What is the Difference Between Marketing and Account-Based Marketing?

Written by Joe Wanninger / October 12, 2023 / 6 Minute Read
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Traditional marketing targets a broad audience using diverse channels, prioritizing brand recognition. In contrast, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) zeroes in on high-value accounts, emphasizing personalized messaging and revenue growth. Both strategies, when integrated, can amplify engagement, conversion, and revenue outcomes


Marketing strategies have evolved over time, and while traditional marketing still holds its place in the industry, account-based marketing (ABM) has emerged as a powerful approach for B2B companies.

But what is the difference between marketing and account-based marketing? This blog post will delve into the intricacies of traditional marketing and ABM, exploring their advantages, applications, and how they can be integrated to create a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways


  • Traditional marketing uses broad reach and one-sided communication to target a wide audience, while Account-Based Marketing (ABM) focuses on high-value accounts with personalized messaging.


  • Traditional marketing offers brand recognition, while ABM enables companies to drive revenue growth through customer retention.


  • Integrating traditional and ABM strategies can increase engagement, conversion, and revenue growth. Different metrics for each approach measure success.

Understanding Traditional Marketing

The philosophy behind traditional marketing is casting a wide net. Companies utilize various channels like print, radio, and television advertising to reach a broad audience with their marketing messages. This one-way communication approach allows companies to control the message that is being sent to the audience, who may not always have the opportunity to respond directly.

a copper megaphone, symbolizing traditional marketing

As the world continues to become increasingly digital, the expenses of traditional marketing methods, such as television and radio advertising, are growing while the outcomes, like reaching potential customers, are diminishing.

Although the effectiveness of traditional marketing may be decreasing, it still offers several advantages. Its wide reach allows companies to target a diverse audience simultaneously, making it an ideal method for building brand awareness and attracting new customers.

Additionally, traditional marketing techniques are well-known and familiar, which can contribute to their overall effectiveness.

Understanding Account-Based Marketing

As opposed to the broad approach of traditional marketing, account-based marketing hones in on select high-value accounts, focusing on building relationships and driving revenue growth.

ABM is particularly relevant in B2B scenarios, where companies target specific accounts with a personalized marketing approach, streamlining the sales process. This targeted strategy allows for a more efficient use of marketing resources, leading to more personalized web engagements and a focus on key accounts that can significantly contribute to a company’s revenue growth.

ABM is best suited for companies whose target market consists of:

  • specific accounts
  • those looking to cultivate relationships with key decision-makers
  • businesses offering high-value products or services to other organizations

Focusing on specific accounts and customizing marketing strategies, ABM enables companies to maximize their reach and potential customer engagement, while efficiently utilizing resources.

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Key Differences Between Traditional Marketing and ABM

The primary distinction between traditional marketing and ABM lies in their audience targeting approach. Traditional marketing involves mass reach and one-sided communication, aiming at a broad audience through diverse channels such as print, TV, and radio advertising.

On the other hand, ABM focuses on particular high-value accounts and employs a personalized marketing approach.

This difference in audience targeting translates to different metrics used to measure the success of each approach, with traditional marketing campaigns typically evaluated based on metrics such as reach, impressions, and clicks, while ABM emphasizes account engagement, pipeline impact, and revenue generated from specific accounts.

differences between abm and traditional marketing

Another key difference between traditional marketing and ABM is the level of alignment between sales and marketing teams.

In ABM, sales and marketing teams collaborate to identify key accounts and create tailored campaigns for those accounts.

In contrast, sales and marketing teams in traditional marketing may have distinct objectives and plans that are not always in sync, leading to potential inefficiencies and miscommunication.

Advantages of Traditional Marketing

Even with the surge of digital marketing, several advantages still emanate from traditional marketing. Some of these advantages include:

  • Broad reach: Traditional marketing enables companies to target a wide range of potential customers simultaneously.
  • Familiarity: Traditional methods, such as print advertising and direct mail, can lead to increased effectiveness due to their familiarity with consumers.
  • Control over message: Traditional marketing provides companies with greater control over their message and its delivery, allowing them to maintain a consistent brand image across various channels.

Traditional marketing can still immensely benefit a digital marketing campaign. It can be used to drive traffic to your website or social media page through a call to action. This integration of traditional and digital marketing, along with social media marketing, helps companies to reach specific audiences and create a more comprehensive marketing strategy.

Advantages of Account-Based Marketing

Several benefits arise from account-based marketing, such as:

  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Personalization
  • Elevated return on investment (ROI)
  • Superior sales and marketing alignment
  • Improved customer experience

By focusing on select high-value accounts, companies can target their marketing resources more effectively, resulting in optimized marketing efforts and increased ROI.

