The future of marketing tech is 'account based everything'


According to Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio, the secret sauce and the future of marketing technology is - wait for it - account based everything (ABE). 

As the keynote speaker for the recently held MarcomCentral Marketing Tech Roadshow, Miller outlined in an exciting, determined, informative, and illustrative PowerPoint the new concept of ABE. 

Miller’s presentation headlined the MarcomCentral mini-conference, a three-hour event presented firstly in New York in early May before moving on the road to Atlanta and Boston in June.

Other cities may follow in coming months. According to Forrest Leighton, vice president of marketing for MarcomCentral, the goal of the mini-conference was to provide education in relevant topics for marketing professionals in a half-day rather than a full-day or multi-day session, as it had done in previous years.

I appreciated the consideration shown for my busy schedule, and so did the audience.

As we move to a greater reliance on data-based marketing, quantity should fade as a key metric, and quality should increase.

Before I discuss Miller’s ideas in depth, I want to mention another key presenter at the mini-conference, Jon Russo, CMO of B2B Fusion and a board member of MOCCA. Russo, speaking as part of a panel discussion, opened with five words that are also close to my marketing heart and should be to yours— education, practical ideas, strategy, and technology.

The five words have particular relevance to new business generation and development.

Russo noted that the focus of his firm is to generate leads via marketing asset management, using a predictive model of optimization mobility strategy and a deep understanding of the lead’s pool size (target market), level of desire, social networking awareness, ability to convert leads to active customers, and, of course, ability to establish customer loyalty.

B2B Fusion Group uses a three-step program that can be stated:

  • Generate interactions
  • Optimize engagements
  • Close the business, aka Generate. Optimise. Close

Russo stated the goal of all marketing is to improve your lead-to-sale conversion rate/factor by not only generating new leads but also developing new leads that are optimized.

His firm uses a variety of metrics and measurement tools to gauge the effectiveness of the program and uses tools such as ABE to sharpen and define the lead in greater detail.

Russo also described a LinkedIn group that he runs - an online community called MOCCA -to support a new and expanding segment of marketing currently overlooked, the marketing operations professional. You should check it out.

Account based everything: The secret sauce

Keynoting the mini-conference, Miller took the stage and began his fact-loaded presentation with a definition of ABE. He explained that ABE is "a strategic GTM approach that orchestrates personalized marketing sales and success efforts to drive engagement and conversion at named accounts."

He expanded on the definition with a slide that compared the current method of demand generation to ABE.

According to Miller, as part of demand generation, we have usually followed these three steps: What do we say? Where should we say it? Who should we say it to? demand generation yields offers, channels and segments.

In account based everything, we ask, in order: Who are we trying to reach? What should we say? Where should we say it? This helps us focus on accounts, content, and channels – Jon Miller.

He expanded using a slide that compared the current method of demand generation compared to ABE, Miller sees the process in three stages, and the dated or legacy steps and the ABE process follows:

Demand generation:

  • What do we say? Offers
  • Where should we say it? Channels   
  • Who should we say it to? Segments

Account based everything:

  • Who are we trying to reach? Accounts 
  • What should we say? Content 
  • Where should we say it? Channels 

Miller further explained that the Who? in ABE contains accounts and contacts, the What? includes insight and content, and the Where? is composed of interactions and orchestrations.

The glue of this secret sauce is the measurement, the metrics—an independent step that provides the attribution to not only the tools used but to each component of the above-mentioned process. Miller calls this formula, the sauce, the seven stages of the ABE process.

As a dedicated integrated marketer, I see the ABE process as the next stage in all media, integrated media, multi-channel marketing.

The process at face value is a concise, detailed effort to understand your marketplace, define their needs, and fulfill their desires with media and tools that are valid, relevant, proven, and measurable across the complex world of legacy, digital, and new media tools, aka marketing.

Outbound account based marketing

Jumping to the channels used to complete or fulfill the success of an ABE effort are a series of marketing tools that we can all recognise: events, direct mail, online, and web-based actions.

Linked to the sales or sales development end of the process, you define the need to have human interaction via email or online and, yes, the ever-present need to be social.

Even more interesting is the scope of ABE and a statement that I have made (using other words) that to develop a successful program you the marketer or brand need to measure the "quality of the interactions, not just the quantity."

As we move to a greater reliance on data-based marketing, quantity should fade as a key metric, and quality should increase.

The term marketing technology is a bit confusing to many people. I have been called a marketing application technologist (MAT) due to my understanding of the need to link the software, hardware, mind-ware, and eye-ware into a formula that will use legacy, digital, and emerging marketing tools in an integrated, converged marketing effort designed from the very onset to not only succeed but to build loyalty as part of the process.

The goal, as Russo described it, is "to allow the customer to buy more, again and again.”


Overall, I was very impressed with the format and information presented at the MarcomCentral mini-conference. Link the many ideas presented to Jon Miller’s ICARE acronym (impact, coverage, awareness, reach, and engagement), and you have what on the surface seems to be the next generation in marketing methodology, automation, and technology.

If ABE is as effective as the presentation, Jon Miller and his firm are sitting on a rocket ship of profits and very happy marketers and brands.

A more detailed explanation of the ABE process is contained in Jon's book available as a free download.


For more information on events like MarcomCentral Marketing Tech Roadshow, visit Marketing Events.

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