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Account Based Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

By Snap Agency April 16, 2018

Account based marketing and inbound marketing are two of the most common marketing configurations in today’s market. While each one has its own merits and advantages if you’re unfamiliar with what each entails, selecting the correct marketing strategy for your business can be difficult. At Snap, we’ve been helping companies create data-driven, creative marketing strategies for over 13 years. So you could say we know a thing or two when it comes to inbound and account based marketing in Minneapolis and beyond.

What is Account Based Marketing

B2B Companies are moving to a digital marketing strategy process called Account based marketing. This is an advanced form of targeted marketing, but what is it and who is it right for? At its core, ABM is the practice of marketing towards a set list of accounts that very rarely changes. This list of accounts is based directly on what the service or product is that you’re selling and who in your industry, or the market at large, would possibly want it.

The types of businesses who utilize ABM can typically be labeled as “niche” and operate within a small pool of clients and are most commonly business-to-business structured companies. For example, a company that sold cooling systems for penguins would only target zoos. No one else would ever buy a penguin cooling system, and so, the company’s list of potential customers only includes U.S. zoos. This company knows exactly who is going to need their product and can now create a specialized ABM approach that will appeal the most to the decision makers at zoos. With ABM, you don’t pitch a wide net hoping to snag hundreds of small, medium, and large fish; you bait your hook with purposely chosen lures and wait to reel in the big one. While there may be plenty of fish in the sea, you’re only concerned with a very select few.

The ABM approach is vastly different than that of its inbound marketing brother. The most important fact to keep in mind while optimizing your ABM approach is that every action you take must be in the pursuit of installing your company as an expert in its industry.

While typically, inbound marketing relies on blogs, landing pages, and service pages, ABM calls for a greater concentration of the following resources (to just name a few):

  • Webinars
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • Industry and Benchmark Reports
  • Industry-Respected Publications
  • Articles

What is Inbound Marketing

Unlike ABM, inbound marketing throws out a wide net hoping to catch the eye of any interested fish. With shiny objects and tempting morsels, inbound marketing focuses on the more traditional conversion funnel and finds customers through far-reaching targeted tactics. While ABM companies may only have a list of 200 companies they could target, companies utilizing an inbound marketing approach will try to pursue any consumer that they feel their product or service would be a good fit for.

An ideal example of a company that would benefit from a standard inbound marketing approach would be a company that makes high-end candles. This company would be open to anyone buying their goods and would need to only convince consumers why their product was worth their investment. Inbound marketing utilizes a targeted content approach using SEO, PPC, and creative resources. Through targeted keywords, SEO can deliver content to the optimal person while other digital marketing services can work in tandem to prompt a consumer down the conversion funnel.

What Your Company Needs to Understand Before Starting ABM or Inbound Marketing

Every type of marketing is an extension of your brand, not an exception. So to devise a comprehensive marketing strategy that will serve to meet your goals, you’ll need to solidify your answers to a few complex questions.

What is your brand’s true mission and vision?

If you’ve yet to identify your brand’s vision or mission, you won’t be able to narrow down your marketing approach to only target the consumers who are most likely to connect with your brand. Marketing is not the same as casting a wide net to see what you drag in. A well-executed marketing approach will already know which fish are in the water, will have selected the ones it wants to bite the hook they’re prepared, and have baited the lure accordingly.

Are you able to describe your quantifiable differentiators?

What makes you unique? It’s a simple enough question, but answering it is no easy task. Many times, making something is easy, but putting into words how your property is different or better than all others can be a challenge. Just “knowing” that you’re the best isn’t enough. You’ll need to have precise information available that will succinctly tell a consumer why you’re better than everyone else on the market.

Are you able to clearly state your company’s value?

For some, their products won’t be hitting the shelves, but will be presented to panels in boardrooms or conference halls. Not to be confused with your product’s quantifiable differentiators, your company’s value is what makes it unique. There’s a story behind each brand, and you’ll need to sell yours just like your products. If you are unable to clearly communicate your company’s value, then your brand won’t resonate with the top decision makers where you are trying to pitch your products or services.   

Optimize Your Marketing Approach With Snap

The times are changing. There are more options available now when it comes to marketing then there have ever been before. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all marketing tactics; your business deserves a marketing strategy that fits its unique wants and needs and that will help you to accomplish your short and long-term goals. Whether you decide on account based or inbound marketing, know that Snap is here to help you succeed.