Every now and then I check my promotions tab and it caught my eye. “Take the ABM certification for free, usually $349” from Demandbase.
Without researching whether this has always been for free, I felt this could be a good way to get further marketing training and add another badge to LinkedIn.
Apart from teaching the fundamentals of ABM, I hoped the course would be:
- practical and actionable
- Fits with general marketing theory
- Reinforced with real stats
- Not digital communications centric
- Of reasonable production value
With that said -I think they did fairly well!
Here is more on what I mean:
The course covers the foundations material over about 5 major sections (working from memory). Each section explains a major part of the approach, it’s elements and general applications.
Thankfully, they have designed the course for ABM evangelists, because the program provides a ’90 day integration’ framework, breaking down the transformation of the marketing department to an ABM focused on into incremental steps.
The intermixing of actionable steps both as part of the course content and in the accompanying guidebook were a bit useful. They aren’t particular rigorous but that is to be expected for a course. Any harder and I’m sure people wouldn’t complete them at all.
I understand not every course provider feels the need to provide statistics to back up the content, but it’s nice to have. Without it, I find myself falling down a Google Scholar or PDF search spiral, trying to verify the current consensus on whether that particular technique or theory is applicable in practice.
Thankfully, the ABM course had a few compelling stats to back up their claims along the way. They are repeated enough that you’ll remember them and be able to defend yourself ideologically ;-).
They also tastefully included case studies of the changes their own organisation went through in applying the approach, which I think was a great way to illustrate their points.
Digital communications centric?
I’m no marketing authority, but I can agree with those that that the world has gone too channel specific, particularly for digital communications. It is sometimes a bit difficult to find more digital-agnostic marketing information in Google results without every second result being some variant of funnel-hacking-ROI-breakthrough-something-or-other.
Having said that, I also understand ABM relies a lot on email so I expected it would be generally focused on digital.
Thankfully however they were a bit broader in their suggestions and suggest a broad mix, including field sales, etc.
A small downer was that the course didn’t delve deeply into the other 3 or 6 Ps (other than promotions) such as pricing, placement and positioning questions. Then again, it is a foundational, approach-specific course and not designed to provide holistic marketing strategy training.
The course was professionally produced with a series of auto-playing videos and hours of content. I found myself pausing the videos and taking notes along the way, so it was dense enough to not feel flimsy but also not too dense to get through.
There were some small annoyances, though, such as the video pausing when you click out of the window. That makes it hard to multi-task (though we probably shouldn’t).
Also there were a few videos that were unnecessarily cut into a smaller chunks and would have flowed nicely had they be stuck together.
At the end of each chapter there are a series of questions with right and wrong answers, which are helpful in prompting you to remember what was discussed, but not particularly in-depth or challenging.
I am happy I took this course. It really did provide a good foundation of knowledge in the ABM space and has helped me have more educated discussions with colleagues when working from that approach.
Putting together a course of this size, complexity, must be a monumental undertaking by the team. And if it was outsourced, I can imagine it was not cheap to produce so I think the team has done very well I and wish them good luck in improving it for the future!
You can still get the course for free at Demandbase.