KPMG and the UN: Award Winning Account Based Marketing

KPMG's account based marketing program with the UN, winner of 2015 ITSMA marketing excellence award, provides a textbook case of successful strategic ABM.

Rob Leavitt

by Rob Leavitt

June 6, 2016



As marketing leaders pull together submissions for ITSMA’s 2016 Marketing Excellence Awards – due by June 10 – we’re looking back at some of last year’s award-winning programs.

ITSMA Marketing Excellencec Awards

The majority of Strategic Account Based Marketing (ABM) programs focus on moving the needle with existing accounts, typically with a multi-channel approach to changing perceptions, strengthening relationships, and proving new offers (see ITSMA’s Fueling the ABM Fire for the latest research).

KPMG’s ABM program with the United Nations provides a textbook case of effective and successful strategic ABM. With relatively low penetration into the account, KPMG used ABM to change its perception within the UN from a good supplier to a partner that really understood their organizational imperatives and was able to leverage their own wider business relationship to help support the UN agenda.

The program was well executed, driving impressive results and competitive advantage. The program highlights the importance of developing deep understanding of a large and dispersed client with many cultures and relationship/purchasing criteria. It also demonstrates the importance of coordination across KPMG’s own organization. Finally, it shows the potential for using ABM not just with traditional commercial clients but also with public sector and mission-driven organizations.

Program Objective

To enhance KPMG’s global brand visibility and deepen relationships at the United Nations (UN), a US Platinum account for KPMG, the UN Global Account Team launched an account-based marketing campaign strategy in support of the UN’s Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goal was to proactively change the client’s perception of KPMG from merely one of many undifferentiated “professional service vendors” to one of KPMG as a trusted advisor with shared values and accountability in shaping the client’s post-2015 global agenda.

Program Execution

The UN Global Account Team accomplished a series of firsts by executing the SDG Industry Matrix campaign. Not only was this their first actual ABM campaign but they also broke new ground within KPMG’s broader marketing organization in the following ways:

  • First account based marketing campaign that combined a mix of digital and traditional media channels to drive brand, relationships, and sales at KPMG
  • Seamless coordination within KPMG’s marketing organization brought the best of the firm’s resources to the account. By leveraging internal market research tools, as well as local, national, global, and off shore resources, the team was able to achieve a cost savings of approximately $225,000 USD in print production, event marketing execution, market research and campaign management costs
  • First integrated client-centric marketing plan with a global reach and scale of this magnitude and prominence—drawing in C-Suite executives and global leaders across eight countries
  • First within KPMG’s Platinum marketing program to establish a global lead partner as a leading subject matter expert in a major, global campaign initiative that was not focused on a service line

Business Results

The program generated results in three essential areas.

First, the program accelerated the UN account team’s understanding of and connection to key buyers, influencers, and coaches within the UN:

  • Approximately 85 new relationships were created
  • Eight new speaking engagements were identified and managed by KPMG marketing that credentialized KPMG’s UN Global Lead Partner as a leading subject matter expert in the Post-2015 global debate
  • Using the MarketEdge relationship scoring methodology, the campaign led to a 40% increase in the relationship scores of Post-2015 strategic contacts across the UN’s 10 largest entities

Second, a third-party brand perception study confirmed that the ABM campaign helped change perceptions of KPMG at the UN:

  • The Director of the UN Development Programme noted that KPMG is “an innovative interlocutor on a wide range of development-related topics,” and credits the firm with providing ideas on sustainable development and advocating for private sector-led, inclusive growth
  • The head of the Business Partnerships Group of the UN Industrial Development Organization notes that KPMG is a “leading professional firm in the area of global development” with the “capacity and know-how to significantly contribute to pressing challenges around the Post-2015 agenda”

In addition, positive media sentiment from the campaign enhances and demonstrates the increase in KPMG’s overall brand equity with the UN:

  • Top KPMG executives are being covered across the media regarding their views on SDGs and how the private sector can guide the investment decisions of the sector while solving economic, social, and environmental challenges—thereby creating real, shared, tangible value
  • KPMG’s views on the SDGs garnered positive coverage on social and digital platforms, especially after the account’s active involvement in creating high touch event programs at the UN General Assembly and World Economic Forum
  • 37 UN-related events were identified and attended by the account team, 11 of which were hosted by KPMG, yielding upwards of five million brand impressions in eight countries across 6 main industry verticals

Third, the UN Global Account team expects the campaign to influence an increase of 33% in US revenue by the end of FY15 and an increase in global revenue of 45% over the same time period given its proven effectiveness in building the UN account team’s continued exposure and credibility across the UN system.

Finally, analysis of the latest figures from the 2014 UN Annual Statistical Report published this past August show that KPMG has ascended from 7th place provider to the 3rd largest services provider to the United Nations for applicable services, and 2nd within the Big 4 globally.

Learn more about the categories and guidelines for ITSMA’s 2016 Marketing Excellence Awards.


Related Resources


KPMG and the UN: Award Winning Account Based Marketing

KPMG's account based marketing program with the UN, winner of 2015 ITSMA marketing excellence award, provides a textbook case of successful strategic ABM.