What is account-based marketing?

What is account-based marketing?

In a short span of time, strategies to attract and engage customers have enormously changed. Consumers now have a multitude of technologies and digital platforms to research brands, products, and customer reviews before making big-ticket purchasing decisions. However, when dealing with high-priced and complex sales, only relying on digital marketing to engage with customers is ineffective, and it’s why account-based marketing has in recent years become one of the most popular strategies for business and revenue growth. 


What does account-based marketing mean?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing and growth strategy where marketing and sales work together to create personalized buying experiences for your most high-valued customers. 

Rather than trying to extend your reach to as many people as possible, account-based marketing focuses its efforts on a select group of people that represent significant growth opportunities and have a greater likelihood of converting into high-value paying customers. 


Account-based Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

Often when ABM is discussed, it is compared and contrasted to inbound marketing with an inevitable debate on which strategy is most effective. The truth is, you do not need to choose one or the other. In fact, account-based marketing can largely complement the efforts of a well-executed inbound marketing strategy. 

Inbound marketing attracts customers by creating valuable content that is tailored to a semi-fictional buyer persona that represents your ideal customer including age, gender, income, beliefs, interests, family status, and more. The specialized content you create drives your persona to engage with your brand on your website, social media, or on other channels, and then hopefully, purchase your products. 

An ABM strategy can be implemented at this stage, taking this identified group of engaged people and beginning research and analysis to determine if these interested consumers are considered higher value customers or personas.

Account-based marketing also uses buyer personas but unlike inbound marketing, ABM personas are based on data rather than assumptions. Companies using ABM strategies do not engage with people because they feel they’re an ideal or more probable customer, they focus on a specific demographic that possesses a set of behaviours that have proven to be most profitable.


Why is account-based marketing important for startups?

Survey data collected by Gartner in 2020 showed that businesses that launched ABM strategies showed increases in marketing and sales. The marketing data shows improved conversion rates, increased web traffic, and better advertising and email performance, and sales data showed increased wins, faster sales cycles, and larger deals.

As a startup business, account-based marketing may seem time-consuming when you have a million things on your plate, but ultimately it makes your marketing efforts and dollars more targeted. It also makes your highest value customers feel important and more catered to, setting your business up for a reputation of exceptional customer experience – an invaluable thing when trying to achieve startup business growth

Most importantly, research shows that 97 percent of businesses using an ABM approach see higher ROIs than with other marketing strategies.

How to create an ABM strategy for your startup


1. Get everyone on the same page

If your startup has been following a particular marketing strategy, the best way to get your team and investors to support a switch to ABM is to present data to show how switching strategies will increase revenue and make better use of your resources.


2. Align sales and marketing 

Historically, sales and marketing teams have had an ongoing feud where both teams blame the other when revenue is not increasing. ABM bridges the gap between the two teams and has everyone working together. As a collective, have sales and marketing agree on a shared set of metrics and goals for your ABM campaign.


3. Identify your high-value accounts

Analyze your sales history by talking to your sales team. Which type of interested consumer is the easiest to convert into a paying customer? Check your CRM to identify traits that all of your hot leads have in common. This will provide insight into the type of person you should focus on.


4. Create content and select channels

Once your target accounts have been identified, you need to create tailored content and decide which channels will be most successful in reaching them. Your content should speak to specific pain points that they have.


5. Launch your ABM campaign

Publish your content to convert prospective buyers into leads. By your sales team engaging with these leads in a strategic way, there is a high chance of them closing deals.


6. Review, evaluate, and adjust

This last step is ongoing and is crucial for all marketing strategies. Once you have launched your account-based marketing campaign, review how it is performing, evaluate your sales, and make adjustments to your strategy as needed.



In conclusion, account-based marketing is about placing greater importance on quality over quantity; focusing on a much smaller group of people who will accelerate your startup’s growth.

Your ABM strategy can be woven into other marketing strategies such as inbound marketing as previously mentioned, or a digital marketing plan. If your startup is not yet ready to hire a designated marketing professional, consider finding a startup mentor who has marketing expertise and can help put you on the right track to implementing an ABM strategy that yields attractive results. 

