Inbound vs. Account-Based Marketing: Which One Is Best for You?

Vigil Viswanathan
June 5, 2022

Many companies assume website traffic to be the ultimate objective for expanding their businesses. However, it is one of the initial goals of a larger marketing strategy, the core objective of any marketing approach is to drive high-converting campaigns. Ineffective marketing strategies can increase brand visibility but may fall short of converting leads.

In B2B marketing, inbound and account-based marketing approaches are preferred among most marketers for their effectiveness and ability to drive conversions. However, when you are dealing with high-value prospects, the requirement to understand which one might be better and more suitable for your marketing strategy is crucial; along with evaluating the possibility of the strategies co-existing to gain a better understanding of which of the two strategies is superior, or to combine the strategies in an existing marketing campaign.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a strategic business methodology that involves creating relevant and valuable content in order to attract customers by aligning with the requirements of a business's target audience. - Hubspot

This type of marketing approach usually takes place at the top of the marketing funnel in order to increase brand preference and eventually prospects and revenue. Inbound marketing consists of a range of mediums, including blogs, SEO, content marketing, and social media, to name a few. However, inbound marketing, unlike outbound marketing, focuses more on visibility in order to attract the target market and build a relationship with potential buyers, eventually converting them into customers.

There are three core aspects of an inbound marketing strategy: 

Attracting the target audience: an inbound marketing strategy enables businesses to attract the appropriate people by providing valuable and relevant content that makes them trusted advisors in a specific niche.

Engaging with relevant content: This marketing strategy involves aligning solutions with the specific pain points and preferences of the target audience that can be easily converted.

Get referrals through customer success: an inbound strategy enables you to provide support and help to your customers in order to find success, which will result in them sharing their experience with potential customers. This facilitates building business momentum, which is why this strategy acts as a strong foundation for your long-term business strategy.

Inbound marketing can provide solutions to diverse business shortcomings. For example, this type of marketing approach is valuable for increasing brand awareness. Implementing this approach into your marketing strategy may organically enhance the brand's visibility while focusing on the right content and marketing messages in the right marketing channels. Inbound marketing can also be effective as a long-term investment by generating more potential customers for businesses with limited resources.

Inbound marketing consists of a range of different content categories, including blog posts, e-books, videos, infographics, and news articles, to name a few. The effectiveness of this type of marketing approach lies in the demand and relevancy of the customer's requirements at that very moment. Rather than approaching those directly, through inbound marketing, businesses are putting relevant and valuable content in front of the target audience in order to engage and eventually convert them into customers.

By attracting the right target audience by putting relevant content out there, businesses get the opportunity to get leads and retain loyal customers. Integrating automation with inbound marketing strategies also helps in achieving new leads and potential customers through the purchasing pipeline. Implementing this marketing technique into an existing marketing strategy goes beyond sales and revolves more around building a long-term relationship with the customers. Owing to the inexpensiveness of this approach, inbound marketing is often preferred by small and medium-sized businesses.

Account-based marketing differs from inbound marketing in many ways, but the core goal of both strategies is the same: to target specific audiences by delivering relevant and valuable content that aids in conversion. A considerable marketing strategy generates high-quality leads; yet, with two popular yet frequently competing marketing techniques to evaluate, it can be difficult to tell which is best for your business. ABM and inbound marketing, on the other hand, do not have to be mutually contradictory. Account-based marketing and inbound marketing could be used jointly in the majority of successful initiatives. It all boils down to what is most effective for a B2B company.

Account-based marketing

ABM is the practice of tailoring marketing activities to specified accounts. Since you're focusing your efforts and time on high-level accounts, you'll be able to communicate with stakeholders more directly. ABM is a B2B growth discipline that relies on your ideal existing clients. To nurture prospects and existing customers into a purchase, it employs a combination of tailored messaging.

To generate more profit, this marketing strategy is tactical and concentrates on a limited set of potential clients and critical accounts – via new or repeat purchases. It also encourages the development of long-term relationships. Marketing automation, customer relationship management, and AI-powered customer information platforms are some of the technologies utilised in ABM tactics.

It's easy to determine which accounts you would like to engage with and how to approach them after you've identified your ideal persona. As a result, businesses that utilise ABM find it to be a successful strategy, to not only acquire additional targeted clients but also grow and keep existing relationships, resulting in increased lead generation.

The first stage in an account-based marketing strategy is to determine your target accounts and then select the proper accounts to approach with a personalized, conversational message that addresses their specific problems or offers them a unique opportunity. You'll need to do a lot of research on each account, as well as any prospective decision-makers or administrators. This enables you to deliver individual communications and differentiate yourself from other competitors who are simply providing elevator pitches.

Inbound marketing helps to fill your funnel at all levels. Not every customer will be a suitable fit for your products or services. However, the more tailored your content is to your consumer profile, the better your organic lead generation will be. Rather than tracking the degree of engagement of an individual prospect in the buyer's journey, ABM allows you to track the level of engagement of a whole account. You may then watch the number of leads in each account and their behaviour, allowing you to identify which accounts are most important. In other words, you're working on a discussion with a corporation rather than a certain employment function.

It enables you to have a holistic view of the account and then devise a strategy that appeals to them. It may help you coordinate interactions and send personalised messages to all account users, thereby accelerating the sales process by identifying each person's specific problems.

Combination of ABM and Inbound marketing

While some businesses may discover that one marketing method fits their company model more than the other, ABM and Inbound do not have to be mutually incompatible. Combining the two strategies may, in fact, frequently produce impressive results.

At their foundation, ABM and Inbound marketing both attempt to provide useful content that converts to targeted audiences. As a result, merging them can increase your agency's business growth. You'll be able to target a more perfect audience and gain a better understanding of their thought processes, all while offering them relevant, and high-quality material that speaks to them. There are a plethora of ABM and inbound synergies that can produce comparable outcomes to this one. It's critical to experiment and repeat until you discover the right combination for your business.


When it comes to an effective B2B marketing approach, choosing the right strategy can influence the overall revenue and conversion rate. While these two approaches may differ from each other in terms of perks and drawbacks, choosing a single approach may not yield the optimum results you are looking for. At times, combining the two strategies can prevent any hindrance in the results and can offer a healthy synergy that caters to the growth of the business.

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