Let's get down to brass tacks. You have to spend money to make money. You have to invest in digital marketing (at least 2.5 percent of revenues) or your competitors will outperform you. If you don't believe me, check out this post. If you don't build a strong inbound marketing team complete with strategists, content creators, designers, technologists and analysts, how will you generate new revenues? Traditional advertising? Direct mail? Trade shows? How well have those initiatives worked out for you lately? It's time to start planning for the future now. Here are a few key things to think about:
Going digital isn't enough. You can't just pump out content to the blogoshpere and social networks and expect to get results. It doesn't work that way. You have to find your buyers where they pay attention and provide value to them—something that gets their attention and provokes them to take some form of action, like downloading your content or attending one of your webinars. You need to formulate an effective inbound marketing strategy around:
Budget implications: Initial strategy sessions ($10-20K), ongoing strategy reviews and project management ($5K/month).
Next to strategy, content is king in inbound marketing. Success is totally dependent on the quality, targeting, relevance and persuasiveness of your content. Once your content strategy is in place, you need a team of talented brand journalists, bloggers, graphic designers and social media people in place to provide that consistent flow of demand generation and lead nurturing content. Without that investment, you will struggle to grow brand awareness, thought leadership and qualified sales leads via inbound marketing. Period.
Budget implications: $5-10K per month for sustained growth, $10-15K per month for aggressive growth.
This is the "outbound" part of inbound marketing where you are reaching out to people who aren't already in your contact database. Email marketing, PPC, social media advertising and native advertising fall into this category. The "inbound" way to do demand generation is to attract people to download top-funnel eBooks and avoid direct sales promotions. Most companies find they must provide adequate budget for demand generation to overcome the efforts of competitors and generate substantial numbers of new qualified leads.
Budget implications: $2-5K per month for sustained growth, $5-10K+ per month for aggressive growth.
This part of the budget includes marketing technology software, such as HubSpot and Salesforce.com, as well as experienced personnel to operate marketing automation software, manage and update the website and provide insights and reports. You will probably need at least one full-time marketing technologist focused on marketing automation and CRM and one web designer/developer to keep the website up to speed.
Budget implications: $10-15K per month for best results.
Of course, all of these numbers are approximate and will change based on specific industry, regions, markets and corporate plans. Are most companies meeting these guidelines? That's doubtful; however, most surveys indicate digital marketing budgets are on the rise across the entire spectrum of company sizes and industries. As CMOs learn more about the nature and best practices of inbound marketing and content marketing, these budgets are likely to grow even further, since the primary benefit of inbound marketing is its ability to deliver qualified sales leads more efficiently than outbound methods while being 100 percent measurable and accountable.
Can you lower these costs by outsourcing to an inbound marketing agency? Well, there's only one way to find out.
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