How do you begin creating a digital marketing plan for startups?

How do you begin creating a digital marketing plan for startups?

It is no secret that marketing is essential for a company’s success. But what remains a mystery for many startup businesses is how to start. Creating a digital marketing plan is an important first step, and you do not need a fat budget to achieve optimal results. What it does require is dedication, time, and creative thinking. Learning how to create a digital marketing plan for a startup is one of the most valuable things you can do to ensure that your business will attract customers, generate revenue, and continue to grow in its earliest stages.

What is a digital marketing plan and why is it important for startups?  

A digital marketing plan outlines a company’s digital marketing goals with the associated strategies, timelines, tactics, channels, and budgets they will use to achieve them.

Taking the time to build a digital marketing plan will keep you on track and focused as you juggle an array of other important functions that are necessary for your business.

Having a digital marketing plan will make better use of your time and resources, and align your team to work toward the same objectives. 


What are the components of a digital marketing plan?

Every company’s marketing goals and strategies will look different, but there are some standard elements that every digital marketing plan should include:

  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Web analytics 

What are the 5 steps to follow to have an effective digital marketing plan?


Creating a digital marketing plan is not just a matter of brainstorming ideas for social media or emails. There are steps that your startup business should take to ensure all of your plan’s components are strategic, align with your company’s goals, and ultimately yield the best results.


1. Conduct Research

Reliable and credible research can reveal a lot about the marketing direction your startup should take. Learning about historical market trends, current industry practices, competitor analyses, and what consumers want can be the most invaluable tool you have to create a phenomenal digital marketing plan. 

Research can include primary research (conducting surveys, interviews, polls, etc.) or secondary research such as published reports.


2. Develop a Deep Understanding of your Brand

Understanding your own brand will set the foundation for everything else that follows. Start by thinking about popular brands that you would to be comparable to. Is your brand like Apple or is it like Microsoft? Is your brand a Tesla or is it Ford? This is a great way to start shaping what your brand is, how consumers will perceive you, and discovering your brand archetype which are all crucial to know before defining your target audience or style of communication.


3. Define Your Target Audience

Knowing exactly the type of consumers you will be targeting will make it much easier to define your messaging, what digital channels you should use, and the type of content you need to develop to establish a connection with your audience. 

What is your target’s demographic, lifestyle, worries, wants, and needs? Your marketing efforts need to be tailored to your target audience because marketing to everyone is marketing to no one. Spending time developing buyer personas – semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers – will help you tremendously with all marketing efforts moving forward.


4. Create Clear Messaging 

Consumers want clear messaging on what your product is and how it will benefit them. If people are left questioning what you do, chances are they will not become a paying customer. You also need to define a messaging style or brand voice, which leads back to having a deep understanding of your brand. What does your brand sound like? Is it laid back and relaxed? Is it professional and sophisticated? Determining your style of communication will also help you reach your target audience much more effectively.


5. Define Your Digital Marketing Goals, Timelines, and Budget

If you do not set tangible goals, timelines, and budgets it is much harder to track and measure your progress. The goals you set should be realistic and obtainable, yet provide enough of a challenge so you feel a sense of accomplishment when you reach them. 

Setting a detailed, itemized budget for your digital marketing plan will keep you organized, and allow you to easily see if you are spending too much or too little on particular initiatives. It will also keep you on track with your overall startup budget for the company.


Following these five steps are critical before you can dive deeper into specifics such as what channels you will use (i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) or what type of strategy you will follow for paid advertising. You need to lay a foundation for your digital marketing plan to thrive.

Working with a startup incubator is a great way to receive high-quality mentorship on digital marketing plans, low-cost marketing strategies, and a long list of other entrepreneurial needs. 


3 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for Startups

3 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for Startups

As a startup business owner, you are well aware that marketing is essential to increase brand awareness and drive sales, but creating and implementing effective marketing strategies requires time and money. With zero or little cash to spare marketing can seem impossible, but there are low-cost marketing strategies for startups that can effectively begin growing your business.


