If you’re in B2B marketing, you know that strategy is essential.
Two of the most popular marketing strategies, content marketing and account-based marketing, offer a ton of benefits, but you may be asking yourself: which one is better?
Okay, it’s a trick question: they both can be incredibly effective. That said, we’ve broken down the benefits and drawbacks of each strategy below…
What it is:
The Content Marketing Institute has a great definition of content marketing:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
At its core, content marketing is all about pulling in prospects who are interested in a niche topic (related to your product and services) by offering them free and useful content, such as whitepapers, blogs, templates, etc.
Its main benefits:
1) Low effort, high reward
When done properly, content marketing is low effort, high reward. Create a piece of content that is popular with a large audience, and Google will do the job of bringing in prospects for you, spreading the reach of your marketing efforts across the world instantly.
Content marketing is also great for establishing authority in an industry. If your content is useful and insightful, the people who consume it will begin to view you as a trusted and credible resource.
3) Content builds over time
Every additional blog post, landing page or eBook you publish just adds to your arsenal of resources, and your credibility with new prospects will continue to go up over time.
1) Hit and miss
Marketers constantly struggle with casting a wide net with their content while still maintaining relevancy with their desired personas. If you’re relying solely on content marketing for lead generation, it will be difficult to reliably predict the quality and quantity of leads coming in each month.
2) It can hurt sales
No, really. If your marketers are pumping out super awesome content for prospects, and then content quality drops significantly as soon as those leads are passed on to sales, your prospects aren’t going to be happy.
3) Saturated market
5 years ago, you could make a huge splash with content marketing, but currently, it’s the standard for marketing efforts. This means that your prospects are getting inundated with free content from every company and angle. It’s no longer as impressive or novel.
What it is:
SiriusDecisions defines account-based marketing as follows:
The strategic approach marketers use to support a defined universe of accounts, including strategic accounts and named accounts…ABM helps to evolve the role of marketing to reflect a stronger alignment with sales objectives and customer needs to deliver better execution and revenue outcomes.
Essentially, account-based marketing focuses on creating content and strategies that are hyper-focused to be relevant and engaging to specific companies that you believe would be ideal customers.
Its main benefits:
1) Better quality leads
Because you’re focusing marketing efforts on specific companies that the sales department has already qualified as good opportunities, the odds of MQLs becoming SQLs increase significantly.
2) Stronger alignment with sales
The trend of aligning sales and marketing into one revenue department is gaining traction fast, and Account-Based Marketing is a great way to make that happen. Sales and marketing teams work together to win deals through consistent and targeted messaging.
3) Hyper targeted efforts
No more generic content that may or may not resonate with prospects. For example, with ABM, you can develop an ad specifically for that company, and then only pay to show that ad to people with that company’s IP address.
1) High risk
If you funnel all of your marketing efforts into a few key accounts, and those accounts don’t pan out, you have nothing to show for your investment.
2) Missed opportunities
While you’re focusing on your dream 100 accounts, what’s happening to all the other possible opportunities? If all of your advertising and content creation budget is going to those accounts, the rest of your marketing efforts will be limited.
3) You have to be 100% on point
With widespread marketing efforts, the odds are likely that your message will resonate with someone. With ABM, if you miss the mark about your persona’s needs, that’s it. No safety net.
There is no doubt in my mind that both account-based marketing and content marketing are essential for B2B marketing success. The best option is to utilize the strengths of both to create synergy. Combine the personalized, targeted strategy of account-based marketing with the quality content you get through content marketing, and you’ll have an unbeatable marketing strategy.
Have you had great success with account-based marketing or content marketing strategies? Let us know in the comments!