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Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing & ABM: What's the difference?

Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing & ABM: What's the difference?

Evan Burns
June 28, 2023

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In today's digital age, marketing strategies have evolved significantly to adapt to changing consumer behavior and the dynamic online landscape. As businesses strive to reach their target audiences effectively, three key marketing approaches have gained prominence: inbound marketing, digital marketing, and account-based marketing (ABM). While these strategies may seem similar at first glance, they possess unique characteristics that set them apart. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of inbound marketing, digital marketing, and ABM, highlighting their differences and helping you determine which approach aligns best with your business objectives.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a pretty broad term. It covers a wide range of marketing activities conducted through digital channels. Basically, any marketing you do through websites, social media, email, etc., is digital marketing. It involves leveraging various online platforms and technologies to promote products or services, generate leads, and drive conversions. Digital marketing includes components such as search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, display advertising, content marketing, email marketing, and mobile marketing.


What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a fundamental strategy within the broader scope of digital marketing. It revolves around the core concept of organically attracting customers by creating and disseminating valuable content, personalized experiences, and establishing long-term relationships. This strategy focuses on leveraging various digital channels to draw prospects in by addressing their pain points and providing relevant solutions. Inbound marketing encompasses activities such as content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), social media engagement, email marketing, and lead nurturing. Here are some of the advantages of using an inbound marketing strategy:

  • Builds credibility and trust through valuable content
  • Establishes long-term relationships with customers
  • Targets a wider audience through organic search and social media reach
  • Cost-effective in the long run by generating qualified leads
  • Aligns with the customer-centric approach of the modern buyer's journey

Related Reading: Should you use inbound marketing for your company?


What is ABM?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach that falls within the realm of digital marketing. It is characterized by its highly targeted nature, focusing on engaging specific accounts or organizations rather than employing a broad approach. ABM entails tailoring marketing efforts to individual accounts, typically those that hold high value or strategic importance, by developing personalized campaigns that address their unique needs. This approach necessitates close collaboration between marketing and sales teams to create customized content, offers, and experiences for the target accounts. Here are some of the advantages of ABM:

  • Increases the effectiveness of marketing efforts by targeting key accounts
  • Enhances personalization and relevance in marketing campaigns
  • Aligns sales and marketing teams for better collaboration and communication
  • Drives higher conversion rates and revenue from targeted accounts
  • Strengthens relationships with high-value customers and fosters loyalty

Expand your knowledge: Learn more about ABM.


Inbound Marketing VS ABM

The key difference between ABM and inbound marketing lies in their target audience. Inbound marketing aims at a wider customer base, focusing on high-quality leads. On the other hand, ABM narrows down its focus to high-value customers and leads that closely resemble the ideal customer profile. Although both strategies prioritize personalization, ABM takes it a step further by targeting specific individuals.

We should mention here that the two strategies aren’t mutually exclusive. You don’t have to pick one or the other. It’s entirely possible to integrate the two approaches into a cohesive marketing strategy, but companies may find one approach more suitable than the other based on their specific needs and objectives.

Inbound marketing and account-based marketing are effective digital marketing strategies that businesses use to reach their marketing goals. Each strategy has its own strengths and focuses on different aspects. Inbound marketing is all about attracting and engaging a larger audience, while digital marketing covers a wide range of channels and tactics. On the other hand, account-based marketing takes a personalized approach, targeting specific accounts. Choosing the right strategy depends on factors like your goals, target audience, resources, and budget. By understanding the unique benefits of each strategy, you can create a killer marketing plan that suits your business needs.

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