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B2B marketing: content marketing versus account based-marketing

digital marketing trends

With the coming of the golden age of digital marketing, companies now seek ways to attract more customers and at the same time build long and lasting relationships with them.

In the digital marketing world, specifically in B2B, there has been a long-standing debate on which one does the job better: Content Marketing or Account Based Marketing.

In this article, we will aim to deconstruct and understand the two different digital marketing approaches by exploring their respective pros and cons to answer which one is indeed better. By grasping their essence and endeavouring to comprehend their core purposes, we will hopefully be able to decide which one is more fitting to our companies’ needs.

Content Marketing

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of this digital marketing approach, we must first understand what it is. What is Content Marketing? According to the definition set forth by the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” In layman’s terms, content marketing is a strategy based on creating content to influence the customers into eventually buying what the company is selling — products or services.

The appeal of content marketing lies in the fact that it can be used in almost every channel whether it be on print, online, in-person, mobile or through social media. Moreover, there is generally no time limit on when it can be utilized as a digital marketing strategy. It can be used at any and/or all phases of the selling and buying undertaking.

Advantages:

1) Helps Build Audience Confidence

The people who read and find your content useful and informative will start to create an impression that your brand is a credible and trustworthy one. Publishing insightful and well-researched articles will help build authority with your target audience. Once they are confident in your content, they will be more likely to buy your products and/or use your services.

2) Cheap and Affordable

Generally, there is no cost for media placement. The content may be outsourced or done in house. It is a relatively cheap and affordable way to advertise and promote your brand.

3) Reaches People Who Avoid Traditional Advertisements

Since you publish informative and insightful content, you are able to reach audiences who generally avoid ads. Some people use ad blockers either because it annoys them or because they have more important things to spend their time on than reading ads.

Disadvantages:

1) Time Consuming

If you want immediate results, this may not be the digital marketing approach for you. It takes time and patience to see if the strategy works for your business. It involves a long process of data analysis and statistical scrutiny. It may either be a hit or a miss.

2) The Market is Saturated

Since this approach is one of the oldest and most commonly-used digital marketing techniques, the idea is no longer novel nor impressive. Competition can be tough, as many companies also put in their best effort to be able to attract buyers. Therefore it can be increasingly difficult to think of ingenious and new ways to attract customers as all popular ideas soon become cliche once they hit the digital market.

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing, as defined by Engagio CEO Jon Miller, is “a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.” Simply put, this account-based marketing strategy also known as key-account targeting, engages in a more personalized approach by creating and sending messages that are tailored just for the consumption of their target consumers.

Advantages:

1) High Caliber Leads

Since this approach is concentrated on specific companies that have already been classified as ‘good opportunities’, the chances of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) of becoming sales qualified leads (SQLs) increase remarkably.

2) Helps Maximize ROI

According a 2014 ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey, “Nearly all B2B solution providers that measure Account Based Marketing (ABM) ROI find that ABM delivers higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.” This means that ABM allows B2B marketers to more efficiently use their efforts to attract their specific targeted audience.

3) More In Line With Sales

Through steady and earmarked messaging, the potential of sales is increased by a notch. This is a better prediction of how effective and resonating your marketing and sales efforts are because of the collaboration of both the marketing and the sales teams.

4) Specifically Targets Interested Audiences

Since it is focused in a specifically determined audience, the content will most definitely resonate with the prospects. Less or no generic content will be produced that will just go to waste.

Disadvantages:

1) Labor-intensive

You will need to identify the right approach in messaging, the right inflection and from there, , strive to produce the appropriate content to maintain the business relationship. This goes for each and every one of the accounts you target with this approach.

2) Decreased Target Audience

Since this approach tends to be more specific, the audience is pretty much limited. By that, you can have missed opportunities with other prospects.

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B2B marketing: content marketing versus account based-marketing

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