Account based marketing

In digital marketing, you're usually fishing with wide nets to begin with. Then you go through several rounds of narrowing before you're finally left with buying customers in the net. Imagine if it could be done the other way around.

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What is account based marketing?

Account based marketing (often abbreviated ABM, and also known as just account marketing), has been a bit of a buzzword in online marketing over the past few years. Especially in B2B-but it may now also be relevant in the B2C-trade.

In short, account based marketing is a marketing strategywhich concentrates resources and advertising budgets on a set of selected accounts. It is therefore highly targeted marketing, often using personalised advertising campaigns.

In other words, you turn the sales funnel on its head. Normally in commerce, you'd start by finding leads, then warm them up, weed them out, and finally be left with the percentage who actually intend to complete a purchase with you.

With account based marketing, you start at the last step of the pyramid, so to speak: You assume that you as a company already have a good insight into who you want to sell to. This is best illustrated by an example. For example, if you produce mouthpieces for tubas, you can deduce with reasonable accuracy that your customers will be either tuba players, instrument manufacturers or music shops selling tubas.

It won't make sense to target your ads to anyone but those few accounts, or leads. If you had taken the traditional approach, you might start by targeting your campaigns at users who have shown an interest in tube games in some way. This could be Google searches for "learn to play the tuba", or "buy the tuba". It could also be Facebook Ads for people who selected "classical music" as an interest.

But why take this detour if you can start by focusing directly on the prospects you already know are interested in buying your product? If there are only two music retail chains in Denmark that carry the particular tubas you specialise in, this is where an account-based marketing approach will focus. With a relatively large budget and persistence, you will establish contact with these and try to make a sale.

In fact, skilled account marketing will go a step further and not "just" land a sale or maybe even a series of sales, but instead focus on building a lasting relationship with prospects. A collaboration where their wants and needs become the driving force and where together you can make sure both parties grow.

Who is account based marketing for?

It might make sense that account based marketing works well for B2B companies, as it requires a solid budget, strategic planning and much preferably a pre-existing foundation of knowing your prospects. All of these more often characterise B2B trade.

In addition, B2B trade is usually more specific in its products and services. Companies are less likely to buy general products as seen at the end-user, i.e. in B2C trade. This in turn suggests that account based marketing works well for B2B trade.

But if you're doing B2C business and your company is taking care of the above factors, there's no reason why you can't try account-based marketing. Do you have a specific product? Do you have a good budget and a reasonable understanding of your prospects? Then account based marketing could certainly be worth a try.

The benefits of account based marketing

  • There will usually be much less waste in your advertising budget, precisely because all campaigns are laser-focused, so you don't spend money on prospects that don't have high potential. For example, there is little or no initial testing or sampling when talking about account based marketing, as you already know who you are targeting.
  • Advertising efforts can be made incredibly personal. There is a lot of talk about personalised marketing, especially in digital commerce. The more personalised an ad can be, the better. And with account-based marketing, you have a very complete profile of your prospects from the start. You know exactly what they're after. You understand their challenges and what specific factors are at play in their particular area. That's why your campaigns can (and should) be highly personalised.
  • Resources are used efficiently, in terms of time, money and staff. Account based marketing is therefore a brilliant example of the 80/20 rule. You want to focus 80% of your efforts on the 20% of your prospects that have the highest potential.

Account based marketing agency

Because account-based marketing has taken off in recent years, marketing agencies have also emerged that specialise in this form of marketing. If you are thinking of trying out account-based marketing, there may be good reason to get in touch with an account-based marketing agency.

Of course, you come with the basic knowledge of your prospects, but an account-based marketing agency can help you from there to establish contact in the right way, to position your products or services in the best possible way, and to put things in system.

Account based marketing works really well in conjunction with an automated marketing process, where basic tasks are done automatically and without having to spend time on it. For example, sending out emails at specific times.

If you're just curious about account-based marketing and not sure if it's right for you or your business, you should also consider talking to an account-based marketing agency. They will certainly be able to determine for you fairly quickly whether account based marketing will work for you and your product.


Martino Mike d'Apuzzo

Partner & Senior Digital Advisor

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Do you need help with your sales and marketing efforts, or are you considering whether it makes sense for your business to focus on online marketing? Contact Martino d'Apuzzo to discuss your project.

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