In the world of marketing, account based marketing (ABM) and inbound marketing are fan favorites. Why? They forever changed the way marketers interacted with their audiences. Allow us to explain…
Both ABM and inbound marketing have transformed the marketing methods used to reach target audiences and bring in the most ideal prospects. This, of course, is thanks to the technological developments that have made it all possible. As a result of their effectiveness, many B2B companies have labored to see which method is more useful than the other. What they may not always consider is that the two can work in conjunction with one another.
But before we get into that, here’s an outline of each marketing method and how they function in their own right:
Inbound marketing is a strategy that drives prospects and audiences to a company through organic measures such as SEO, blog posts, websites, and more. Instead of taking on a more narrow or niche approach, inbound marketing does the opposite. The goal is to attract as many people who may be qualified leads to a company. While quality does still matter here (since no one wants to attract people who will never convert), inbound marketing is more focused on the quantity of people it brings in.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing strategy does not involve reaching out to prospects and hoping they return an email or call.
Common methods of inbound include:
- Maintaining educational blog posts
- Hosting webinars to demo or promote a product or solution
- Contributing written content to well-known publications
- Refining SEO on website and landing pages
On the other hand, account based marketing aligns marketing with sales in order to deliver a more customized experience for sales prospects. More specifically, it does this by targeting groups or accounts rather than individuals, making it easier for marketers to create a more consistent buying experience for each account rather than trying to be everything to everyone…literally.
ABM allows marketers to channel their energy towards keeping the most valuable accounts happy and retaining them as long-term customers. Ultimately, ABM is a great strategy for companies that want to see high-growth with a focused approach, better ROI, and shortened sales cycles. In account based marketing, marketers will want to identify an ideal customer profile (ICP), or the key stakeholders in an organization who make decisions regarding the products and services they use.
Examples of ABM include:
- Corporate giftings
- Custom email campaigns
- Relevant resources, such as e-books and whitepapers
- Engagement through social media platforms
Aside from audience types and engagement methods, inbound marketing and ABM have other differences too, including the funnel stages, messaging, and ROI measurements.
There are key differentiators between the funnel stages of inbound and account based marketing. While an inbound marketing starts with building awareness and attracting leads to landing pages or website forms before nurturing those leads and driving them to a purchase decision, the ABM funnel is not quite in this order. ABM starts at the end of the inbound marketing funnel, starting by identifying target accounts and nurturing them last.
Engagement strategy: Engagement encompasses how marketers tailor their messaging to reach audiences, and tactics they utilize to interact with potential prospects.
Like we’ve previously discussed, inbound marketing aims to bring in a broader audience of potentially ideal customers. Because of this, inbound does not execute outreach to accounts or individual prospects, but instead puts out resources that larger amounts of people can access and find. From there, the hope is to reel in those prospects to learn more about the product or service you offer.
Since the point of ABM is to further personalize the customer journey, all messaging will be curated in a particular way, tailored to each account. Additionally, ABM goes a step further and customizes the method of communication that the marketer can pursue for each account. For example, one organization may prefer receiving email newsletters while another responds better to phone calls. ABM enables marketers to determine which strategy is the most effective for each specific account, and then execute it.
Last but not least, the two methods differ in how they are measured with regard to success. Each type will have different goals and thereby, different KPIs to meet. For inbound marketing, success is measured in conversions, potential leads, number of unique visitors, newsletter subscribers, or revenue from sales.
Account based marketing, on the other hand, will measure more concrete numbers like click through rates on a website link or open rates on emails.
How they can work together
While inbound and account based marketing have different functions and purposes, they do not need to operate in isolation, and most times, the choice does not have to be between one or the other. In fact, when they work together, they can tag team – with inbound leading prospects into ABM to carry the original efforts to fruition. In other words, inbound marketing can attract the right people to your company and pass the baton to ABM, which can ensure that the customers make it through the customer experience feeling valued and delighted.
No matter what stage your business is in, no marketing strategy will work unless executed effectively. At Lift Digital, we help marketing leaders craft their marketing strategies to serve and reach the target audiences they want to make an impact on. Ready to start implementing a more effective marketing strategy? Contact us today!