Account-Based Marketing vs Inbound Marketing



Qualified leads are the result of a solid marketing strategy, but with two predominant B2B marketing strategies to consider (and often opposing ones), it can be difficult to know which one is best to apply to companies.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is an approach that targets key decision-makers within targeted organizations through direct and personalized communication. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is an approach that targets a broader audience to attract consumers to products or services through content creation. With such distinctions, it is common for companies to use one strategy rather than another.

How they differ

Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM involves targeting pre-determined accounts with personalized marketing tactics. Your attention and energy is focused on major accounts, which means you can reach key decision-makers in a more direct manner. Your strategy must inevitably include personalized content through strategic channels, such as email and highly targeted advertising, with which these stakeholders can relate to.

This strategy works well if your company sells to a niche market. Once you’ve identified your ideal character, it’s easier to define which accounts you want to work with and how to target them. As a result, companies that choose to use ABM find that it is not only an effective way to attract new targeted accounts, but also a way to expand and retain existing relationships – which ultimately increases lead generation.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing aims to attract a wide range of consumers through relevant and quality content offers. The inbound methodology (attraction, conversion, sales and support) ensures that companies meet the needs of their target customers by offering them the right content at the right time. This method qualifies leads through offers, forms and emails, which take them further down the conversion funnel.

Inbound marketing is a beneficial method for companies in a large market with a wide range of target characters. Salesforce, GE, and Starbucks are just a few of the many large companies that implement inbound marketing because of their broad audience and wide range of products and services. With inbound, companies are able to reach a broader audience and generate new interest on a larger scale.

ABM & Inbound synergy

While some companies may find that one marketing strategy works better than the other for their business model, ABM and inbound do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, combining the two methods can often produce powerful results.

Basically, both ABM and Inbound marketing aim to target specific audiences with interesting content that converts. In fact, their combination can give your company greater power of influence. You will have the opportunity to target a more interested target audience in the first instance and thus understand their thought process by providing them with relevant and high quality content.

An example of the use of these two techniques is to generate new leads via inbound, then identify a few key accounts within this set and offer them ABM-type content. This mix will allow your company to extend its reach to new leads, but also improve the content and humanize the buying experience for the accounts that seem most interested. To effectively execute such a strategy, your company (no matter the size) needs to develop a solid content strategy and create a library of high-level content that can be customized, if necessary, to targeted accounts.

There are countless strategies that combine ABM and inbound marketing that can produce excellent results. That’s why it’s important to test and iterate to find the combination that best suits your business context.


Deciding on the right marketing strategy for your business can be difficult. While there are advantages and disadvantages to inbound marketing and ABM, focusing on one method to the exclusion of the other can be detrimental to results. By using both techniques, you can build a marketing strategy that pushes the boundaries of traditional marketing and meets your company’s organizational goals.