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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Aug 13, 2014 8 min read

Help! I’m Trapped In My Old Marketing, And I Can’t Get Out

TrappedNo one ever talks about how to move from a traditional outbound marketing effort to an inbound marketing approach.

That might be because it’s not too hard to make the move. Or, it could be because we want to pretend that it's not hard, when in reality, it’s very challenging to make the switch.

What do you do?

Should you go cold turkey and stop all of your appointment-setting telemarketing, terminate your trade show contracts, cancel your ad insertion orders, pull your direct mail postcard from the mail shop and schedule new sales training for your sales people? That would be one way to switch, and it might even be the right way. But there are also some ways to make the transition a bit smoother for you and the rest of your company.

Here are the steps you should consider once you’re ready to make the move from outbound advertising to inbound marketing.

Get buy-in from senior leadership.

If you’re the business owner or CEO, clearly you have the authority to approve any change in marketing strategy. If you’re not, however, it’s going to be imperative that you gain support and buy-in from senior leadership before you make a dramatic change like the one we’re discussing in this article.

It shouldn’t be hard to get C-level executives to understand the benefits of moving from branding to lead gen or from expensive, interruptive marketing to more efficient, permission-based marketing. To get their attention, use cost per lead, average cost to acquire a client and return on marketing investment as examples of metrics that are going to improve after the transition.

Communicate across departments.

You’re going to want to tell the rest of the company what you’re up to. Make sure you connect this change to the new buyer behavior. Stories about how other team members make their own purchase decisions today help to personalize the changes you are suggesting and get your people behind them. Try to give your team a before-and-after picture: Show them what your marketing looks like today and what it will look like after the change. Include performance metrics, too.

Create a strategic plan.

If you don’t have a plan, or you feel like you don’t need one, don’t move forward, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200. This is a requirement. Your plan has to have a number of various elements, which we’ve discussed many times in various blog articles. Click here to see one of our recent articles on marketing strategy.

Include a transition plan.

Since you’re going through a transition, make sure your strategic plan includes elements that take the transition into consideration. When are you planning on stopping some of the old tactics? How much overlap are you anticipating? How much lead time do you need to create new educational content, and what resources are required for these tasks? All of this has to be thought out and planned from both an operational and cost perspective.

Sunset underperforming tactics.

Inbound marketing does shine a light on underperforming tactics. If your tactics are failing to generate leads at an acceptable clip, you have to consider closing them down. The worse the offender, the more dramatic the shutdown. For instance, underperforming advertising necessitates canceling existing contracts, regardless of the repercussions. Pay-per-click campaigns can be slowly reduced over a series of months, while inbound marketing tactics ramp up. And your Google account can be held open, just in case you want to start it up again. This mitigates the risk associated with closing the account and having to start a new one (something Google frowns upon).

Keep everyone in the loop.

Face it, you’re probably under a microscope with this, so get out in front of it and be completely transparent. Share your progress with anyone who’s interested. It’s going to work because it always does, so don’t be shy to stand on a mountain and scream about inbound results.

Start new inbound marketing tactics.

As you get ready, launch your new inbound marketing tactics. Start your blog, increase email frequency, kick off lead nurturing campaigns, start publishing educational content and get your social media followers conversing on topics related to your business. Everyone will see the differences right from the start, and the results won’t be far behind.

Share successes.

It won’t take long to see some wins, even if they are small wins in the beginning: new subscribers to the blog, increases in LinkedIn connections, new prospects downloading your educational content and leads for the sales team to follow up on. Let everyone know that it’s working and that it’s only going to get better.

Build in regular rhythms.

We’ve found that one of the secrets to success is regular rhythmic support of an inbound marketing program. Regular blogging, emails, content publication and reviews of performance instill a feeling of program optimization. Set goals and work towards them. Make real-time changes. Instead of waiting for 30 days to go by, make the change today and track it for a week. Then make another. This ensures that you exceed your goals by the end of the month.

If you try even half of these recommendations, you’re quickly going to find your company moving away from traditional, interruptive, inefficient outbound marketing and seeing the benefits of inbound marketing. Once you have traction and momentum on your side, the rest of the transition is easy.

Start Today Tip – The hardest part of the change is getting everyone on the same page. If people won’t go all in on inbound marketing, it’s going to be very challenging. They’re going to be looking for reasons to say, “I told you so.” They might even be looking for ways to sabotage the effort. People are afraid of what they don’t know and want to stick with what they do know, even if it doesn’t work as well. It feels safer and more comfortable that way. But don’t give them that chance. Get everyone on board, score some early wins and then push forward at full speed.

 7 Undeniable Reasons Your Enterprise Needs Inbound Marketing

Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing And Inbound Marketing Revolution!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.