In B2B the buzzword of 2017 is without a doubt account-based marketing. In the last couple of years, it was all about inbound marketing. Does this mean we are shifting from inbound to account-based marketing and bin those carefully built buyer personas?
Let’s start by explaining the differences. Inbound marketing is a marketing approach focusing on attracting leads or customers through relevant content. Potential customers will find you through the channel of their choice. This could be search engines, blogs or social media. By creating content that your potential customers are looking for you create a natural flow of inbound traffic. It is essential to understand your buyer personas and their buyer journeys, to understand what kind of content your buyer is looking for.
A buyer persona tells you what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they weigh their options to address a problem that your company resolves. When you have insights into what your buyers think about doing business with you, you have the knowledge you need to align your marketing decisions with your buyer’s expectations. (Buyer Persona Institute. What is a Buyer Persona)
Account-based marketing is a B2B engaging strategy in which a defined set of companies is targeted with tailor-made campaigns and messaging.
First of all, this approach needs tight alignment between the sales and marketing team to be successful from start until finish. Usually you start by selecting the target accounts, identify the relevant buyers within these accounts and develop deep insights into business drivers, current challenges, and buying triggers regarding each individual account.
These insights give the marketing team the opportunity to deliver personalized content for each specific account. Account-based marketing can be seen as an extremely focused, almost microscopic way, as well as a very strategic way of inbound and outbound marketing.
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So, what is the difference between relevant content built for your buyer personas and personalized content for your targeted accounts?
Personalized content is even more specific and more personalized than regular content. In account-based marketing you identify the ‘company persona’ and the buyer persona. Your content for this this account-based marketing persona is specific and relevant on both buyer persona and company persona level which makes it even more focused.
Buyer personas and account-based marketing should be used together.
You can see it as two sides of a coin that fit perfectly together. By keeping your account-based marketing side in line with the buyer persona side you will get the best possible combination to attract and nurture your potential customers with messaging and content that fit their needs.
Need help building your buyer personas and start with account-based marketing? Contact me or one of my colleagues!