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Will AI Make Account-Based Marketing Obsolete?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has only been in the B2B marketing lexicon for a few years now -- but some think the idea may already be on its way out because of advances in martech analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

"Marketing without AI is going to be no marketing at all," said Malcolm Frank, CMO of Cognizant Technology Solutions, as he set the tone for the day in an introductory presentation at ITSMA's annual Marketing Vision conference this month in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Frank went on to relate how researchers have already perfected poker-playing robots that are able to accurately learn and read human poker players' strategies, determining when they are bluffing and when they are not. The corollary that other speakers picked up was that AI will eventually be better than humans at marketing and creating a positive customer experience; some seemed to indicate that current machine learning and automation tech is already better than human marketing and CRM professionals.

"We started about four or five years ago with [Strategic] ABM," related Nick Panayi, Vice President of Brand, Demand, & Digital Marketing at DXC Technology. "You have to have a marketer facing no more than five [or] six accounts. Otherwise, you run out of time.

So we had 400 key accounts. There [are] not enough marketers.".

The upshot was that Panayi could not scale up enough ABM accounts. The solution that he and his DXC colleagues' came up with was to instead scrap ABM per se and instead adopt what they called "Pursuit Marketing" -- leveraging AI and other marketing analytics to better connect with customers on a one-to-one basis.

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