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Prediction #2 — Marketing Strategy Remains A Missing Element From Inbound Marketing Programs

2017 Continues With Companies Skipping Inbound Marketing Strategy And Executing Disconnected Tactics

I write about this every year hoping it will change, but it never does. Companies don’t value strategy, don’t want to pay for it, don’t want to work on it and don’t even want to talk about it. Yet its quality and presence within an inbound engagement is a direct predictor of inbound lead generation success.

So many factors contribute to this habitually absent element of almost every inbound marketing program that we’re asked to comment on. I recognize the complexity of attempting to get a company to change its messages, tell different stories and actually operate in a remarkable way. But if you want leads, it’s not an optional element — it's mandatory.



How Inbound Marketing Drives Results With Ingenious List Segmentation

The More Personal Your Marketing, The Better Your Response; Inbound Marketing Gives You New Tools study conducted last year shows that "personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them." The study also shows that "60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77% believe real-time personalization is crucial."

Here are some more findings from the study. "Nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests." Also, "in-house marketers who are personalizing their web experiences and who are able to quantify the improvement see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales."

Now that we all agree personalization works, let’s talk about how inbound marketing and thoughtful marketing strategy enable us to look at our lists and segment our contact databases in a proactive way to deliver the personalized messages our prospects are looking for.



7 Reasons Marketing Strategy Is Still Causing Your Inbound Marketing To Fail When It Comes To Producing Results

Time And Time Again, Marketing Strategy Is Missing From Inbound Marketing Engagements

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a major increase in the number of prospects asking us to review their current inbound marketing efforts. Most of them are with other agencies and coming off their first year, but some are working on their own.

The one common denominator across all these situations is — you guessed it  no marketing strategy. No compelling messages, no stories, no differentiation and no connection of the inbound marketing tactics. The results speak for themselves. If you skip or don’t value the marketing strategy work, you should be prepared to expect less-than-stellar results.



Why Your Marketing Strategy Might Be Masquarading As Something Else

Don’t Confuse Tactics With Strategy When Thinking About How Your Company Goes To Market

I keep reading blog articles, talking to other agency owners and reviewing proposals (provided to us by prospects looking for our help) that make it seem like marketing strategy is everything except what it should be to impact your results.

Marketing strategy is not branding guidelines. It’s not a technical assessment of your current website. It’s not only target personas, though personas are an element of marketing strategy. It’s not a listing of marketing tactics to be delivered. It’s not a content calendar, nor is it a review of all your current outbound marketing.



What My Mother Taught Me About Inbound Marketing

Who Knew Your Mom Was An Inbound Marketing Guru?

I know that Mother’s Day was yesterday, but our mothers could use an extension. They put up with our antics for years and years, so let’s give them an extra shout-out.

Who knew your mom actually knows something about inbound marketing? Well, she does.

There is a whole host of lessons your mom has been trying to teach you that apply directly to inbound marketing. In fact, if you follow her teachings, you’ll notice an improvement in website visitors, social reach, leads and even new customers.

Give it a try. Honor your mother by applying these top-notch lessons from Mom.



The App Needs To Be Considered An Inbound Marketing Tactic

Inbound Marketing Is Changing, And So Are The Tactics

As marketers, we should be working with prospects the way our prospects want to be working with us. Today, companies are using digital marketing and apps as much as they’re using their websites. In some cases, the lines are so blurred that you can’t even tell them apart.

For instance: Want to do banking? Click on the app, not the website. Want to buy something? You can use either the app or the website. Need to manage your account? Log into the app, as there is no website.

An app is a marketing tactic that keeps prospects engaged, keeps them coming back, delivers real value and solves real pain. And, with 50% of users gaining access to brands via their devices, let’s face it: Apps work better than even a responsive website.



Marketing Strategy Is Still Holding Back Progress On Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Requires Planning If You Want Results

We talk to so many CEOs and VPs of marketing who want to move to inbound or have tried to do so but are still challenged to see results that we started looking around to identify what might be holding them back.

While we certainly have our own theories on what the major issues are, we were surprised to find the following data from Smart Insights. This research shows that the leading factor limiting the results from digital marketing is lack of integrated strategy and planning. In fact, 27% of the respondents identified this as an issue.

In addition, 23% of them felt that their siloed teams were holding them back, so you could make a case that almost 50% of the companies running digital marketing campaigns are missing key strategy and planning components. That makes it an epidemic in our minds.



How Inbound Marketing Helps You Lean Into The Trends

Inbound Marketing Allows You To Adjust As The Markets Change

The pace of change in business today is breakneck. Almost every area of the business is trying to be nimbler, allowing you to respond to market opportunities. Marketing is no different. The way we do inbound marketing today is probably 50% different than it was last year at this time.

You want your marketing team and the way you execute marketing to be agile. You want to be able to adjust and respond. Inbound marketing is one of the only marketing methodologies that actually supports this agile nature. Let me show you how.



How Is Inbound Marketing Different Today Than Last Year?

How fast is marketing changing? What we do today is 100% different than what we did last year!

Inbound marketing and marketing in general are changing so quickly that it’s challenging for even an inbound marketing agency to keep up.

The change is coming from two places. First, as an agency, we’re changing what we do to innovate and deliver better results for clients.

Second, the tools are changing daily. That means how we do what we do has to change, too. This makes keeping up very difficult.

If you’re running a marketing team in-house or you’re responsible for marketing but using outside resources, this becomes even more difficult.



If Your Inbound Marketing Isn’t Working, Check Marketing Strategy First

Diagnosing Poor Inbound Marketing Performance? Check Strategy Before Everything Else

It’s the last week of February. Perhaps you’ve been running an inbound marketing program for the past two months. You hoped to get off to a quick start in 2016, so you proceeded with inbound marketing tactics for the past seven weeks. You’re looking at results, and they seem less than you expected. Now what?

First of all, you might need to be a little more patient. Sometimes inbound tactics take upwards of 90 days to show real results. But, there might be something else that’s holding you back. The biggest mistake we find when CEOs come to us for assistance is a weak or non-existent inbound marketing strategy. You might be executing the right tactics, but you could be missing a major element that’s present in every single successful inbound program: marketing strategy.