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3 Types of Account Based Marketing (ABM) Strategies in 2024

It’s been estimated that 96% of companies consider Account Based Marketing (ABM) as the key driver to increase revenue in B2B sales. ABM enables organizations, such as Reuters, to modify their marketing budgets by focusing on the customers’ likelihood of purchase in order to optimize their marketing strategies and target customers who are more prone to convert. Therefore, this article explains the three types of ABM with real-life examples.

There are three main types of ABM depending on the number of accounts they want to target and the strategic and financial value of the accounts:

  1. One-to-one marketing: Strategic ABM
  2. One-to-few marketing: ABM lite
  3. One-to-many marketing: Programmatic ABM
The Strategic ABM, ABM lite and Programmatic ABM are three different ABM types which can be distinguished in terms of their marketer to account ratio, average accounts, collaboration with the sales department, source of funding, marketing content and top tactics.
Source: ITSMA – Three types of account-based marketing

One-to-One Marketing: Strategic ABM

Strategic ABM targets already existing high-value accounts. The sales, marketing, and executive teams sustain and improve their relations with these customers to direct them to buy more expensive or additional products.

The teams decide on one to five accounts with identifiable, unique needs and they prepare hyper-targeted account marketing plans for these accounts. Hyper-targeted marketing is the practice of reaching out to customers and delivering highly customized messages at times when they are most likely to view it. The marketing activities under hyper-targeted account marketing include creating buyer personas to conduct research. Buyer persona, also known as marketing persona, is a semi-fictional representation of a customer including customer’s goals, personal profile and buyer journey.

Strategic ABM requires the most resources and time as it focuses on a single customer over months, and the financial benefits of implementing strategic ABM are measured over years instead of short periods of time. Therefore, it is recommended for businesses that have a big budget, time, tools, team and high-value existing clients.

Example: GumGum

GumGum is an Artificial Intelligence company that employs machine learning to obtain value from digital content. The company worked for T-mobile which is the mobile communications subsidiary of the German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom AG.

GumGum leveraged strategic marketing by analyzing the social media of T-mobile CEO John Legere and found out that he is a big fan of Batman. The GumGum developed a comic character called T-man, saving the city from lousy phone services with his sidekick, Gums. By utilizing image-recognition marketing technology in the comics, the GumGum helped T-mobile to spread their message.

One-to-Few Marketing: Scale ABM

In this type of ABM strategy, marketers focus on second-tier named accounts. The sales and marketing teams choose five to ten target accounts with similar challenges, goals, and needs.

ABM Lite activities include creating and grouping ideal customer personas, profiles, and segments. Then, teams generate customized content for the targeted group.

ABM Lite is recommended for companies with flexible budgets and the capacity to add extra tools and team members when needed.

Example: TIBCO

TIBCO Software Inc. is an enterprise data company that benefited from scale ABM to provide the most relevant B2B content to customers.

The company provides a customized welcome page to each business account which includes relevant information and messaging prepared directly to target that businesses account. Leveraging scale ABM, TIBCO were able to provide more exposure to their B2B data content without needing to generate new content.

Source: TIBCO content example

One-to-Many Marketing: Programmatic ABM

Programmatic ABM categorizes thousands of accounts considering their business needs, goals, and challenges based on customer demographics, internet browsing activity, ad delivery and geolocation.

To group these accounts, marketing teams use CRM software or marketing automation tools. The teams create customized content to target accounts based on industry (e.g., automotive, manufacturing, or education) or other broad descriptors such as area of expertise, company feature or company size.

Programmatic ABM leverages personalization. Yet, it does not require as much time and financial resources. Therefore, it is recommended for smaller companies with a limited budget.

Example: Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is a Canada-based multinational media conglomerate, and they provide information-enabled software and tools for legal, tax, accounting, trade and compliance professionals. The company has employed different types of ABM effectively. In the case of programmatic ABM, they invited 500+ business accounts to try the product for free for a limited time. This resulted in shortening sales cycles and achieving higher win rate by 95%. 1

Further reading

To explore different account based marketing use cases, case studies, and tools to use, feel free to check our in-depth articles:

If you believe your business will benefit from marketing software, feel free to scroll down our data-driven lists of marketing software and tools.

And let us guide you through the process of choosing the right vendor for your business:

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Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Hazal Şimşek
Hazal is an industry analyst in AIMultiple. She is experienced in market research, quantitative research and data analytics. She received her master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Carlos III of Madrid and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Bilkent University.

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