Understanding the different types of Account Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing (ABM) has become a key strategy for B2B companies targeting high-value accounts. But not all ABM is created equal. There are several models based on the level of personalisation and number of accounts targeted:

  • One-to-one ABM: Highly customised engagement with individual decision-makers
  • One-to-few ABM: Tailored outreach focused on a select set of accounts
  • One-to-many ABM: Broader account-based messaging spread across multiple accounts

This comprehensive guide will explore the differences between these ABM approaches regarding use cases, tactics, resources required, and ideal customer profiles. Mastering all three models can allow you to take a tiered approach to account-based marketing.

One-to-One ABM: Hyper-Personalised

One-to-one ABM involves deeply customised messaging and engagement targeted at individual executives and decision-makers within your best-fit accounts. The goal is to build meaningful connections with the actual human buyers that have influence.

Use Cases

This hyper-personalised approach is ideal for penetrating specific strategic accounts by engaging multiple stakeholders. One-to-one efforts help tailor messaging and experiences to each contact’s needs, wherever they are in the buyer’s journey.


  • Personalised outreach like emails and social media messaging
  • Custom content offers tailored to their priorities
  • Digital ads and website experiences targeted to their needs
  • Direct mail campaigns with personal relevance
  • Sales conversations focused on specific pain points

One-to-one ABM is all about demonstrating true relevance through hyper-customisation to each stakeholder.

Resources Required

  • Detailed research on accounts to create Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and buyer journeys
  • Technology and analytics to track individuals and enable personalisation
  • Staff to coordinate customised content, digital ads, and sales alignment
  • Executive leadership buy-in to support intensive approach

Ideal Customer Profile

  • Strategic enterprise and global accounts with complex buying processes
  • Multiple stakeholders involved in decisions
  • High lifetime value warranting deep personalisation

One-to-one ABM aims to influence decisions by connecting with individual executives as human beings, not faceless accounts.

One-to-Few ABM: Tailored Account Focus

One-to-few ABM focuses on orchestrating tailored messaging and experiences across a select set of targeted accounts. The emphasis is still on account penetration rather than broad reach.

Use Cases

This approach is ideal when you want to concentrate resources on converting and expanding relationships with a defined set of accounts. One-to-few ABM still allows for personalisation but with less intensive resources than one-to-one efforts.


  • Targeted digital ads, events and content for named accounts
  • Account-specific landing pages, offers and messaging
  • Direct mail campaigns focused on key accounts
  • Customised sales playbooks for target accounts
  • Some personalisation at the stakeholder level

While not as hyper-personalised as one-to-one ABM, one-to-few still allows for tailored account-centric engagement.

Resources Required

  • Research on accounts to build target account lists and ICPs
  • Analysts to develop account-specific content and campaigns
  • Technology to track account-level engagement
  • Sales enablement focused on key accounts

Ideal Customer Profile

  • Mid-market customers warranting focused resources
  • Defined industry verticals or customer segments
  • Accounts with moderate deal sizes or growth potential

For companies with limited resources, one-to-few ABM provides a concentrated approach but with less customisation than one-to-one.

One-to-Many ABM: Broad Account Reach

One-to-many ABM has a wider focus on getting account-based messages in front of multiple target companies simultaneously. While still tailored to accounts, the reach is much greater.

Use Cases

This approach works well for building broad awareness efficiently across your targeted industries, customer segments or geography. One-to-many ABM also lays the groundwork to identify accounts for more tailored outreach.


  • Account-specific digital ads and messaging targeting multiple companies
  • Industry, role or segment focused content campaigns
  • Events, webinars and nurture streams broadly targeted
  • Sales kits equipped to have account conversations
  • Light personalisation through custom URLs or content

The emphasis is on account-relevant messaging spread across a larger pool of companies.

Resources Required

  • Major ad budget or broad content resources
  • Analysts for account list development and basic buyer research
  • Technology for tracking anonymous account engagement
  • Templates and infrastructure for broad campaigns

Ideal Customer Profile

  • Small or early-stage companies warranting a targeted approach
  • New markets or customer segments you’re looking to explore
  • Top of funnel accounts not yet ready for one-to-one focus

One-to-many ABM provides an entry point for targeted account engagement that can help prioritise future efforts.

Choosing the Right Model

So how do you determine which ABM approach is appropriate? 

Here are some guidelines:

One-to-one ABM is ideal when:

  • Dealing with large, complex sales cycles requiring expansive personalisation
  • You need to coordinate multiple stakeholders within an important account
  • Winning new strategic customers will provide major revenue impact
  • You have resources to devote to VIP-level account engagement
  • Typically no more than 25 ICP targets

One-to-few ABM works well when:

  • Targeting a defined industry vertical or customer segment
  • You want to focus resources on growing mid-market accounts
  • Personalisation needs are moderate across the buyer’s journey
  • Your sales team needs to manage a set list of priority accounts

One-to-many ABM is optimal for:

  • Raising awareness efficiently across many smaller accounts
  • Exploring an emerging market with new target customer profiles
  • Laying the groundwork for future one-to-one sales development

Integrating Models for Success

The most effective approach is to develop integrated programs that incorporate one-to-one, one-to-few and one-to-many ABM strategies.

For example, you could first run targeted digital ads to raise awareness among accounts across a customer segment (one-to-many). Then based on engagement, nurture sales development for a set of mid-market accounts (one-to-few). Finally, launch hyper-personalised campaigns focused on landing major enterprise deals (one-to-one).

This tiered integration allows you to take advantage of all three models based on the level of resources available and lifecycle stage of each account. With the right mix of strategies, ABM can maximise engagement, pipeline and revenue across your most valuable customers.


One-to-one, one-to-few and one-to-many ABM approaches provide different levels of personalisation and account reach. One-to-one ABM allows for deep customisation on strategic accounts but requires extensive resources. One-to-few ABM provides focus for defined target account sets. One-to-many ABM enables broader account-based awareness.

Integrating tailored programs across these models gives B2B companies the ability to scale Account Based Marketing to their unique business needs. With the right account selection, customisation and tiered strategy, ABM can become a scalable and repeatable engine for revenue growth.

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