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  • Writer's pictureRoger Wilks

The Truth About Account Based Advertising: Is It Really Worth the Hype?

Account based advertising can be a productive tactic in your B2B account based marketing initiative. The ability to target highly-specific accounts with personalised messaging can really lift revenue for your business.

So, account based advertising is the next best thing for B2B companies? Not so fast.

Traditional advertising attempts to reach prospects and customers through behaviour and demographics, but account based advertising focuses on content that is relevant to individual business circumstances and market data.

Account based advertising is also designed to reach an entire buying committee within a corporation so that your message is directed to those who can actually influence or purchase your products and solutions.

So, account based advertising is the next best thing for B2B companies. Not so fast. With an account based advertising initiative, there are some risks because advertisers need to transition to a smaller audience. They also need to be confident in the content of the ads and that they’re adding real value to targeted accounts.

These may be temporary concerns given the overall benefits of account based advertising, but businesses need to be aware of both the positives and negatives of any tactic. We think there are issues related to account based advertising and why it’s not necessarily the latest and greatest.

Account based advertising can be labour intensive

Because of the personalised nature of account based marketing, your ads will need to have a different message for each account. Your relationship with each of your accounts will need to be reflected in your account based ads, and that can lead to a serious time investment, especially if you launch an entire ad campaign. It’s almost like going door-to-door with a different product for each person.

If you have lots of content, you can pivot and repurpose it, but ad formats are different from other content vehicles, and you’ll have to adjust accordingly.

Account based advertising is based on engaging with just a few accounts.

The beauty of any account based initiative is that it is targeted to a specific set of customers. This can also be a drawback if you want to expand and include every prospect and customer you have. It is essentially impossible to create an account based ad campaign directed toward a very large audience.

You would need extensive information on the buying members within an account, and that is typically not available because of the time and effort that would have to be expended. Plus, an account based ad campaign would grow too unwieldy and not practical at all extended across accounts outside of your account based initiative. The elements of customisation, personalisation and buyer-directed activity can be incorporated into broader ad campaigns though so that all is not lost.

Account based advertising can compromise resources.

If there’s one thing to say about any account based program, it’s that it takes considerable employee investment. There is so much information that needs to be captured from each account before one bit of promotional information can be shared. Even with Marketing and Sales sharing the work, there can be a lot of time spent by both camps in keeping the account data current.

And because not all of your accounts will land in your account based category, there will still be other accounts needing attention. The balance of work distribution—from account identification, shared tactics, outreach and feedback—will need to be defined and maintained between Marketing and Sales. Short of hiring team members to maintain specific account activity, there will always be a compromise of where the attention is directed appropriately.

Account based advertising can be a revenue Catch-22

The beauty of account based advertising is that is minutely specific in its targeting. You can target all buyers and influencers at each selected account which will be the biggest revenue generators for your business. Who wouldn’t love that? But as mentioned earlier, account based programs can be labour intensive which takes Sales and Marketing employees from communicating with other types of accounts.

Small businesses especially have to make the call about whether to invest in account based advertising for the possible revenue. While at the same time, they don’t have the resources to communicate with potential clients outside of the account based initiatives. How can they measure the possibility of lost revenue? Sometimes this will fall into the category of an informed guess on which approach to take. Smaller businesses may want to delay account based work until their financial situation can support any possible risks.

Account based advertising can be a powerful tactic to generate revenue and customer loyalty. However, it’s a good idea to explore all the facets and possible drawbacks for your business situation before diving in completely.


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