I've been on the road participating in the HubSpot Executive Playbook Seminar the past few weeks presenting an inbound marketing case study to marketing executives in Boston, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco. It's been a lot of fun meeting and talking to many of you about your experiences with inbound marketing and fielding many of the common questions you have. Many of you share the same concerns, so I thought I would summarize the top three questions I'm hearing and offer my answers.
If you research the topic, you will find the work of Adele Revella and Tony Zambito most revealing. Importantly, you want to develop a strategy for engagement with potential buyers that helps them reach their goals, not yours. Buyer persona is NOT a customer profile you can put together simply by interviewing sales reps. Buyer persona IS a deeper understanding of motivations and behavior that helps you understand the entire buyer journey and map out a strategy for reaching and nurturing your buyers. What approach do we take?
It sounds impossible, but it can be done. We hire brand journalists who have some very specific skills and experience that enable them to accomplish the mission:
The job of the brand journalist is to translate the essence of the interview into a story that engages customers. What's the connection between brand information and buyer pain points? Develop a cohesive story that addresses one of those connections and make it interesting. It really doesn't matter whether the subject matter is technical or entertaining. What matters is that it causes the reader or viewer to take an interest and take action.
Marketing minds can certainly disagree about what is "inbound" vs. "outbound." The classic inbound methods, website, blogging, SEO and social media, are at the core of a long-term strategy for attracting new visitors and qualified leads without reaching out to them directly via paid campaigns. That's one of the key points of the Executive Playbook—leads from these inbound tactics are more likely (and faster) to close as customers than those obtained via outbound marketing tactics, such as email, PPC, social media ads and the full spectrum of print and media advertising. Why? Because they are already "invested" by virtue of your outstanding content when they first convert. Having said that, classic demand generation via more outbound tactics still plays an important role, as long as it's done the "inbound way."
There are many more questions being asked by marketers like you. As HubSpot says so eloquently at the beginning of the Executive Playbook, we are in a period of fast transition in the marketing world. We must stop pushing our brand message and start helping our customers (the new brand). We don't have to abandon traditional tactics, but we do need to understand our buyers and help them achieve their goals through marketing.
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.