Budgets for account-based marketing (ABM) programs have fallen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although investment in technology continues to grow, according to Rethinking ABM for the Next Opportunity: 2020 ABM Benchmark Study, a report by the ABM Leadership Alliance in partnership with ITSMA.
ABM now gets a 27% share of the average B2B marketing budget.
But of the companies polled, 30% decreased their ABM budgets because of COVID-19 last year and 26% decreased them. The remaining 44% report no change.
Still, the adjusted technology budgets continued to grow, with 51% increasing them, 14% decreasing them and 14% remaining the same.
For the record, the study defines ABM as “a strategic approach to designing and executing highly-targeted and personalized marketing programs to drive business growth and impact with specific, named accounts.”
But ABM isn’t easy even without the pandemic. The top challenges are:
But there are benefits to using ABM — for one, 77% see improvement in relationships, 55% in revenue and 34% in reputation/brand.
The most experienced firms have seen improvements in metrics in these areas:
All other firms have dramatically lower results.
Of the technologies, 70% are using email/website/CRM/social platforms.
And 40%-60% are utilizing analytics, events, advertising, account insights, marketing automation and direct-mail systems.
The top planned investments for 2021 are ABM platform, attribution and reporting, intent, direct mail, content syndication, third-party data and events.
But the pandemic has complicated things: 42% say it has caused them to change their business objectives, while 54% say it hasn’t.
Among their new priorities:
There’s more good news: B2B brands fall into these categories of ABM maturity:
The ABM Leadership Alliance And ITSMA surveyed 420 marketers at B2B technology and business services companies in August-September 2020.