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ABM vs Demand Generation: How the Two Strategies Differ (and Work Together)

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Apr 18, 2022

Nicole Hanson

Demand generation or account-based marketing (ABM)? While these two strategies differ, that doesn’t mean you have to choose one over the other. In fact, demand generation and ABM work quite well together to support your overall marketing funnel. A broad demand gen approach works to get you a higher volume of top-of-funnel leads, while your targeted ABM strategy will give you well-qualified, middle-of-funnel leads—both of which are important in meeting your goals and driving revenue for your business.

Let’s explore the key differences between ABM and demand generation and how the two strategies combined can benefit your marketing team.

The Differences Between ABM and Demand Generation

ABM is a B2B marketing strategy that focuses your time and resources on a small group of hand-picked target accounts. These accounts are selected based on your ideal customer profile (ICP), which details the specific industries, job titles, and company sizes that are the best fit for your solution. Once you’ve identified your target accounts and the right points of contact at these accounts (aka the decision-makers, influencers, and end-users), you’ll plan a series of highly personalized touchpoints throughout the customer journey to ensure that your messaging resonates and keeps them moving down the funnel. Some common examples of ABM tactics include direct mail and hyper-personalized emails and landing pages.

In slight contrast, your demand generation efforts target a broader audience to build brand awareness and get top-of-funnel leads that you can nurture over time. As a result, personalization in demand generation marketing is scaled back compared to your highly personalized ABM tactics. Some demand generation tactics you might employ include best practices-geared webinars, thought leadership blog posts, and paid ads that play with your messaging and value proposition to drive more traffic to your site. Since demand generation casts a wider net, it can help your business identify new areas in the market where you can potentially expand your ICP. 

One fundamental difference between these two strategies is the marketing-sales alignment needed for a successful campaign. With an ABM strategy, your sales and marketing teams work closely together, daily, to generate ideas to target specific accounts and individual contacts and compel them to engage. With demand generation, the marketing team generates and nurtures leads that they then pass off to the sales team once they become MQLs.

The Connection Between ABM and Demand Generation 

Although you’ll leverage different levels of personalization in both ABM and demand generation, there is no doubting the benefits of personalizing your marketing efforts. And the key to effective personalization is having a deep understanding of your target audience and their unique needs, interests, and pain points. It’s no wonder that 84% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase from a company that demonstrates an understanding of their unique business goals. 

There are many ways you can personalize your marketing, so let’s explore a couple of common tactics that you can use in both your ABM and demand gen efforts. 

Personalized Email

Email marketing is a great tool to leverage for both one-to-one and one-to-many personalization. In ABM, you’ll likely be using one-to-one or one-to-few personalization since you want to deliver highly customized messaging to these hand-picked prospects. Lean on your data here so you can create content (and subject lines!) that accurately speak to your prospect’s needs, interests, and pain points. If you know the prospect has previously engaged with certain content on your website, send them content on a similar topic that you know will resonate.

Even though you’ll be sending more broad email blasts as part of your demand generation efforts, you can still use one-to-many personalization here. For example, you can segment your email list by industry, then add a personalized set of bullet points that list specific reasons why someone in their industry will get value from attending this webinar. While these tactics may seem simple, a little personalization can go a long way.

Website Personalization

While personalized email can bolster your ABM and demand generation efforts, website personalization is your most valuable tactic for both of these marketing strategies. Just think: all of your other marketing efforts point right back to your website. By personalizing your ABM landing pages (or making your homepage a dynamic landing page), you’ll show your prospects that you have a deep understanding of their company and industry. For your ABM prospects, tailor the social proof on your website by displaying customer testimonials or case studies from businesses similar to your target account. This will show your prospect that businesses like their own have seen success with your solution, and they can too. You can also create an individual, hyper-personalized landing page for each of your target accounts, curated with elements like their assigned account executive’s name, picture, and calendar, relevant social proof, and any content or use cases that might be of interest to the account. (See how Snowflake used similar tactics to increase landing page conversions by 60%!)

Although you might have richer data for your ABM prospects, you can still personalize your website experience for your demand generation prospects. Using whatever firmographic/demographic data you have available, personalize your headlines, calls-to-action (CTAs), and body copy to reflect the metrics they care about. For example, if you know your prospect works in the B2B SaaS industry, talk about how your solution can help them convert more high-quality leads to satisfy their hungry sales team.

Get Started with Website Personalization to Fuel Your ABM and Demand Generation

While they have their differences, ABM and demand generation complement each other and can be used in tandem to drive more meaningful results and outcomes for your team all within the same time frame. Not to mention, they have one powerful tactic in common that can help you succeed across both strategies: website personalization.

With Intellimize, you can take your website personalization efforts to the next level by tailoring your website experience to each unique visitor’s needs and preferences. Our intelligent website personalization has proved successful for ABM and demand gen efforts alike. Request your demo today to learn more.