8 Ways ABM Content Strategy Differs from Traditional Demand-Gen

By Melanie Medina

Professional using the web

Executing a successful account-based marketing campaign requires a lot of moving pieces: defining buyer personas, selecting target accounts, understanding which roles are on the buying committee within these accounts and creating personalized buying experiences for them.

To engage and nurture buyers through the buying journey, figuring out the right content pieces for your ABM campaigns is critical. This is where the art and science, or data, of content selection and personalization comes in. 

In this blog post, I’ll cover how to choose content for an ABM campaign and how to tailor it for ABM campaigns so that it drives engagement with buyers in your target accounts, including: 

  • How ABM content strategy differs from traditional demand gen content strategy
  • How to use different types of content pieces in an ABM campaign
  • Monitoring early engagement with your ABM content

8 Ways ABM Content Strategy Differs From Traditional Demand Gen Content Strategy

With an ABM campaign, you’ll use the same types of content that you would in a traditional demand-gen campaign. The difference lies primarily in the approach and level of customization. 

1. Targeting and Personalization

Demand generation. This approach often uses broader targeting strategies. The content is designed to appeal to a broad audience, aiming to generate interest and leads across various segments. It’s more about casting a wide net to capture as many leads as possible.

ABM. Content in ABM campaigns is highly personalized and targeted. It’s tailored to address the specific needs, challenges and interests of each targeted account or decision-maker within the account. This requires a deep understanding of the account’s business environment, goals and pain points.

2. Content Strategy and Focus

Demand generation. The content here often focuses on general industry issues, trends and solutions, aiming to educate and engage potential buyers at different stages of the sales funnel. It’s more about brand awareness and lead nurturing on a broad scale.

ABM. ABM content is more strategic and focuses on creating a customized experience. It often includes personalized messages, tailored solutions and content that speaks directly to the unique context of the target account. The goal is to build a deeper relationship and directly address how your solutions align with their specific needs.

3. Type and Format of Content

Demand generation. This might include blog posts, white papers, infographics and webinars that are designed for mass consumption. The content is informative and educational but not specifically tailored to individual accounts.

ABM. In ABM, the content often takes the form of personalized emails, customized case studies, account-specific presentations and personalized videos. This content is crafted to demonstrate how your solutions or services align precisely with the target account’s business strategy and goals.

4. Sales Alignment

Demand generation. Sales teams often follow up on leads generated from broad content strategies without a deep personalization strategy in the initial stages.

ABM. There’s a closer alignment between sales and marketing teams in creating and deploying ABM content. This is because of the need for a deep understanding of each target account, requiring a collaborative effort for maximum impact.

5. Measurement of Success

Demand generation. Success metrics are often based on the number of leads generated, website traffic and overall engagement levels.

ABM. Success is measured by the depth of engagement within specific accounts, progress in account relationships and, ultimately, the impact on sales within those targeted accounts.

6. Point Along the Buyer’s Journey

Demand generation. Because you’re often starting higher in the funnel, you’ll need plenty of content to nurture leads through all stages of the buyer’s journey, including awareness, consideration and decision-making.

ABM. Because you’re targeting such a specific pain point for your target accounts, the content will be a bit more concentrated toward the consideration or decision-making stages (or bottom of the funnel, BOFU).

7. The Lead Writer

Demand generation. Your content team, be it internal or external, usually takes the lead-writer role for demand generation content and involves subject matter experts to validate the content.

ABM. Someone from the customer success or product development team often takes the lead on drafting ABM content. This is because customer success and product development teams are much closer to your accounts’ pain points and how to solve them. That’s not to say your content writer doesn’t have a role here. For example, they may offer an outline that the customer success leader writes to, or they may offer a heavy edit or format the writing in a way that’s easy to read. 

8. Content Distribution

Demand generation. Here, you’re distributing content through broader channels such as your company website, social media, email newsletters and industry publications, aiming to reach as large an audience as possible.

ABM. Content distribution is more direct and targeted. Your sales team could share the content in personalized emails, during one-on-one meetings or as part of a tailored content package presented to decision-makers within the account.

