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I am often asked by clients how to do account based marketing or ABM.

The process for ABM is quite simple. It’s all about stereotyping for personalisation and rather than stereotyping for generalisation.

I was once challenged about the ethics of stereotyping customers when developing marketing plans. The challenge was that everyone is different and that a one-size-fits-all approach is morally and commercially wrong. Well in many ways I would agree with this position. Thinking that everyone is the same is as much generalising as it is lazy, when constructing relevant and engaging propositions, campaigns and messages.

So it had me thinking. Is there a better definition of why marketers spend so much time and energy creating demographic and behavioural profiles of their ideal customers? I call them personas. A customer demographic profile is too much like thinking of them as a work-horse or ‘just’ a consumer. Whereas of course these people are humans who live a work/life balance, have specific interests, motivations, goals, desires, and behaviours, most of the time way outside and beyond the buying process for the marketer’s product or service.

This is a key reason why we build personas, or more detailed perspectives about the intrinsic details of our target customers’ make-up and behaviours. Creating a persona profile is so much more relevant than simple a demographic profile (which we include inside the personal definition too) because it identifies little glimpses of what’s really inside our customer and what makes them tick.

Market to a job title or a company and you miss the real target person you wish to engage with. Market to a customer persona and you stand a chance of hitting the spot, both practically and emotionally, to hook and engage with them. The customer journey can then begin.

So with ABM it’s about taking the first steps in identifying your ideal customer persona and then of course, as you begin to approach each one, taking it to the very next level; treating them as an individual.

The beauty of 1-2-1 marketing, personalising rather than generalising is that it is clear and simple evidence that you are taking your customer seriously. Listen to them and they’ll know. We all love to be listened to and it’s the sure fire way of beginning a meaningful and deep, sustainable relationship.

ABM is nothing new, it’s not super-slick and technical. It’s very, very simple. Personalise, listen and respond.

How are you doing your ABM?

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