Inbound Marketing – Beyond the Hype

Unless you live under a rock, you will have noticed that the category Inbound Marketing has rocketed to the top of the marketing buzzword list over the last several years.  This positioning was invented by Hubspot in 2005 in response the the term Demand Generation which was created by Eloqua around 2004 (many moons ago).

I’m going to go bold and say, with Inbound Marketing, you need to think beyond the hype.  For most B2B marketers, this approach is just one piece of the puzzle.

The promise of Inbound is to continuously serve up high quality content in the web-o-sphere and opportunities will magically appear, ready to buy your product.  As any experienced marketer of complex sale products will tell you, pragmatically, this is impossible.  Buyers are going to going through a journey which can take months or even years.  Under the inbound premise, buyers would be continuously searching for info and serendipitously find your content which would move them along the funnel.  Serendipity isn’t a strategy.

It is the job or marketing to engage prospects in a meaningful dialog that will generate continued interest in your product or offering.  Are  you willing to risk your job by letting an inbound lead, just wait, identify some more of your content on the web that generates more interest with hopes that they’ll come back to your website?  How would your sales team respond to that?  They’d be livid! (and rightfully so).  Inbound is passive – marketers have to be active.

Yes, you obviously want to generate inbound leads and which point the principals of lead nurturing and scoring come in.  Hubspot even admits this through their offering of a Hubspot Marketing Automation solution.

Stick with the tried and try approach.  Generate leads through a robust content marketing (inbound) and outbound marketing strategy then engage them in a meaningful dialog through lead nurturing.

Ignore the hype