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What’s the Difference Between Account-Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing?

By Snap Agency June 19, 2018

The turmoil between inbound and account-based marketing rages on, consuming marketing and sales departments alike in a haze of conflict and confusion. And while both approaches bring substantial advantages to the table, companies just can’t seem to decide on which one is more effective at generating leads. Snap’s team has been developing innovative digital marketing efforts for years, and we’re dedicated to ending this strategy struggle once and for all. So relax for a moment and take heed. We’re about to explain everything you need to know about ABM and inbound marketing.

Understanding ABM & Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is all about providing valuable information and content that attracts new business. Companies utilizing inbound marketing will employ several tactics—including content marketing and SEO—to promote compelling content that draws in new prospects and moves them further down the conversion funnel. Inbound marketing content can range from blogs and newsletters to posts on social media. Companies can use this strategy to cast a wide net and gain the trust of any prospects looking for their services or products.

Account-based marketing uses inbound marketing as a foundation and expands into connecting with individual prospects within a particular business niche. This one-to-one approach empowers companies to decide exactly which accounts they want to target—and draw them in with marketing efforts that address their specific needs and attributes. Large organizations value ABM because of how strategic and focused it is; the accounts these companies target via ABM and digital marketing are almost guaranteed to deliver high ROI if their marketing efforts are successful. As businesses grow in size and gain a better understanding of which targets they want to target, they tend to flesh out their inbound marketing into an ABM approach.

Put simply, inbound marketing is a component of ABM. If inbound marketing is a wide fishing net, then ABM is a net and a specialized lure. ABM is just a more comprehensive approach that combines inbound marketing with very targeted marketing initiatives. Unfortunately, many companies don’t have the resources to practice ABM effectively. So then, how should you determine which approach is best for your organization?

Choosing the Right Marketing Strategy for Your Business

ABM is a fantastic strategy for businesses with specific accounts or target personas in their crosshairs. By creating unique, personalized content for these accounts, you can quickly build relationships with prospects that have been tested to provide quality leads. Most importantly, ABM helps to align your sales and marketing teams. When running an ABM program, both sides need to focus their efforts on targeting and winning particular accounts, with each party contributing an equal share in nurturing leads. Companies where marketing and sales have blended ownership of leads also have higher conversion rates, so be sure to look into this approach if you’d like to foster better collaboration (and results) between your sales and marketing staff.

The only real downside to ABM is that it can be expensive. Implementing personalized content around specific accounts will obviously cost more compared to traditional marketing, but the potential benefits greatly outweigh the price—as long as you’ve done your homework and target accounts that will yield high ROI.

Sticking exclusively to inbound marketing is the right choice if you don’t have the budget to develop a fully built ABM strategy, or if you haven’t locked down accounts to target. Once again, this approach casts a wide, cost-effective net that can help you find new prospects. Inbound marketing is also an excellent way to refine your understanding of which types of accounts provide the best and most lucrative partnerships, which will help your team with its ABM efforts later down the road.

Optimizing Marketing Strategy ROI

Now that you know which marketing strategy you’ll use to generate new leads, you’re probably wondering which tactics you should incorporate to strengthen your chosen approach. Of course, there are many tools you can utilize to support your ABM and inbound marketing, but we advise looking into PPC specifically. Pay-per-click marketing enables extremely precise targeting and can be used alongside ABM or inbound marketing. It’s the perfect way to attract qualified web traffic that’s searching for your unique services or products.

Make Digital Marketing Effortless With Snap

Looking for a strategic partner to help you navigate through the ever-changing world of digital marketing? Then be sure to call or message us today. Snap’s team can set you up with a research-driven marketing approach that positions your business for continuous success. Also, be sure to drop us a line if you’d like to learn more about how to guide prospects down the inbound marketing or ABM funnel. We look forward to hearing from you soon.