The Three C’s of ABM

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) has, in recent years, become one of the most talked-about tools in the B2B marketing toolkit, which means there is also no small amount of hot air and conjecture on this topic.


If preposterous metrics and convoluted technology platforms aren’t your thing, you’ll be pleased to hear that our take on it is a touch different.


If you talk to any typical ABM-specialist agency, or one of the many MarTech evangelists out there, you’re likely to hear all about global programmes encompassing 500+ accounts, sweating assets, £XXbn pipeline opportunities and so on.

Our approach is more human, more tactical, and more accessible. And we don’t believe that ABM is an infinitely scalable silver bullet – because isn’t that just the opposite of how ABM actually works?

After attending a specialist ABM conference recently, where many great examples of ABM in practice were shared, our office was abuzz with debate on the merits and perils of ABM as an approach which we have distilled into The Three C’s of ABM:

1. Credibility

Tick-box business insights are easy to find, but authentic credibility comes from digging down into the core of what a business is about and uncovering what’s truly interesting and individual about it. 

But you can only do this with any effect when the number of businesses you’re targeting is relatively small, otherwise people will tend to start short-cutting – which undermines the whole point of doing ABM in the first place. Earnest finds that the optimal number of accounts for a successful ABM campaign is no more than seven.

2. Capability

It certainly takes skill and nuance to develop a bespoke proposition for a sub-sector, but it’s not rocket science. 

However, tailoring a relevant array of case studies and proof points that speak to the challenges facing your target account, as well as demonstrating how your services can flex in response to those challenges, is significantly more difficult and time-consuming, but it’s this attention to detail that makes all the difference – it’s far more than just putting their logo on a microsite.

3. Creativity

Regardless of format or budget, creativity remains the surest way to make a lasting and positive impression, so don’t lose sight of it amidst all the chatter about personalisation (and no that doesn’t mean bloody video greeting card direct mails).

Earnest is, first and foremost, a creative agency and some of the best work we’ve done has been for low-reach, highly-tactical campaigns that were laser-focused on a specific goal. This is high-stakes creativity, with nowhere to hide if it doesn’t engage our client’s desired audiences, which is why we apply the same high level of attention and craft as we would for a global ad campaign.