More B2B marketers than ever are turning to the powers of account-based marketing (ABM) and incorporating it into their overall efforts. In fact, if it’s executed well, ABM can be the perfect complement to short term lead generation tactics to secure consistent and higher revenue.

The ABM method dates back to the early 90s when it was first cited in the book, “The One-to-One Future”, as the solution for personalized and relevant customer experiences. It wasn’t until 2003, though, that ITSMA officially coined the term account-based marketing.

Since then, the call for personalization in the consumer and business world has dramatically grown, with more people than ever demanding customized buying experiences.


Let’s look at an example.

Say, for instance, that you sell a pricey consulting service to high-end businesses. Instead of marketing to anyone and everyone who might be in need of your offering, ABM means you start by focusing on the accounts that need you the most and have the kind of budget you’re looking for.

It’s then a case of bringing together your marketing and sales efforts and resources to pinpoint specific accounts and engage them in a way that works for them. This creates deeper customer connections, builds trust, and brings in a consistently higher calibre of client.

In fact, in a recent benchmark study, 80% of respondents agreed that ABM drives great ROI than other marketing methods.

Since its debut in the 90s, ABM has since grown into a popular strategy that has three distinct approaches.

The 3 Different Approaches to ABM


1. One-to-One

This refers to the strategy of creating highly customized and personalized marketing resources for specific accounts (or specific businesses).

The process involves thoroughly researching companies and building out long-term strategies to capture their attention, turn them into leads, and eventually have them become loyal customers.

Despite how time-consuming it may seem, this is the most-used ABM approach as it allows marketers to focus on their largest potential customers.

2. One-to-Few

The second kind of ABM approach takes the basic idea of the One-to-One approach, but instead of focusing on a few key customers, it focuses on a slightly larger group of prospects.

This might be prospects that are in a specific vertical, or a number of potential customers that are a similar size and have the kind of budget you’re looking for.

Usually, the One-to-Few approach can be run for between 5 and 15 accounts, all of which have the same pain points that need solving.

A One-to-One campaign might focus on the biggest clothing brand in the US, while a One-to-Few campaign would focus on, say, the top 10 clothing brands in the US. The process usually involves creating slightly-customized content and focuses on both existing customers and potential new accounts.

3. One-to-Many

The final ABM approach taps into the power of personalization but on a much larger scale than the other two approaches.

Ideally, a One-to-Many campaign will target a few hundred accounts and will often incorporate specific automation technology to make the personalization aspect much smoother and quicker.

This kind of approach is often reserved for attracting new prospects.

While these 3 ABM approaches have been around for a while, only about one third of business using ABM are experimenting with more than one type (and only 12% have started to experiment with all 3).

Why You Should Use a Blended ABM Approach


If you’re still not completely sold on ABM, you’re not alone. It might seem like there’s a lot of investment (both monetary and time-wise) involved, but the rewards can be incredible if it’s done right.

Failing to deliver personalized experiences for buyers today might mean you miss out on some high-ticket customers, and you could even risk future revenue.

But, more than that, competition in the business world is fiercer than ever with a huge number of brands competing in every vertical.

Because of this, B2B buyers are increasingly wanting personalized solutions that are customized specifically for their own needs and pain points.

In order to successfully do this, you need to know the ins and outs of their industry as well as their individual business.

Of course, not everyone can customize solutions and processes for every single account, which is why a blended ABM approach works best. As well as targeting a few key players in your industry in a One-to-One approach, you can also run a segmented One-to-Few or One-to-Many campaign to broaden your reach and expand your potential pool of prospects.

Let’s go back to the clothing brands for a moment.

A blended ABM approach would see marketers targeting the top clothing brand in the US with a highly-customized One-to-One approach, the top 10 clothing brands with a One-to-Few approach, and a further 200 lesser-known clothing brands with a One-to-Many approach.

Get Started With ABM

As more and more buyers are looking for personalized experiences with brands, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve or face losing big-name customers to your competitors.

Creating a blended ABM strategy means you can target a range of prospects while focusing your energy on the biggest players in your industry. Don’t know where to start with your ABM strategy? Find out how we can help.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Account-Based Marketing

Key Steps to Building a Successful Account-Based Marketing Strategy