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Demand Generation vs. ABM

September 12, 2016 /

You couldn’t have been a marketer and anywhere but on a desert island this year to not have heard, indeed even possibly burdened, with all the media gin and juice about account-based marketing (ABM). 
It’s not all hype though.  ABM is, and has been for several years now, an approach that brings tremendous benefits to the B2B marketing program of any company by finding ways to better align and integrate the activities of sales and marketing.

However, some proponents and early adopters seem to advocate ABM as an alternative to the traditional demand generation programs that have been used for decades now.  Demand generation, as conducted traditionally, has never enjoyed great efficiencies with typically sub-1% lead to revenue results for most companies.  Citing these inefficiencies, some of the proponents of ABM suggest that its time to switch from demand gen to ABM.  However, that seems to be taking it a bit too far. 

In his article, Perpetual Deman Gen:  Transcending The ABM Vs. Demand Gen Dialogue, Adam Needles from Annuitas, argues that “We need to improve demand generation, not abandon it.”  He goes on to introduce ‘Perpetual Demand Generation.”  “We need an ‘always-on,’ integrative framework — one that ties together people, process, content, technology and data around our targeted buyers, that operationalizes and orchestrates marketing and sales resources around the buyer’s journey (not an organization’s sales process) and that delivers predictable results 24/7 from targeted companies both large and small.  The solution is Perpetual Demand Generation” says Adam.

As he explains, Perpetual Demand Generation is different from ABM in that it is a bottom-up mindset as contrasted with the top-down and interruptive approach of ABM.  And he goes on to explain that perpetual demand generation is “a critical, strategic framework that helps rationalize marketing and sales interactions, and ensure there is balanced alignment around both buyer needs and revenue outcomes.”

Furthermore, Adam compares perpetual demand gen with ABM with respect to:
• Buyer-behavior foundation
• Content-rich, multichannel and always on
• Nonlinear lead-to-revenue process
• Closed loop across all elements of people, process, content, technology and data

If you’re interested in an excellent discussion of the differences between demand gen and ABM, and are open to the idea of seeing how ABM can fit in as a component of your demand gen program, I’d suggest a deep dive into Adam’s article.