For several decades, marketers in the digital realm have believed in the concept of spreading their nets wide to catch several fish at once and filter the ones they actually need, later. Nevertheless, the gradual emergence of a new philosophy in the recent past has changed the convictions of many.
The new approach is called account-based marketing (ABM), which turns the traditional marketing methodology upside down. ABM involves a more personalized and account-specific approach, where direct communication is used to target decision-makers within an organization.
This is not to say that ABM is better over traditional marketing. In fact, ABM and traditional marketing are two sides of the same coin, which can together yield better results if performed well.
What separates ABM from a Standard Marketing Campaign?
While a standard marketing campaign focuses on attracting leads via content creation, ABM does it through direct, personalized communication.
Accounts vs Markets
ABM aims at high-level accounts, to which you can reach out via customized content using outbound channels. Targeted ads and emails are examples of outbound channels, through which you can share content that resonates with your target audience. On the other hand, inbound marketing is a broad-reaching concept, which targets industries or markets on the whole.
Quality vs. Quantity
To run an ABM campaign, marketers need to understand the target accounts first. This helps them attract high quality leads, which are highly likely to make a purchase. Contrary to this, a normal campaign includes content marketing on a wider scale, which only focuses on attracting a high number of leads.
ABM works by running optimized campaigns to lure new customers and by cross-selling and upselling to expand the current accounts. The inbound marketing technique works on the principle of bringing new business.
Target customer persona vs. Ambiguous buyer persona
Since ABM aims at bringing high-quality prospects, it requires building specific customer personas. Firmographic and technographic data along with predictive analytics play a major role here. Also, inbound or normal marketing specialists keep an ambiguous persona in mind, in that they need to target a broader market or industry and bring in as many prospects as possible.
In a nutshell, account-based marketing is meant for a niche market, which requires determining the ideal customer persona and appropriate channels to reach out to and nurture them. An inbound marketing campaign is more feasible for organizations in a broad market, where a broader audience is to be targeted. Various big companies like Starbucks and Salesforce use inbound marketing methods because of their large audience and a wide range of products and services.
Why you should combine ABM with your inbound marketing approach?
With such obvious distinctions between account-based marketing and inbound marketing, it is natural for marketers to use one of the two approaches for bringing in new business. Depending on your business model, you may find one strategy better over the other, but creating a synergy of the two is the best way to move forward and yield improved results.
Both ABM and inbound marketing work with the common goal of attracting prospects via effective content. However, ABM is more of an actual lead generation strategy. So you can provide a more targeted audience with personalized and relevant content that clicks to them.
A proven way to yield increased ROI out of the two techniques combined is to attract prospects via the inbound strategy, find out the key accounts and create personalized content for them in ABM style. Thus, you will gain new leads, while creating more useful content that provides them with a personalized experience.
The Final Word
Deciding on one of the two popular marketing strategies can be daunting, since both come with their own fortunes and failures. While choosing one and overlooking the other may bring delayed results, you may choose to use each technique after analysing each case. ABM tends to work well in case of large scale companies and inbound is likely to be a success when targeting SMEs.