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What Is Person-Based Marketing? How Is It Different From ABM?


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve heard of Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Odds are you’ve already tried it out and it didn’t live up to your expectations. Good news is – this article is not going to force ABM on you, but neither it is going to trash it.

If you’ rather read about ABM though, check out our prior post here.

We love ABM, or better said, we love the idea of ABM, what it was meant to be – a way to engage specific clients, not some abstract target audience.

Imagine, a dream came true…[First Last Name] is reading your whitepaper AND you learn that this is Sheryl Sandberg! This is soooo exciting! As a good marketer you are, wouldn’t you take on this opportunity and send her a follow-up email on this whitepaper?

That’s what PBM is about! Talking to people you want and taking action.

What is PBM?

Person-based marketing puts a human in the center of communication. Traditional marketing was talking to target audiences, ABM is talking to accounts, while PBM talks to the person.

In PBM you start by putting together a wish-list, which is basically a list of real people you want to talk to. These are your decision-makers, stakeholders or potential investors. Once you have the list, you can use any PBM tool or platform to start a conversation with these people. You can use any creatives to engage your prospects – ads, blog articles, website sections, social media posts. Once a person from the list is engaged you can use the personalized tracking to decide on how you want to carry on the conversation.

Personalized tracking means that you know who clicked on your display ad, read your content, visited your website. You know the name of the person, their contact details, the company they worked at, their position in this company, right after they interacted with your content. So you further interaction with the prospect is 100% personalized.

How does it work in practice? Say, Influ2 wants venture capitalists to learn about their product. Here is how they would use PBM for it…or rather how we’ve already used it.

PBM campaigns perform with 1-4% CTR. I am sure you can appreciate it, knowing that an average CTR rate is 0.05-0.1% (on a sunny day). How is that possible? High degree of personalization and precise targeting. That’s where PBM had outrun ABM.


In some sense, person-based marketing is a logical next step in the evolution of account-based marketing. However, while ABM lets you talk to key accounts, PBM lets you talk to key people. And this is crucial for the B2B sector. It does matter who you talk to – stakeholder at Intel Capital or their director of first impressions.

Another major difference between ABM and PBM is the timeline. It is true that account-based marketing allows you to develop a close relationship with your key accounts, but it takes a long time to do that. More so, you can’t be certain that you’re talking to the right people. Numerous ads, newsletters, great content and email marketing get wasted on the wrong audience. Person-based marketing is more precise in that manner, it allows you to be more efficient and actionable. PBM tells you who engaged with your content right away. On the spot, you can direct your potential clients to the most appropriate marketing or sales workflow (it becomes super-easy if you know your way around automation).

To Sum Up

“Account-based marketing lets you talk to key accounts, while person-based marketing lets you talk to key people.”

Use it!

Personalization, customization and other similar ‘-zations’ skyrocket our CTRs. PBM gets you that personal touch. You know exactly who you are targeting, you know exactly what they read and you can use that knowledge to better engage new and existing clients.

Any thoughts?

About the Author

Kateryna is a marketing professional with over 5 years of experience in B2B marketing. Her belief is that marketing is not meant to manipulate and advertisement is not meant to annoy. She is a proponent of person-based marketing and customised useful content. Kateryna holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration with focus in media and entertainment industries. She is also a song-writer, singer and an actress with a passion for collecting vinyl records and shoes.

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