Can Inbound Marketing Show Executives the Money?
by Andrew Millar
We hear a lot of talk these days about how traditional marketing is going by the board and inbound marketing is the way of the future. According to the HubSpot 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, inbound delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads.
That’s a real eye-opener.
Why aren’t more companies employing inbound marketing as a major part of their marketing effort? Why isn’t the c-suite getting on the bandwagon? If this is really as hot and effective as the reports tell us, how come more resources are not more forthcoming for it?
Any time something new comes forward, it takes a while for it to be accepted. When first introduced, it’s considered way too radical by the mainstream. Eyebrows are raised and it is often made fun of by those in the know. Time passes and it slowly (or quickly) gains more acceptance, more and more people begin to make it part of their lives. Eventually it becomes the accepted norm and people can’t believe it was ever looked upon suspiciously. Look at the grundge look and how it has affected mainstream fashion. Or look at the introduction of automated receptionists and how we automatically accept it now.
Are You Ahead of the Curve?
I think the business community is in the process of coming to terms with inbound marketing. Until and unless marketers do a better job of demonstrating ROI, they will hold back their clients from making the critical investment needed for inbound to succeed.
Inbound marketing can show the executives the money but it is a chicken and egg prospect. For inbound marketing to realize its full potential it needs to be integrated throughout the company from marketing to sales to operations to IT. It needs to be incorporated in the strategic vision of the company. This is a tall order for companies who prefer to do things the way they have always done them. It takes moving from the point of view of “the customer is always right” to “the customer comes first.”
Inbound is a customer-centric process. Its ethic is to delight the customer! C.C. Chapman is quoted in HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report: “You have to know the people you want to reach in order to make content that they will love. This isn’t just about profiles of who they are, but you have to know in your soul exactly the type of people they are. Then you’ll create content that isn’t all about pitching or landing the sale. It will share more about your company or solve a problem that they have. They’ll begin to connect with you and then all the other great content you have that does include the hard sell will come into play and help convert them into a customer. Start with the soul and end with the sale. Not the other way around.” – C.C. Chapman, Founder of The Cleon Foundation and author of Amazing Things Will Happen.
Marketers need to utilize the available analytics to demonstrate ROI. This is one of the great features of inbound; analytic tools are well-developed and precise and point the way to tactical adjustments.
www.themarketingscore.com and SurveyMonkey.com and Google Analytics are examples of these.
Content is King!
The critical foundation for all inbound marketing is content creation. This is how to reach, educate and begin to please the customer. Here is John Jantsch commenting on the Hubspot’s Report of how few companies are committed to content creation: “The fact that only 18% are focused on creating quality content doesn’t surprise me (perhaps that they admit it does) – the fact is creating quality content is hard work and it takes a commitment on the part of marketing leadership to pour the time, energy and journalistic resources into it. But, like all things, when you see the payoff you make it a priority. I find that if I can get organizations excited about content through analytics and SEO results they get pretty committed to blogging.” – John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing
This train is leaving the station. It’s important to analyze where your company is now and where it wants to be with its marketing dollar. We have some way to go before we achieve critical mass in inbound marketing, but, as always, those who recognize the trend early will benefit the most.