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Why Personalized Marketing and Account-Based Marketing Aren't the Same

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Many B2B organizations think that account-based marketing (ABM) and personalized marketing are essentially the same thing. But lumping these two specific practices into the same category doesn’t do justice to either one.

The reason: while personalization and personalized marketing is part of ABM, ABM is much bigger than personalized marketing. It’s an entire marketing strategy, with personalized marketing being one aspect that helps to make ABM efforts successful.

Let’s start with a definition of personalized marketing, which is tailoring the marketing message or outreach to specific audiences, customers or prospects. In today’s highly distracted B2B environments, getting personal is more important than ever. According to Adweek, “Smart marketers know that they need to deliver a personalized, one-to-one experience for every audience they’re trying to reach.”

And personalized B2B marketing continues to be on an upward trajectory: According to Entrepreneur magazine, highly personalized marketing communication, sent at the right time and in the right channel, could become a $5.5 billion industry by 2019.

Marketers that know their target’s role in the industry can develop messaging that speaks to their concerns and their specific interests. They can develop different creative approaches for different audiences. They also can adapt efforts depending on the contact’s stage of the buyer journey, and use specific channels — such as search terms, content types, and social media platforms, because they know target audiences favor them.  

But without all the legwork to get to these points, marketers won’t be able to get very personal in the first place. This is where ABM comes in.

Three Facets of Account-Based Marketing

ABM combines the dimension of personalized marketing with the process of defining specific target audiences for an organization’s sales and marketing teams to focus on. It also predicts and then measures the level of engagement its target audiences exhibit. All three of these components, which are distinctly different than personalization, can be complicated to execute in their own right.

Choosing target audiences for both marketing and sales teams to focus on may not be easy or straightforward. This is why some B2B organizations need data modeling and predictive analytics tools to determine where best to focus their efforts.

Because the goal is engaging these audiences and building relationships with them, ABM also may incorporate technology to understand how impactful certain strategies are.

For example, Viant recently launched a new data tool to target professionals by title, vertical, company size and location across devices, and to measure performance. The company says it uses advanced analytics and measurement capabilities to identify the right targets and engage them.

Measuring outreach success is also part of ABM that differs greatly from traditional inbound marketing efforts. As Jon Miller, former CMO of Marketo and founder of Engagio, has explained to Forbes magazine, marketers using ABM need a different set of metrics to ultimately understand not how many leads were generated; but whether they actually engaged and built relationships with the right people at the right accounts.

All of these components of ABM are complicated, which means it can be a trial and error process for many organizations. We can help.

In the next blog, we’ll look at some of the common mistakes B2B organization encounter when implementing ABM, and how to avoid them. And, if you’d like assistance in rounding out your next ABM campaign, give us a call.