Account-Based Marketing vs Inbound Marketing: Which One Should You Pick?

July 16, 2020
You must have come across the terms of account-based marketing and inbound marketing. Both of these marketing strategies are in demand at the moment. Many marketers are seeing the benefits of creating a personalized experience for their audience. B2B marketers are adopting Account-based marketing strategy to target high-value accounts rather than casting a wide net. Whereas inbound marketing focuses on creating personalized content for the target audience.

 According to a survey by Statista, in 2020 out of the B2B companies in the US exploring different marketing tactics, 39% are expected to use inbound marketing and 42% will use account-based marketing. Also, the highest number of respondents (47%) are going to use personalization.

There is a growing demand for both these marketing strategies. The one aspect that has proven successful, and which both have in common, is personalization. Marketers create personalized content and experiences for their target audience, to be relevant as well as build a long-term relationship with them.

Image from Statista

Let’s take a look at what are the differences and similarities between account-based marketing and inbound marketing.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy that targets select, high-value accounts. The strategy includes investing resources and creating personalised experiences for these accounts to influence the key stakeholders. ABM strategy helps align the sales and marketing teams in an organisation.

This strategy requires the coordination of both the teams to come up with the select accounts to target. This helps the organization save a lot of time as well as creates a seamless buying experience for the account. ABM considers each account as individual buyers, which is why it becomes more relevant to the key stakeholders in the account.

B2B marketing usually has a longer sales cycle as compared to B2C marketing. ABM helps organizations to shorten the sales cycle. ABM allows you to nurture the primary decision- makers which can speed up the sales cycle. It also increases ROI as you only invest in accounts that have the potential to convert.

It is cost-effective and helps you use your marketing resources efficiently. As clients appreciate this personalized experience, they trust the organization, even more, to help solve their problems. This promotes trust and enables businesses to build valued relationships with these clients.

Planning to incorporate ABM in your marketing strategy? Take a look at these Key Account-Based Marketing Stats to help you make your decision.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content that educates them. It focuses on building valuable, long-term relationships with customers. Inbound marketing has three stages which are Attract, Engage, and Delight. The content is built to ensure that it helps the audience through these three stages.

The types of content that inbound marketers often use are blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, emails, infographics, checklists, etc. All of this is aimed at educating the audience and helping them to find a solution. When business uses inbound marketing, the prospects look at them as a source of knowledge. It helps the prospects trust the business and eventually invest in it.

Inbound marketing helps you attract the right prospects, engage them, and eventually convert them. It is a great strategy to build brand awareness. It also enables you to build trust and credibility with your audience.

The most beneficial aspect of inbound marketing is that the customers come to you and choose to engage with your content. Hence, you cater to the audience that is interested in the products or services that you offer. This helps them convert with the potential for a long-term business relationship.

Plan your Inbound marketing content to make a strong strategy. Here are 10 Types of Content For A Successful Inbound Marketing Strategy

Differences Between ABM and Inbound Marketing

 The approaches taken for each of these strategies are distinct from one another.

  • ABM and inbound marketing have opposite sales funnels. ABM strategy is started off by identifying the target accounts. Followed by tailoring messages or content, and finally building a lasting relationship with customers. Inbound marketing is started off by developing content in order to attract leads. Then to nurture them and finally convert them.
  • ABM focuses on a select group of target accounts. While in inbound marketing a wide net is cast to attract potential customers.
  • With ABM you can easily measure the ROI as the final outcome results in sales, but with inbound marketing, it can be difficult.
  • In ABM strategy the marketing and sales teams align to identify the target accounts. Whereas, the inbound marketing strategy is built within the marketing team.
  • ABM is focused on closing more sales while inbound marketing aims to create brand awareness.

Similarities Between ABM and Inbound Marketing

  • Both strategies require a good understanding of the target audience in order to build relevant and personalized content.
  • These strategies are focused on building valuable and long-term relationships with customers.
  • Both aim to create personalized and relevant content that delight the right customers and cater to their needs.
  • ABM and inbound help in retaining customers by providing them with solutions to their problems or answering their queries.

How you can use ABM and Inbound Marketing Together

Many companies will find either one of these methods useful to them as per their business model. But there can be another way to get the most from both strategies. Instead of picking from either one of these strategies, it can be more beneficial to use them together. Inbound marketing enables you to get the right customers through content. While account-based marketing uses both marketing and sales to speed up the sales cycle and deliver valuable customer experience.

The best way to combine them could be to approach ABM with the inbound methodology. This approach can allow you to provide meaningful content and great customer experience to the select, high-value accounts. Combining these strategies can help you drive more conversions and connect better with the right target accounts. Overall you will have a robust strategy.

Based on your business model and goals, you might find it challenging to pick one strategy. It also depends on the resources you have and how you want to spend them. If you are already using one of them, you don’t have to abandon it to use the other. Incorporating both of them can help your organization find the right target accounts and understand how they think. Further, you can provide content that resonates with them, also giving a valuable customer experience to help them convert. You can experiment with different tactics in ABM and inbound strategies to find out which combination works best to complete your business goals.

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