Account-based marketing (ABM) is not a one-track course; you have several strategy choices (or routes), each depending on your company’s unique scenario, available resources, and the makeup of your target accounts. Your choice of tactic is a decision you must make as you determine your initial campaign goals and approach.
Why different tactics, though? Isn’t the nature of ABM strictly targeted, personalized marketing to high-priority, high-value accounts? Yes, but within that core idea are a few different approaches to ABM that should be carefully weighed in order to meet your goals and result in the best possible ROI. One-to-one and one-to-few ABM are two of options with the highest return; there’s also an option for blending tactics that many B2B companies use to generate success.
When to Use 1:1 ABM
The first tactic to explore is one-to-one ABM. In shorthand, that’s 1:1 ABM, but it’s also sometimes called Strategic ABM.
This highly focused strategy involves bespoke content and messaging targeted to a small number of accounts. It’s typically only used to engage five to 10 accounts (or fewer), so you’re essentially creating a campaign for a target of one. Technically, it’s a few individuals, since each account usually includes an average of three to five decision-makers, but you get the idea. As you might imagine, this specialized targeting of a very small number of accounts will often yield great results, such as improved engagement, deeper relationships, and increased loyalty. However, 1:1 ABM requires substantial time, money, and resources to pull it off the right way.
Here are few scenarios when it’s wise to employ 1:1 ABM strategies:
You have (or can get) the data: It’s vital to have the resources to help you gather the detailed insights you need to execute a successful 1:1 ABM strategy, including where they are in the sales funnel and how likely they are to buy. Intent data and visitor intelligence are helpful tools to help you gain those insights.
You have a differentiator that can cut through the noise: If the market you are targeting is highly saturated and extremely competitive, a clear differentiator will help you stand out. Whether an important innovation or a new industry analyst endorsement, anything that helps you shine will cut through the clutter.
You aren’t strapped for resources: If you choose to execute a 1:1 ABM strategy internally, the many tactics and deliverables needed will require an entire team focused on the campaign. This includes graphic designers, copywriters, SEO and PPC experts, marketing operations and paid social analysts, and marketing automation coordinators.
When to Use 1:Few ABM
When targeting small groups of target accounts rather than individual accounts, you’ve chosen the one-to-few ABM flavor, or 1:few ABM; some call it account segmentation or ABM Lite. While still delivering personalized content, you’re scaling up to target more accounts with similar profiles and industries with 1:few ABM.
This ABM strategy may be your best fit if:
You need to reach a larger group of targeted accounts more efficiently: The 1:few ABM strategy allows you to scale your approach methodically.
You need to impact several targets at each account: If a profitable sale depends on three to five decision-makers at each account, a 1:few ABM program could be your best choice.
Your groupings make sense: Whether by industry, job title, or even pain points, make sure accounts are clustered so that optimized content gets the desired engagement from each group.
Again, you have uber resources: It’s a myth that you don’t need as many resources for 1:few ABM compared to 1:1 ABM. While there are scale efficiencies, there is still a lot of work to do in order to reach and engage your target account list.
When to Use a Mix of Both 1:1 and 1:Few ABM Tactics
Choosing to blend each approach depends greatly on the nature of your intended targets. If you have a mix of accounts that are more suited for 1:1 ABM with another subset of accounts that would benefit from scaling up, or who have more stakeholders that you need to get buy-in, then this may be the right strategy for your company.
ServiceNow used a blended ABM approach, and it helped increase their engagement rates an average of 27%. They used entirely customized content for each account (1:1 ABM) while also developing industry-specific content with roughly 20-30% customization for a grouping of target accounts (1:few ABM) to achieve those results. They also cited this approach as giving them the ability to go to market more quickly while still delivering personalized content that resonated with their target audiences.
You could also look at this blended approach as a two-layer strategy. The first layer, 1:1 ABM, could apply to marque accounts where you develop highly customized content that resonates with those select buyers. For the second layer of 1:few ABM, your account groupings receive semi-customized content — still effective, but not quite as personalized due to its grouping or scaled nature.
Whether you choose 1:1 ABM, 1:few ABM, or a blend of both approaches, these strategies can help your company land B2B buyers through customized marketing tactics that can help you land new clients and increase revenues.