It's hard not to notice that the effectiveness is leaching out of many traditional marketing methods, especially in the B2C arena, but also affecting B2B to a lesser extent. Customers are blocking and evading marketing messages in a variety of ways: spam filters, caller ID, DVRs, Web ad-blocking and no-script, and the use of iPods and satellite radio in preference to commercial radio.
It's almost as if people don't want to be interrupted any more.
Inbound marketing is the theory that it's more effective to help people find your information than to interrupt them to put it in their faces. Brian Halligan, the man who pioneered this definition of "inbound marketing" -- not the older sense of market research / product management -- has a book out titled Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, co-authored with Dharmesh Shah. Here is a review of it. The authors maintain a resource site for inbound marketing at Hubspot.
The major premise here is to align your marketing efforts with the ways people are searching for and finding information. Increasingly, this is via search engines and their networks on social media. A second premise of inbound marketing is that, given that you want people to find your stuff, you had better make it the best in the field: remarkable content, superbly organized. Halligan and Shah write that "a savvy inbound marketer is half traditional marketer and half content creation factory."
The authors make some expansive claims about inbound marketing. Perhaps the most eye-catching is this one: On average, inbound marketing leads are 61 percent less expensive than outbound marketing leads. The cost savings come from foregone traditional media campaigns, as well as the probability that hiring staffers familiar with inbound marketing will be cheaper -- in part because they are likely to be younger.
Going beyond SEO and Website optimization, inbound marketing recommends a rigorous regime of analytics and lead sorting on the back end:
- Use bivariate and multivariate testing to see which landing page draws more leads
- Grade leads so you spend more time on the ones who will become customers
- Create a lead-nurturing program so you don't lose promising leads
Here is a B2B case study
recounting the experience of a manufacturing company that seems to have applied this very advice, with the result that leads increased almost 300 percent over a 10-month period.
The authors have advice for startups as well as for larger companies. It's detailed and step-by-step, and it should prove easier for new companies to implement than for more established ones, because the startups don't have as much to unlearn.
Have you begun applying inbound marketing principles in your shop? What results are you seeing?
— Keith Dawson , Senior Editor, The CMO Site.
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