Is inbound marketing just another tactic, in your arsenal of B2B marketing techniques?
If it is, then you're probably thinking about inbound the wrong way.
Inbound marketing is about more than a set of tactics you use to attract traffic to your website, generate leads and close sales.
It's a way of thinking, that needs to permeate your entire organisation.
When looking at the companies that are most successful with inbound marketing, there's a clear trend. They've completely embraced the methodology, and keep asking the question in all decisions they make: is this part of the inbound ethos?
- The customer service department is able to make reference to blog posts and premium content to more quickly resolve the most common problems customers face.
- The sales team send prospects insightful content during the sales process, to help educate and qualify them, impressing prospects and improving the sales team's effectiveness.
- The marketing team use their inbound marketing content in their outbound campaigns, to improve performance. They think not just about generating the most leads, or tricking prospects into performing a certain action, but helping them.
- Senior decision makers get behind the inbound methodology, and bring departments together to ensure that everyone understands how they can benefit by adopting inbound best practices.
Companies that have truly made the inbound ethos part of their company culture are acutely aware that the way people, and subsequently organisations buy has fundamentally changed. They realise that the inbound methodology is all about changing the way companies are run, to adapt to that process.
The internet has given buyers all the power. All of your prospects can search for anything they want, and consume any content they want, without having to talk to you. All of your customers can instantly share a bad customer experience with thousands of people via social media. That means it's not enough to keep doing business the old way: withholding information, and tightly controlling what you tell/don't tell your prospects and customers.
Truly inbound companies adopt a policy of transparency. Whether it's explaining in detail what happened in a security breach, and how you resolved the issue, or detailing what processes make your product better than your competitors'. At the moment, transparency is a competitive advantage. But it won't be long until it's the norm, and companies that fail to adapt to an inbound way of thinking lose the trust of their market, in the wake of their more open competitors.
Is your company really onboard with the inbound way of thinking, or just ticking another item off the marketing checklist?