If you’re using account-based marketing tools such as Terminus or 6sense, you can display targeted ads to identified accounts. The ad messaging would be highly specific to the pain point you’re solving and point to content you’ve selected for this campaign.

How to Use Different Types of Content in an ABM Campaign

If you’ve landed on this blog post, you probably don’t need a definition of different content types. Instead, here’s a list of how you might use the content pieces in an ABM campaign.

Blog posts. Blog posts for an ABM campaign are laser-focused on a specific pain point that buyers in your target accounts are facing. While a blog post for a traditional demand gen campaign may cover a broad industry topic or issue, blog posts for ABM campaigns zero in on specific jobs to be done and how you can help solve them for your customers. 

A full-fledged ABM campaign will likely include multiple blog posts on a single pain point. To generate ideas, think of all the different personas within your target accounts and consider writing a blog post specific to each of their perspectives. Or, think of the various value propositions your solution offers and write a blog post specific to each value prop. 

White papers. White papers require quite an investment. They’re generally 2,000-plus words and, given the resources you’re pouring into them, should probably be written to appeal to a large audience. However, they can be incredibly useful in an ABM campaign if you can craft an email message that’s personalized to your ABM target accounts and explain in just a few words how the white paper topic relates to their pain point. 

When you distribute the white paper via an email or LinkedIn direct message, direct readers to specific sections of the whitepaper to help them navigate more quickly to the sections that will be most relevant to them.

E-books or buyers’ guides. While white papers are generally dense and text-heavy, an ebook has less text, lots of visual points of entry and is easy to skim through. Similarly, a buyer’s guide offers readers considerations that a buyer needs to think through as they make a purchase. If you’re using these for an ABM campaign, make sure they’re highly personalized to your target accounts.

Infographics. For ABM, infographics should be tailored to the specific interests and needs of your target accounts. This could involve customizing the data, examples and even the design elements to resonate with the specific company or industry of the target account. 

Infographics should also highlight insights, solutions or value propositions that directly address the challenges or goals of the target accounts and be crafted to demonstrate a deep understanding of the accounts’ business challenges.

Case studies. You’re probably starting to get the picture. A case study for an ABM campaign should closely mirror the target account’s situation. You may even create a new, hypothetical case study that shows how your solution, if deployed in the target account’s environment, would deliver value. 

Landing page. With all the content you’ve selected for this campaign, consider creating a landing page “hub” that links out to these content pieces. You’d include a collection of blog posts, white papers, how-to demos and infographics related to the topic of your ABM campaign. Any personalized emails, social media posts and LinkedIn direct messages associated with your ABM campaign would point to this page. 

Pathfactory and Uberflip are great third-party solutions for creating these types of custom content experiences. If you don’t have the budget for these tools, creating a standalone page on your website dedicated to the campaign can do the trick.

The list of content types goes on and on. From pre-recorded demos to videos to webinars, to name a few. As long as they’re highly customized for your target accounts, they’re fair game for an ABM campaign.

Monitoring Early Engagement in Your ABM Campaign

Another difference in ABM marketing vs. traditional demand gen campaigns is what to look for in the metrics and performance. With demand generation, you’re playing the long game: bringing in colder leads that you’ll nurture through the buying journey over many months or even years, depending on how long your sales cycles are. 

From a metrics perspective, you should be watching impressions, conversions, sign-ups and how quickly leads progress from lead to MQL to SQL to opportunity. These accounts slowly simmer over a long period of time.

With ABM, you’re intentionally looking to engage target accounts that are already educated on a topic and know they have a specific challenge to solve. Pay close attention to early engagement with your ABM content because if you’re not seeing traction quickly, you may want to pivot your content strategy.

On the other hand, if you see high engagement early in the process, that can give you ideas for additional content you may need to add to your mix.

By choosing the right content and highly personalizing it to your accounts, you’re well on your way to launching an ABM campaign that will resonate with your target accounts and drive engagement. 

Melanie Medina

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