better use of time as you are concentrating your efforts on those who are more likely to be converted. It also means that it is much more cost-effective and successful than many other forms of marketing. Account-based marketing is particularly useful for B2B businesses and those that need to attract high-value accounts.

Humble Beginnings To The Current Landscape

Account-based marketing has exploded in popularity in recent years as it can be so efficient and easy to implement, but it has been around for quite some time. There are examples of this form of marketing in the 1990’s, but the problem at this time was that it was incredibly time-consuming to generate specific, targeted marketing campaigns for particular accounts. This was especially true for large businesses hoping to attract hundreds of clients. It is for this reason why the blanket approach has been used for so long. Although you are creating relatively generic campaigns, it was much more straightforward, faster and more cost-effective than highly personalized, targeted marketing campaigns.

It is easy to see why this approach has seen a significant boost. Where it was previously complicated and challenging to handle strategies for dozens or hundreds of accounts, it is much easier now thanks to new technology that has been developed. Account selection, audience management engagement, data and sales insights and all other stages of strategy can be streamlined with the use of innovative technology and data.

Using Data To Produce Results

As an example, data vendors can provide significant contact and account data to create a list of the best targets for the company to aim for. The analysis will inform who the best accounts to focus on are so that you are not wasting your time and you can gain a greater understanding of how to appeal to this specific account. Many predictive analytics vendors can use machine learning to create the perfect customer profile for a particular business. Once this profile is created, it is then a case of scouring the web to find suitable targets.

Personalized Content Delivery

Content delivery will need to be personalized as this is the aim of account-based marketing. Companies will need to create this tailored content; then it can be distributed to their target accounts with ad serving and retargeting software that is optimized for this type of marketing. It is challenging, but agencies which can enable B2B companies to personalize communications will be the future of account-based marketing.

What Does The Future Hold?

So, what next for account-based marketing? It looks set to grow and evolve over the coming years to become a dominant strategy. This is because it is proving to be highly effective in a digital society where people have become numb to blanket marketing which feels cheap and lazy. Additionally, new technologies will be incorporated which will continue to make account-based marketing simple to use and more useful. Businesses need marketing which is easy to implement but also practical – this is no longer the challenge it once was.

Artificial Intelligence & The Human Touch

In the near future, there will also continue to be a move towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make account-based marketing even better. This technology will be able to surface keywords that target accounts are currently searching for and then create strategies based directly off these keywords.

AI can also be used during the account selection process by gauging intent, by optimizing the buyer’s journey, by building an idea of the account’s online behavior and tailoring web content. Fundamentally, AI’s ability to collect, categorize and analyze enormous amounts of data can transform account-based marketing by leading to much higher accuracy. Not only this, but the AI will learn the more it analyzes, so it will only increase the accuracy as time goes on.

Although AI will be a powerful tool for account-based marketing, there will still need to be the human element involved in this and any form of marketing. Therefore, AI and humans will need to work together to deliver the best results. A person will be able to provide the all-important human touch, and this is particularly important when it comes to advertising and marketing as emotion is so crucial in this field.


It is an exciting time for account-based marketing as the potential to succeed has always been there but it is only now that it can be implemented with ease. New technology and AI has opened the door for account-based marketing and enabled companies to deliver targeted and personalized marketing campaigns to accounts that they have identified as critical accounts.

The blanket/net approach can often feel frustrating and a waste of time as you can quickly end up with no new leads, but account-based marketing ensures that no effort is wasted. In addition to being efficient and optimized, this also provides a much more significant experience for the targeted consumer as account-based marketing goes more in-depth than most forms of marketing. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for account-based marketing as technology, and AI continues to grow and evolve and change many areas of business.

Timothy Kelly

Timothy Kelly

Tim has been a writer for over 20 years covering financial markets and small business. In addition to writing about the financial markets, Mr. Kelly writes extensively about digital marketing and SEO. Mr. Kelly attended Boston College where he studied English Literature and Economics, and also attended the University of Siena, Italy where he studied studio art. Mr. Kelly has been a decades-long community volunteer in his hometown of Long Island where he established the community assistance foundation, Kelly's Heroes. He has also been a coach of Youth Lacrosse for over 10 years. Prior to volunteering in youth sports, Mr. Kelly was involved in the Inner City Scholarship program administered by the Archdiocese of New York. Before creating ForexTV, Mr, Kelly was Sr. VP Global Marketing for Bridge Information Systems, the world’s second largest financial market data vendor. Prior to Bridge, Mr. Kelly was a team leader of Media at Bloomberg Financial Markets, where he created Bloomberg Personal Magazine. Contact Tim