Why are low-cost marketing strategies for startups vital for success?


Even if your business has the potential to be the next Apple or Amazon, your startup will never grow if no one knows it exists. 

Prioritizing marketing strategy differentiates brands from their competition, from early-stage companies to the most influential global brands. 

Hiring a dedicated marketing professional or acquiring marketing services from an agency does not exactly fit within an early-stage startup’s budget. Although this should be a future goal, your business cannot afford to wait for this to be possible. 

We have identified the top 3 best marketing strategies for startups to follow while working with an average startup marketing budget.


Identify your target customer to drive marketing strategies.


Because marketing and advertising costs for a startup business have to remain minimal, you want to make sure every project, initiative, and marketing campaign is highly targeted.

The most effective approach for sales and marketing for startups is to determine your startup target market so you can make an educated decision on what marketing strategy is the best fit for your business. We recommend to only focus on your top Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Beginning by choosing one clearly defined ICP rather than going after multiple at once allows you to allocate 100 percent of your focus on your most significant target. Doing this increases your chance of driving revenue early on, which makes your marketing efforts more effective. Examples of low-cost strategies that become more effective when using a well-defined ICP are Inside Sales and Account-Based Marketing.

Inside Sales sells a company’s products or services via phone, email, or other online channels, typically from an office-based environment. 

By following an Inside Sales strategy using a clearly defined ICP, your startup can primarily benefit from low costs (you only need access to a phone and internet connection) and the high potential for sales growth if appropriately executed.


Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B strategy that targets select accounts with higher growth opportunities and turns them into customers through tailored marketing and sales activities. 

By following an ABM strategy focusing on your identified ICP, your startup will generate revenue more quickly than if you spread your resources across several accounts. Gaining startup marketing metrics is sometimes challenging in the early stages, and ABM is a way to see ROI. Revenue earned from ABM can be used to reach other accounts that require more complex marketing strategies, such as digital marketing.  


Insides Sales and ABM are solid strategies for many startups to follow, but they are not going to work for every early-stage company. How to determine what the best strategies are to effectively target your ICP can involve many variables, and you may want to consider asking for guidance from an experienced business professional or a startup incubator. 


Grow faster with collaborations and co-marketing.


Launching the best startup marketing campaigns on a limited budget can be done when collaborating with other businesses. Co-marketing, the sharing of audiences and resources between two complementary brands, opens up tremendous opportunities to hit marketing objectives for startups and experience overall growth.


Co-marketing helps by: 

  1. Generating more creative marketing ideas for startups
  2. Producing more premium content such as guest blogs
  3. Reaching a larger audience to attract more leads
  4. Offering a cost-effective alternative to solo marketing 


Focus on SEO to build brand awareness. 


You may have heard of Search Engine Optimization or SEO, but it can be daunting how to do SEO and see its results when you have little money to work with.

Websites constantly compete to earn top positions when content is searched for online, but it is difficult for a startup to be in the running with a limited budget.


We recommend choosing keywords that:

  1. Speak to customers that are at the bottom of the marketing funnel. In other words, they are ready to buy. Later in your marketing journey, you can expand to target leads near the top of the funnel by creating valued content.
  2. Don’t have a high number of searches every month so you are not competing with the content Goliaths of the internet. 


One of the best digital marketing tools for startups that is free is Google Trends, which can help with your SEO strategy. 


How to set your startup business up for long-term success 


If ‘how to market my startup’ was one of your most pressing thoughts before reading this blog, following our top 3 low-cost marketing strategies for startups will provide you with a starting point to begin your marketing journey.

Following low-budget marketing strategies is not meant to be sustainable for a long time but rather provide a jumping-off point to achieve larger goals.

Every startup is different with varying marketing needs especially as it grows and evolves. Finding a mentor, coach, or startup incubator program that can provide advice, support, and expertise is a great way to keep learning new knowledge and skills to set your startup up for long-term success.

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas uses cookies to improve the navigation of our uses. By closing this message you accept our cookie policy.