Strategising on board

Account Based Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: Which is Right for Your Agency?

Jaime Escott - 3 Min Read

Strategising on board

Qualified leads are derived from a strong marketing strategy; but with two predominant (and often opposing) marketing strategies to consider, it can be hard to know which is right for your agency.

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is an approach that targets decision-makers within specific organizations through direct and personalized communication. Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, is a broad approach to attract consumers to products or services via content creation. With such clear distinctions, it’s common for companies to use one strategy over the other.

How They Differ

Account Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM involves targeting predetermined accounts with tailored marketing efforts. Your energy and attention are fixated on high-level accounts, meaning you can reach stakeholders in a more direct way. Your strategy must include a great deal of custom content via outbound channels, such as email and targeted advertising, that these stakeholders can relate to.

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

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing focuses on attracting a wide range of consumers through relevant, high-quality content offers. The defined Inbound methodology – attract, convert, close, delight – ensures that marketers are catering to their audiences by offering them the right content at the right time. This method qualifies leads through repeated offers, forms, and emails, which move them further down the conversion funnel.

Inbound marketing is a beneficial method for companies in a wide market with broad range of target personas. Salesforce, GE, and Starbucks are just a few of many large companies that implement Inbound because of their vast audience and large scope of products and services. With Inbound, companies are able to reach an extended audience and generate new interest on a greater 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 don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, combining the two methods can often yield powerful results.

At the core, ABM and Inbound Marketing both aim to target specific audiences with valuable content that converts. Therefore, combining them can give your agency more power to influence. You’ll have the opportunity to pinpoint a more ideal audience and understand their thought processes, while providing them with relevant and high-quality content that resonates.

One example of using these techniques together is to generate new leads via Inbound, then identify a few key accounts within that pool and serve them ABM-style content. This blend will allow your company to expand your reach to new leads, but also enhance the content and humanize the experience for those accounts that look like a good fit. To execute this effectively, your company (no matter the size) needs to build a strong content strategy and a library of high-level content that can be customized when necessary.

Related: The 4 Key Components of Strong Content Marketing

There are countless ABM and Inbound combinations similar to this one that can yield powerful results. It’s important to test and iterate to find what mixture works best for your company.


It can be challenging to decide on a marketing strategy for your agency. While there are pros and cons to both Inbound and Account Based Marketing, focusing on one method to the exclusion of the other can hinder results. By using a healthy mix of both techniques, you can build a marketing strategy that pushes the boundaries of traditional and caters to your company’s business goals.