Beginnings are also Endings
Of old ways
...of doing, of being, of seeing.
Soft echos of the past encroach new directions
Creating webs of Resistance
...to movements forward.
Change is imminent
Ennui or perceived stasis lock steps
So begin to move...
'Tremblings' will vibrate perceptions
Shake-out old understandings
Into new realities
Transform Yourself and Thrive.
Chelsea Clinton, Keynote at Hubspot Inbound 2015 highlights worldwide data on women's rights and her work with women and children around the world. . Chris Villani's recent article in the Boston Herald highlights Clinton's remark: “We have the largest refugee crisis ever, even more than after World War II,” Clinton said yesterday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. “That’s something we need to at least pay attention to.”
Mari Smith offers keen insights and proven ways to generate more traffic, leads and profits for your business. She truly 'gets' how to engage and understands that the more helpful you are when you share, the more connection, rapport and success you will build as you grow your community.
Are You Engaged? The Modern Marketing Ecosystem Has Irrevocably Changed
Accelerating Internet engagement at all levels of the value chain has fundamentally transformed business, the marketing landscape, and the way people search, find, discover, connect, and share information and perspectives. There's been a Seismic shift. The Evolving Marketing Ecosystem & Emergence of Inbound Marketing is making a huge impact
Smart Marketers Agree. Findings from an online survey of 1,000 US marketers conducted for Adobe Systems, Inc. by ResearchNow (see :DIGITAL DISTRESS: What Keeps Marketers Up at Night? Report) 76% percent think marketing has changed more in the past two years than the past 50.
In the “brave new world” of empowered B2B and B2C customers, 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is done digitally. Potential prospects enjoy instant access to a wealth of information about products and services. They have increased expectations for their interactions with companies, and expect businesses to address their needs and interests in real-time via multiple digital, mobile, and social channels.
While traditional push marketing techniques (advertising, direct mail, trade-shows, etc.) which proved effective in previous decades experience reduced efficacy, new marketing methodologies such as Inbound Marketing (IM) have emerged to engage the new paradigm, re-balance the ecosystem and fill the gaps. According to Sirius Decisions, over 70% of all demand generation will come from inbound marketing strategies in 2015.
IM employs a strategic marketing approach, where businesses implement tactics to “get found” by potential prospects online through a myriad of channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, platforms like YouTube, search engines and blogs.
With billions of web pages at their disposal, searchers actively research increasingly personalize information. Those that convert into “prequalified leads”, using an IM methodology are nurtured via a “personalized” relationship building process and are subsequently integrated into the sales enablement cycle when they become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
Since 2006 (when Brian Hallagan first coined the term and founded HubSpot with Darmesh Shaw) Inbound Marketing’s importance and processes have continued to scale alongside a plethora of marketing automation solution providers and feature-sets.
“Through marketing automation tools, companies are able to create a consistent brand message across all channels and find ways to bring their messages to new customers while also maintaining relationships with their current customers. These tools are primarily used to acquire leads, but they also integrate lead management with marketing analytics and digital lead tracking.” (Venture Beat Marketing Automation Index, March 2014).
Common features of these automation tools include:
Why Inbound Marketing?
“ …every marketing organization must view its inbound efforts as absolutely critical to success at all stages of the buyer’s journey. Do not ignore the role of inbound marketing at later stages of the buyer’s journey, and be sure to look for gaps in the resources available to support buyers looking for validation rather than education. Regardless of stage, marketing must be vigilant in reviewing what’s really happening online and why. From search to content to contact identification, much can be done to understand what works, and where there are gaps in online execution. Build in resources and budget for regular adjustment, or risk losing your share of the 67 percent to competitors who stay on top of changing buyer needs.”
Megan Heuer Vice President and Group Director, Data-Driven Marketing, at SiriusDecisions - See more
What is the Inbound Marketing Methodology?
Inbound Marketing methodology involves the art of creating and sharing remarkable visual, written, video and other content in conjunction with an iterative scientific approach to engagement, education and measurement.
The science of converting visitors to you website into leads includes nurturing those leads through carefully constructed calls to action, A/B testing landing pages and valuable content offers. These elements drive conversion toward sales-ready customers as they move through the sales cycle.
"Meeting prospects WHEN they want, WHERE they want, with WHAT they want."
Marketing by attracting, not interrupting.
Inbound marketing is the discipline of efficiently turning strangers into people that want to -- and should -- do business with you.
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.
Marketing automation is often thought of as just software to help nurture contacts more efficiently. It consists of email, workflows, lists, and social tools that work with a large database of contacts to nurture them down the funnel.
But there's more to it than that. Marketing automation done right the "Inbound Way":
Inbound marketing is about delivering the right content in the right place at the right time, thus creating marketing that people love. Instead of interrupting with cold calls and interruptive ads, inbound marketing attracts people to your website when they’re interested in finding a solution (yours) to their problem. Inbound marketing has four key parts, each leading into the next in a seamless flow:
1. Focused and optimized websites, blogs, targeted keywords, and social media that attract visitors instead of interrupting them with annoying marketing messages.