Personalized messaging and customized marketing campaigns tailored to the needs of specific accounts lead to a more engaging and relevant customer experience, fostering stronger relationships and ultimately driving revenue growth.

ABM also emphasizes the importance of sales and marketing alignment. By working together to identify key accounts and develop targeted campaigns, sales and marketing teams can ensure a coordinated approach to account engagement, leading to greater success in reaching and converting high-value accounts.

When to Use Traditional Marketing

When the objective is to build brand recognition, aim at specific demographics, and bolster digital marketing efforts, traditional marketing is a fitting choice. By employing traditional marketing methods like print, radio, and television advertising, companies can reach a wider audience and build brand awareness.

Companies with a substantial advertising budget can also take advantage of traditional marketing materials to make a lasting impression on potential customers.

In addition, traditional marketing can be used to support digital marketing efforts, such as driving traffic to a website or social media page through a call to action. By combining traditional marketing with digital marketing strategies, companies can create a more comprehensive and effective marketing approach, catering to various audience segments.

When to Use Account-Based Marketing

B2B companies focusing on high-value accounts with intricate, complex, or long sales cycle products/services and aiming to enhance customer retention find account-based marketing to be a suitable strategy. In these scenarios, ABM enables companies to:

  • Concentrate their marketing resources on specific target accounts, ensuring a more efficient and effective use of resources
  • Synchronize sales and marketing efforts
  • Better engage with key accounts
  • Ultimately drive revenue growth

ABM can also be beneficial for companies aiming to reach high-value accounts with personalized marketing efforts, such as customized email campaigns, landing pages, and in-person meetings. By targeting specific accounts and tailoring marketing efforts accordingly, ABM allows companies to build strong relationships with key decision-makers, leading to increased customer retention and loyalty.

Integrating Traditional Marketing and ABM

Optimizing resources and efforts in Account-Based Marketing guarantees judicious utilization of budget and team collaboration, resulting in quality engagements and improved ROI. ABM facilitates the sales cycle by concentrating efforts on key target accounts of value, thus optimizing time and resources.

ABM automation facilitates businesses to target key customers with a tailored approach to progress them through the sales process. By streamlining the nurturing process for tailored messaging that caters to the specific requirements of targeted businesses, ABM ensures resource efficiency.

Essentially, streamlining resources and efforts in ABM not only amplifies the effect of your marketing budget, but also fosters enhanced engagement, leading to a higher return on investment for your organization.

Aligning Sales and Marketing Teams for ABM Success

For ABM to succeed, sales and marketing teams must align, guaranteeing a coordinated strategy in targeting and engaging high-value accounts. By working together to identify key accounts, develop tailored campaigns, and interact with key decision-makers, sales and marketing teams can optimize their efforts and achieve better results.

Utilizing customer data platforms and CRM systems can further enhance this alignment, enabling sales and marketing teams to gain insights into the needs of target accounts and craft highly-personalized messaging and offers.

The collaboration between sales and marketing teams is not only essential for ABM success but also for fostering a culture of teamwork and shared goals within the organization. By aligning sales and marketing efforts, companies can create a more cohesive and efficient marketing strategy, ultimately leading to increased customer engagement, conversion, and revenue growth.

Measuring the Success of Traditional Marketing vs. ABM

Success measurement for traditional marketing and ABM relies on different metrics, with traditional marketing focusing on reach and brand awareness, while ABM emphasizes engagement, conversion, and revenue growth.

Traditional marketing campaigns are typically evaluated based on metrics such as reach, impressions, and clicks, reflecting the broad audience targeted by these efforts.

In contrast, ABM focuses on more specific metrics, such as account engagement, pipeline impact, and revenue generated from specific accounts, reflecting the tailored and personalized approach of this marketing strategy.

By understanding the distinct metrics used to measure the success of traditional marketing and ABM, companies can better assess the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and make data-driven decisions to optimize their marketing strategies.

This understanding can help businesses identify areas of improvement, allocate resources more effectively, and ultimately drive revenue growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Inbound marketing targets a broader customer base, whereas account-based marketing is more personalized and specifically targets leads that are similar to their ideal customers. Both strategies prioritize personalization, but ABM puts it front and center.

ABM takes a highly targeted and personalized approach that focuses on specific accounts, whereas traditional B2B marketing targets a wider audience with a less customized methodology. ABM also has marketers and salespeople collaborating on a shared strategy from the start, rather than having a linear handoff of leads from marketing to sales.

Traditional marketing offers advantages such as wide reach, familiarity, control over messaging, targeted audience, and tangibility.

Account-based marketing is an ideal solution for B2B companies targeting large accounts with complex products or services and aiming to increase customer retention.