I recently read a LinkedIn post written by a gentleman named Joel Stevenson. The post was correct, thought-provoking, and sobering for those of us in the marketing profession who don’t want to be painted with particularly pernicious brushes. The brush in Joel’s instance was ABM or, as it’s come to be known among those who attempt to treat the havoc-wreaking effects of spam euphemistically, account-based marketing.

To paraphrase the Wikipedia definition:

Account-based marketing (ABM) … is [an allegedly] strategic approach to business marketing … in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one.

Translation: Rather than spamming your company, ABMers spam individual prospects in your company. See the difference? Neither do I.

Take Cover

Because he’d been on the receiving end of several such bombardments, Joel entitled his post, “If this is ABM, I am opting out”. He reported the onslaught, the casualties, and his pique with both thusly:

I used to get probably 20+ emails a week from random people who asked me to point them “to the right person” for X … [others in my company] also received an almost identical email from the seller or someone else at the seller’s company … if you think pulling a list in your 3rd party contact database, loading it into an automated campaign, then hitting send is ABM please understand it is just spam and will cause more harm than good.

I have to imagine Joel is younger than I am. Otherwise, as anyone who came of age during the Cold War would know, what Joel described is ABM: Anti-Ballistic Missile, whence account-based marketing derives its abbreviation. Account-based marketing works exactly the same way as anti-ballistic missiles: One faction arms a shitload of silos with lethal ordnance, points it at the other faction, waits for the other faction to twitch, then hits Send to launch the entire fusillade.

Utter devastation follows.

After the Blast

You really have to wonder if the companies that launch ABMs find enough business among the wreckage and the scorched earth to justify continuing the attacks. I know war is hell and everything. But come on. If you’re not capable of recognizing that the wanton waste of life isn’t getting you anywhere, at least show a little mercy, for cryin’ out loud.

Body counts aren’t everything.