2. Smart websites convert these prospects into leads using calls-to-action to highlight high level content, forms to gather information in exchange for that content, and landing pages to convince people of the content’s value.
3. Prospects are assisted through their buying process using email and nurturing, lead scoring and follow up workflows, and closed-loop reporting to close those leads into customers.
4. Customers are delighted when smart content and mobile social media marketing delivers personalized content that keeps them engaged while delivering ongoing value for the life of the relationship.
Companies who are focused on driving increased revenue for B2B companies embrace the new marketing ecosystem, integrate inbound marketing and inbound sales to create results .
Inbound Marketing – Drives engagement and attracts leads, embracing the emerging the digital reality and markets.
Books with agendas, such as Beyond Branding , edited by brand consultant Nicholas Ind, are part of a growing trend in political, economic, and social action coalitions to forge change. Using a multifarious marketing approach to selling the book’s message and the contributing writer’s ideals (via the web, in blogs, consulting, and public speaking, etc.) the writers brand their own perspectives with the “beyond branding” movement they’ve launched. Overall, the book presents a compelling story concerning the need for a collaborative effort among social, political, corporate, and consumer stakeholders to address world needs through the metaphor of the brand. However, I tripped on my way to supporting the book’s mantra as I read Alan Mitchell’s contribution “Beyond Brand Narcissism.”
Mitchell starts his chapter with a mutually agreeable quote by Doug Daft, CEO, Coca-Cola. “You must guard against not only complacency, but also narcissism – the temptation to stare into the mirror when you should be looking out of the window. Our business is not about understanding our brand. It’s about understanding people.” However, I move away as Mitchell begins a brand-bashing diatribe. Lashing-out at brand managers and corporate leaders (the very people he will need to engage to make change) seems counterproductive. Mitchell compares brand management to narcissistic personality disorder (quite a leap), and limits brand manager’s professional perspectives to self interest (p.37).
I don’t buy his logic. He uses weak assumptions to build his case for “brand narcissism” as a systemic disorder. He tacitly pulls Peter Senge’s systems thinking theory (without context or examples) into the fray as supporting evidence, and fails to convince.
However, Mitchell pulls me back into his argument, as he discusses branding’s role as a naming device which helps buyers and sellers create win-wins by streamlining communication. He admits “to suggest that somehow brands are ‘bad’ to be ‘against brands’ or to predict the ‘death of brands’ is simply absurd” (p. 39). Instead, Mitchell blames the problem of brand narcissism on structural, operational, motivational and methodological causes. However, he misses, or dismisses human hubris and situational ethics.
Mitchell goes on to say that cracking the clutter and crowding problem of “look at me” brand positioning lies at the heart of finding a cure for brand narcissism (p. 39-40). His argument rests on how modern companies create value. Stating that companies are inwardly focused to survive economically (based on traditional industrial-aged thinking), however, is not modern business thinking. I concur, there is an intrinsic need for the marketing process to include customer/consumer costs in the equation. The brand offering should also focus on what the consumer truly needs or wants versus manufactured images created through manipulative marketing and advertising practices. I agree with these points, but Mitchells pervasive bashing of marketing practices is irresponsible, unfair, and undermines his message.
Marketers are presented as predators that manipulate and shape naïve consumer purchasing practices. My personal experience with such brands as Gerber, Disney, Cole-Haan, Nike, Blue-Cross-Blue shield, Sears, Samsonite tell me a different story. The well established science of understanding consumer behavior, for example, studies how, what, when, and why people buy. It is not a manipulation process. Professionals study individual and group consumer dynamics and characteristics in-depth (demographics, psychographics, and behavioral variables) in an attempt to understand people's wants, needs and perceptions. Consumers migrate toward the pop-culture/fashioning of their times. Behavior is situational, can be influenced, sometimes even mandated.
Mitchell’s assertion that profit is king in corporate “countries” who operate as selfish fiefdoms may be true in certain instances---especially when organizations are trying to survive beyond market demand, or take advantage of sole position. “Once value extraction becomes the purpose of brand building, branding loses its original raison d’être- the win-wins that made it valuable in the first place” (p.45). Corporations that do go this route become “seller-centric.” Mature businesses who engage in this practice they often do not embrace the changes needed to address the market demands. As a result, they often falter or die (Ford Motor Company’s current dilemma). Mitchell’s message looses luster as he overstates the obvious and incorporates derogatory metaphors such as “mind-cuckoo marketing” to hatch his ideas.
I agree, that much like our world culture, our current marketing system is undergoing profound change due to the ongoing communications revolution based on the accelerating affects of information technology. Mitchell fails to capture my imagination, however, with his simplistic revelation regarding the emergence of consumer advocacy (p.50). I realize he is selling the message of the books purveyors and their own emerging “business,” but this enlightenment reaches beyond the pale of what is palpable for me to consider. Advocacy, like Ralph Nader, is not new news.
Mitchell unravels his argument as he expunges current processes and announces a radical branding paradigm shift. In my view, he oversells his cause. The changes taking place may be more a result technological innovation, and political, social and economic development than a seismic shift.
Ind, N. (2003). Beyond Branding: How the New Values of Transparency and Integrity Are Changing The World of brands. London: Korgan Page.
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