Inbound Marketing Methodology Evolution | Kuno Creative

The More Things Change: How Inbound Marketing Methodology Has Evolved (and How It Hasn’t)

By Bridget CunninghamJul 20 /2023

The inbound marketing methodology has never been at a standstill for long. Much like the flywheel that HubSpot uses to underpin it, momentum behind inbound marketing is constantly rotating as new priorities, strategies and tools come to the forefront.

But that’s not to say that the inbound marketing methodology is completely new. Alongside these shifts in the rotations are staples in the inbound marketing process that have been and continue to effectively energize efforts.

Let’s explore how the dynamics in inbound marketing methodology have changed, while paying homage to trends that have withstood the test of time. Think of it as a merge of the old and new into one comprehensive playbook.

Gated Content Takes a Backseat, Retargeting Efforts Increase

Gated content has its time and place in inbound marketing — a proprietary state-of-the-industry report being one example. But it wasn’t too long ago that a focal point of inbound marketing methodology was to entice leads early on to trade their contact information for an eBook or case study. The reason for this shift is two-fold: People are becoming more savvy with the email campaigns and other communications that follow form fills and marketers are bound by tighter data privacy regulations that make them more hesitant to collect information in the first place.

Rather than hiding the value of long-form content behind a form, a new mindset is to serve valuable information to website visitors upfront, leveraging this activity toward retargeting tactics. As a behavioral health EHR provider, you could create a content piece that highlights key strategies for growing a mental health practice. Then, once someone visits the page, retarget them with display ads that promote a case study featuring a practice that was able to boost their profits with the provider’s solution. The move down the funnel feels more natural to users and they get more value while being asked for less.

Trading Manual Support Workflows for Automated Chatbots

While chatbots have been around for years in one form or another (cue Microsoft’s animated office assistant, Clippy) what was once seen as a gimmicky (and buggy) sidekick is now seen as a valued contributor to inbound marketing methodology. Technology has advanced to the point where chatbots are no longer restricted to providing generic information to prospective leads. They are capable of handling detailed queries, and because of that they can handle entire conversations with leads almost 69% of the time.

In an age when prospective customers place more emphasis on convenience, chatbots meet leads where they’re at. In a matter of seconds, a product case manufacturer could verify a lead’s interest in a custom design and then, based on the quantity of cases they need, route that person to a product specialist or ask for additional project details without manual intervention.

While a means to attract new leads, chatbot workflows can also serve to delight current customers. The same product case manufacturer could provide an option to track an order, so customers can easily monitor the progress of their case without making a call or having to mess around with an app.

The Push to Create Even More Personalized User Experiences

The inbound marketing methodology has always advocated for creating personalized content and experiences for your target audience. But as the inbound marketing space becomes more competitive, it’s not enough to lean on a bird’s-eye view of the buyer’s journey to guide your efforts. Marketers need to drill down even further into individual website experiences to identify the types of content they want to see and experiences they want to have. In other words, when website users “talk”, it’s important to listen.

Much like the recommendations Netflix serves up based on shows we’ve watched, you can create custom experiences based on the behavior users exhibit. Say a visitor comes to a temperature monitoring provider’s website and visits the construction industry page. You can use this behavior data to add relevance to retargeting ads. What was once a general message of protecting your assets is now one of keeping your construction and equipment safe — with the ability to highlight case studies that resonate with that field.

And We Can’t Talk About Trends Without Acknowledging AI

You can get too far into the inbound marketing conversation these days without mentioning AI — specifically tools like ChatGPT. With a whopping 100 million users two months after its launch, the AI chatbot has infiltrated the world of inbound marketing, supporting marketers in their content creation, email subject line optimization, and other efforts. But ChatGPT is a double-edged sword: competitors can use these similar inputs to produce similar results.

The rise of ChatGPT circles back to a staple of the inbound marketing methodology: quality over quantity. Rather than writing a blog post that lists the top five trends in SaaS onboarding, why not host a Q&A with an industry thought leader and get their take? Or, you could run a poll on LinkedIn and use the results to add depth to your blog content. It’s this kind of thought leadership and data, alongside real-world examples, that are key to standing out in an increasingly crowded, increasingly artificial space.

Pivot With the Right Inbound Marketing Partner in Your Corner

That’s the thing about inbound marketing: it can seem like a lot of change is happening fast. But the heart of the methodology has stayed the same: delivering value in the right context to inspire action. If you're unsure about how to proceed or what changes you need to make, consider posing some inbound marketing consultant questions to guide your path. It’s just a matter of leveraging new strategies and tools to get the flywheel spinning even faster.

Kuno Creative can help you do just that. Before making any hiring decisions, it’s essential to know what to look for in a potential partner. Delve deeper into the world of inbound marketing agencies by exploring common mistakes people make when hiring an inbound marketing agency. Our knowledgeable team of experts work collaboratively with you and for you to keep your inbound marketing efforts current, agile, and one step ahead of the competition. Request a consultation to talk about your inbound marketing approach with us.

Storytelling in Marketing

Bridget Cunningham
The Author

Bridget Cunningham

Bridget uses her journalistic experience to successfully engage with technical minds. Prior to Kuno, she managed the blog program and assisted with social media efforts at COMSOL, a high-tech engineering company that offers multiphysics software solutions.