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Inbound Marketing: Myth Or Proven Methodology?

If You’ve Never Seen Inbound Marketing Work, I Can Understand Your Disbelief

The other day I posted an article on LinkedIn about the differences between demand generation and inbound marketing. The article got its fair share of likes and a comment or two, but one of the comments caught my attention.

Here is a direct quote of the exact comment: “To me, inbound marketing is a myth. It is complete nonsense.” The comment got me thinking that I don’t believe in bigfoot, despite the huge amount of grainy and questionable video footage, because I’ve never seen an actual bigfoot.

Could inbound marketing be a myth to everyone who has never seen it in action? Just like bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and UFOs, if you’ve never seen these, it’s going to be hard to believe they exist. That brings me to the point of this article. Let’s debunk the myth with facts and figures from actual inbound marketing engagements.



Why Inbound Marketing Is So Challenging

Marketing Used To Be Easy; What Happened To Make It So Hard?

This is a great question to kick off 2017. Marketing used to be easy. You bought some ads, you went to some trade shows, your sales team made some phone calls and you sent out letters from time to time. The results were cloudy, but you did see people responding and your business grew. You might not have known exactly why, but it worked. I know because this is how I used to run marketing at a $20 million software company.

But over the past 10 years or so, things have changed. The way people buy has changed. The way people make their decisions around purchasing has changed. From multimillion-dollar purchases to $50 purchases, it has all changed. It’s this change that has complicated marketing so dramatically, and while inbound marketing matches today’s buyer behavior, the process of delivering that match is complex.



Prediction #8 — Science Of Inbound Marketing And Sales Breaks Through

The Formula For Lead Generation Is Created Using Inbound Marketing As The Foundation

I’m most excited about this prediction; after all, I’m an inbound scientist. I believe, with all my experience, that there is now a way to mathematically predict inbound marketing results based on the program features in your own inbound marketing. Once this is published, you’ll know exactly what to do, when to do it and what results to expect. It’s a game-changer.

The real challenge with this is not creating the formula but testing it. You’ll need tons of data to test the formula enough to make sure it produces the right results consistently. You’ll need to test the formula under a variety of conditions, in different industries, with different types of clients, with big programs and with modest programs. It will be a lot of work. It's likely that only a large inbound marketing agency would have the data and the experience to create such a formula.



Prediction #5 — Novice Inbound Marketing Vs. Expert Inbound Marketing Will Be Measured By Results

All Inbound Marketing Results Are Not Created Equally

As inbound marketing gains speed, more and more people are trying to do it. That means more and more novices are attempting to get results from inbound. The question is this: As they fail, will inbound take the brunt or will people recognize they need actual inbound experts to get results? We’ll consider this and reveal the trends.

We’ve noticed a trend over the past few months. More companies are contacting us with a similar story. The story goes something like this: “I’ve been working with an inbound marketing agency for the past 12 months and now that we’re coming to the end of the engagement, we’re not sure it’s working. We talked to you 12 months ago, but went in a different direction because of price. Can you look at what we’ve been doing and give us some guidance?”

Our response is: “Yes, we’re happy to review what you’ve been doing. We’ll look at your inbound marketing assets and with access to your HubSpot account or Google Analytics, we should be able to identify if anything was missed or executed differently than we’d do it.”



It's Always The Agency's Fault If Your Inbound Marketing Isn't Working

Does It Matter Whose Fault It Is Or Does It Matter Why It’s Not Working?

The headline was meant to get your attention. It’s very rarely the agency’s fault even though that’s usually where the blame gets placed. When you think about it, how could it be the agency’s fault? If the people at the agency didn’t know what they were doing, they wouldn’t have any clients. So, they must know something.

But what I don’t understand is why it matters whose fault it is and why blaming anyone is productive. Instead, let’s put our energy into identifying why your inbound marketing isn’t working and what we need to do to fix it, and then get it back on track delivering leads and new customers for your business.



How To Break Your Lead Generation Drought With Inbound Marketing

You Don’t Have To Wait 108 Years To Figure Out How To Get Leads From Inbound Marketing

The Chicago Cubs and their fans have waited 108 years to win the World Series. How long have you been working on getting leads as a direct result of your investment in marketing? I know some people who have been working on this their entire careers. Others have just started thinking about marketing as lead generation instead of awareness and impressions.

But if you really want to break your curse and end your drought, you're going to need to make a number of changes in your thinking and in your execution. Inbound marketing isn’t easy. If anyone is telling you it is, they either don’t understand it or might be trying to convince you to buy something.

Here’s how to break your drought and build a lead generation machine for your business.



How Inbound Marketing NOW Can Pay Off Big In 2017

The Inbound Marketing Planning In September And October Will Drive Leads In January

We’re into September, and typically at this time of year CEOs and VPs of marketing start thinking about how to finish the year strong. Eventually, they get around to realizing that more leads would put them in a better position to drive revenue and finish the year at or above goals and targets.

The challenge behind that narrow window is that it’s going to take time to plan an inbound marketing program, build the assets required to drive leads and then optimize that plan based on actual program performance data. While it’s possible to do inbound marketing planning that generates leads in October, it’s more likely that the work you do now is going to set you up for a fantastic 2017.



Inbound Marketing Secret #34: Are You A Victim Of Random Acts Of Marketing?

Inbound Marketing Strategy Is A Shield That Protects You From Random Acts Of Marketing

I wrote a blog article a few days ago that introduced readers to the concept of “random acts of marketing.” Again and in full transparency, this term was mentioned to me by a prospect who was feeling the pain associated with their random acts of marketing. So I take no credit in coming up with the term. However, the phrase has resonated with enough people that it’s worth continuing the conversation.

The term perfectly describes the feelings many people have as they start their journey to success with inbound marketing. The complexity of inbound makes it easy to revert to random acts of marketing in an attempt to find something that works.



The Internal Creative Review Vs. The Inbound Marketing Performance Review

Agencies Are Moving Away From Leaning On Creative And Toward Impacting Business Results

The agency world has changed. The days of internal creative reviews where people sit around a conference room looking at boards with ads and creative concepts is quickly disappearing. It’s being replaced with lead review meetings where charts and graphs show real-time data that provides insight into lead generation, close rates and new customers.

What does your meeting with your agency look like? If it’s creative and you want it to be about results, you have a lot of new options. If it’s about inbound marketing results and your current digital agency can’t deliver to your expectations, you have a lot of options there too. The bottom line is with so many digital and inbound marketing agencies out there, the time has never been better to find one that knows how to impact business results and revenue.



How To Stay Cool When Your Inbound Marketing Metrics Are Trending Down

Inbound Marketing Is The Only Approach That Helps You Impact Results Today

If you’re expecting inbound marketing to produce positive results every month, from every tactic, think again. No matter how good you are, or your inbound marketing agency is, you’re going to see downward trends in your analytics at some point. Don’t panic. It happens to everyone and the causes are not always related to what you did or didn’t do.

Sometimes it has to do with what other people, for instance, competitors, are doing. But this article isn’t about that; it’s about what you need to do to recover from downward trends in program performance. The good news is that there are response techniques that can and should be applied to reverse the downward trends and get you moving back up and to the right.