The Case For And Against BGM

Nothing is new under the sun, so why bother with a new but similar concept?

Rarely will two marketers give the same definition of ABM. That’s partly because, as it’s grown in popularity over the years, one-to-few and one-to-many approaches have become more widespread and common, multiplying the ways in which ABM can be executed.

BGM is a call to arms for that hyper-focused mindset found in strategic ABM programs. Purists and stalwarts may claim that ABM ‘twas ever thus – that identifying account lists and mapping out the decision-making unit within them was the core tenant of any program worth its salt. But BGM reflects the marked change in buyer behavior over recent years, reminding marketers of the value and importance of building deep and meaningful relationships with individual prospects.

It challenges marketers to think more about creating a journey for a specific individual, or group of individuals and those influencing them. Indeed, the simplest way to separate the two is this:

ABM starts from knowing the accounts you’re going after. BGM starts when you know who’s in the buying group within those accounts

There is, however, a compelling argument that hyper- targeted marketing can in fact become somewhat blinkered; that only targeting decision-makers is folly. After all, you can’t control everything the decision-maker hears or sees, and they’re inevitably influenced by a
diverse set of stakeholders and peers – whether that’s the end-user, the managers, or even the communities they interact with. With that in mind, why would you put in all this effort targeting such a select few people when any one of them can have their mind changed and subsequently shift the course of the deal?

ABM is a marathon, not a sprint. In a marathon, you can start off too quickly, lose pace and never reach the end. You’ve got to invest the right amount of energy at each stage of these accounts. Then, once milestones are hit, you can increase investment and get more people involved in the process.

So, in many ways, this is a false dichotomy. You needn’t do either one-to-one or en masse targeting. You can perform hyper-targeted BGM, while also pushing wider brand awareness, and, in doing so, expanding your realms of influence.

You shouldn’t put all your eggs in the ABM or BGM baskets. After all, the clients who you identified through super sophisticated intent data early on in the process may go cold while there’s a new account knocking on your door to get served – you’d be a fool not to have to pivot and focus on that new opportunity.

All of this is to say you can’t control everything – and that’s a good thing. Instead, BGM challenges you to double down on the aspects you can control while also making provisions for the known unknowns.

So, we end where we started: isn’t that just good marketing?

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