Some 75 guests attended AZIMA’s October program where they learned about the role of inbound marketing and the latest trends in the segment. Dan Tyre, who is a founding team member at Hubspot, an inbound marketing and sales platform, shared his insights into the marketing trends. He started with trends in days of yore, and pointed out how the average customer considered the salesman as “He-Who-Knows-It-All” and was the go-to person for shopping insights.
With the advent of social media, the voice of the consumer is becoming stronger than ever. A customer with a laptop and Google is now a better critique than the balding salesman. The change in buyer behavior is what has led to the growth of inbound marketing at breakneck speed. Dan highlighted how marketing has developed a lovability problem. Cold calling is no more a resort for healthy sales, with a conversion rate of merely 1-3%. Some 86% of viewers skip TV ads and 91% of us do not shy away from unsubscribing to unwanted emails.
This calls for an integrated technique that aligns Marketing and Sales, or as Dan calls it, “SMARKETING”. The saturation of the traditional marketing techniques has led to marketers looking inward, at inbound marketing. One of the main channels to deploy these techniques is blogs. The new age marketer understands the value of goodwill, which is what these blogs accumulate. Their new motto seems to be “Don’t sell it to them…help them buy it.” If you help people, they come back to you. Blogs are the penultimate means to do that. Inbound marketing is thus chiefly targeting blogs, podcasts, and eBooks to feature the adverts of a company’s products. They have fresh content and are a reliable source of information for the consumer. Additionally, they are reflective of buyer personas. Using innovative platforms, inbound marketing converts better, closes quicker, costs less and gives a company a competitive advantage.
One of the leading trends in inbound marketing is inbound sales. Marketers control 65% to 85% of the sales process. New age tools can gather data about which page a person is viewing or if a marketing e-mail was opened or sent to spam. Marketers can take this data and create inbound leads. A whopping 80,000 leads per month originated from such tools. This brings us to another important trend of ROI and attribution reporting.
70% of all blog leads are from old articles, thus showing that inbound marketing has higher ROI. Inbound marketing also is working on making the content SMARTer. It can use the IP address or the type of device to change content (such as language or currency) or to improve the display. It can interpret cookies of a consumer to check which stage a buyer is in and update the marketing strategy. However, there are some potholes in this seemingly dream marketing scenario. The privacy of buyers is sacred lines that ought not to be breached. And as always, there has to be a consciousness of how much to put out there, to stop the content from overwhelming the potential customer.
On a parting note, Dan Tyre gave advice for all CEOs to increase their customer base. “Fire two of your least performing salesmen and hire a marketer,” he said. In the interest of their well-being, I hope they kept their jobs, but with the growth in inbound marketing, there is no saying when that may cease to be true.