Demandbase and Engagio: An ABM Tech Stack?

Demandbase and Engagio: An ABM Tech Stack?

Demandbase and Engagio have both pitched themselves as the end-to-end ABM solution. By coming together they intend to turn their claims into reality.

Consolidation has been an ongoing theme in the marketing technology sector for two years now, ever since Adobe kicked off a wave of mergers and acquisitions with its 2018 purchases of Marketo and Magento. After a wave of deals in 2019, Coronavirus brought a halt to proceedings. Now vendor consolidation is back in the limelight after last week's news that Demandbase are buying Engagio. That announcement came completely out of the blue, but heralds a new wave of deals in the ABM space that industry watchers have been expecting for a while.

The Technology Gap

B2B marketers have been investing in Account Based Marketing for years now. Some organisations have mature ABM programs, while others have struggled to progress out of the pilot stages. Regardless of success or maturity, there are many challenges to building a successful ABM program. Technology has been one of the biggest. The traditional marketing landscape is very lead-centric. Marketing automation vendors have talked about ABM extensively, but don't really offer a solution unless you buy expensive add-ons. Instead, new technologies such as Engagio have arisen to meet the account-centric marketing challenge, while existing vendors such as Demandbase pivoted their products to fit the ABM paradigm. When added together, there is a lot of technology out there to solve the problem of ABM, but none of it offers a complete solution.

For the last couple of years, Demandbase and Engagio have both pitched themselves as the end-to-end ABM solution. However, neither have lived up to the billing. There are significant gaps in both products that have necessitated buying additional technology to deliver a complete ABM program. Indeed, 30 organisations already use both Engagio and Demandbase despite them previously being seen as direct competitors. Now they are part of the same stable, and together they claim to finally deliver that promised end-to-end ABM tech stack, this time for real. It's not a totally baseless claim. The two technologies complement each other far more than they overlap.

Better Together

Demandbase are strong in data and personalisation, which is to be expected given their background in account-based visitor profiling and web personalisation. They've built out their platform over the years by adding robust connectors to advertising networks and CRM systems, as well as an intent data offering. However, their claim to be a full ABM solution relied heavily on these integrations as well as marketing automation to fill in the gaps in their platform. That's never really been enough for many marketing departments, particularly given the challenge many have experienced in building an account based view of the funnel.

Engagio is one of the few vendors out there who can claim to have solved the account based reporting challenge. Their strength in analytics, data management and multi-channel orchestration fits pretty well with the weaknesses of Demandbase. Originally founded by two veterans of Marketo, this heritage shows in their UI and the general approach to ABM. The platform captures all account-level information from the wider sales and marketing technology stack, aggregating it to present a complete view of each account and where they are in the funnel. This data can be then be used to launch campaigns to known and unknown contacts at target accounts across inbound and outbound channels.

The Next Challenge

As such, buying Engagio allows Demandbase to break free of their dependency on Marketing Automation and CRM systems for first-party data management and outbound orchestration. The fact they get Engagio CEO, Jon Miller, as their new Chief Product Officer and Engagio CTO, Brian Babcock, as their new CTO shouldn't be underestimated either. Miller, in particular, is a hugely influential voice as one of the key thought leaders behind the ABM movement. His aim has always been to build an account-based equivalent to Marketo, and it is clear he expects this new combination to do precisely that. It solves Engagio's weaknesses at the top of the funnel across both advertising and web channels, as well as providing a source of third-party account and intent data to complement the existing customer provided dataset already captured by Engagio. Instead, it allows the combined entity to focus on the next big ABM challenge identified by Miller: the age old challenge of Sales and Marketing Alignment.

Written by
Marketing Operations Consultant and Solutions Architect at CRMT Digital specialising in marketing technology architecture. Advisor on marketing effectiveness and martech optimisation.