Inbound Marketing Evolution
For inbound marketing, and I guess given your background also being a CTO, how have you seen technology impact the world of inbound marketing?
It’s really been a phenomenon, right? At the highest level, the technology has empowered customers, prospects, and consumers to take control of the buyer’s process, whether it’s individual consumer purchases or in a large organization that’s making a B2B buying decision.
It’s no longer as nicely controlled by our own marketing teams as we, at least once, thought it was.
Exactly. You could always kind of control that conversation when they first talked to sales. But now they’re doing so much of that beforehand. I think the technology has also allowed us to better track and gain a lot of the data around who’s coming in, who’s touching the information, and through what channels. I guess from your perspective with marketing becoming more data driven, how do you see this focus changing inbound marketing?
Ideally, it is a virtuous cycle. As the buyers takes control of the process themselves, the one thing we have going for us is because now most of those touch points are happening in digital channels we do get some visibility into it happening. We’re getting metrics, we’re getting these insights. The software we’re able to leverage as marketers is making it easier and easier for us to aggregate that information, associate it with these individuals, and be able to really use that to tailor how we work with buyers on the terms they’re both explicitly and implicitly telling us they want.
Along those lines, what have you been seeing that’s working well?
I’m a big fan of quality over quantity. One of the challenges we’re wrestling with is just the sheer volume of content and messaging that is out there in pretty much every field at this point. There’s a lot of competition for that attention. To the greatest possible degree, we can be using our creative talents as marketers, combined with the targeted insights from the data dimension of this, to say Ok, it’s not about cranking out five blog posts a day, it’s about putting together the right materials targeted for those specific segments we’re going after.
It’s going find its way up into their field of view, when they look at it and they get it, they’re like, Wow, this is great, these people know what they’re talking about.
I guess, in some ways, my philosophy is that one of the best business partners we have as marketers is our head of sales. A lot of what we do is amplify what they do. They can only do it at a one to one, and we get to do things at scale.
On the flip side, one thing we’re good at as marketers is learning from trial and error. We throw things out there, we experiment, sometimes we fail, and we learn from it and move on. It’s always nice when we can learn from other people’s failures so we don’t have to try them on our own.
From your point of view, what have you seen not work well?
You said one of the magic words for me around experimentation. Just a few minutes ago, I was espousing to you that I’m a strong believer in quality over quantity. But the truth is nobody should take my word for that. Every business has its own dynamics of how it resonates with its particular target audience. And if there’s one thing the technology has really provided as a gift to us, as marketers, is we now have the ability to very easily test, to do A/B testing, to say let’s run this as an experiment.
And it really becomes what you said at the beginning, it’s the sort of data driven approach. In some ways it takes a little bit of the pressure off of us of having to always be right about our gut. It’s an experiment.