Inbound Marketing, a weapon for your B2B arsenal

Lynda St-Arneault – July 8, 2011

Inbound marketing as we know it has been around for about 2 years now, but it’s only since the last 12 months that it has really become known among marketing specialists. At Exo Marketing, we’ve been exploring the subject matter since October 2009. We’ve analysed the benefits and tactical advantages that are associated with inbound marketing, and we’ve compared them to more conventional tactics.

What is Inbound Marketing?

It consists of tactics, tools (like blogs and websites), and technologies, organically integrated into a measurable mix where the name of the game is added-value content generation.

In other words, inbound marketing refers to the information and tools created and then put on-line by businesses to make available user resources (text, image, or video content) at various places on the web. Inbound Marketing signifies creating content and talking about it. It allows companies who practice Inbound Marketing to be found, to attract, to educate, and to generate leads at costs considerably lower than outbound marketing.

The purpose of inbound marketing is for clients to find you.

Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is interruptive, pushing messages to targeted audiences. This is the type of marketing that is most known. It consists of mass communications, cold-calling, printed and on-line ads, trade shows, spam, direct marketing, etc…

Nonetheless, it is important to underscore that inbound marketing does not replace outbound marketing. For example, many outbound marketing tactics are efficient and specific to certain steps in the acquisition and loyalization of clients. Inbound marketing is just getting started, but already it’s showing promise thanks in part to its ROI which is considerably superior to outbound marketing’s when it comes to prospect acquisition.

Measuring the global ROI of on-line marketing, particularly for social media, is still a challenge. But research continues to show us that certain components of inbound marketing, social media particularly, allow for finding leads at a lower cost. In 2011, average inbound vs outbound marketing costs are 62% less for the acquisition of prospects.

For example, if you practice inbound marketing, targeting becomes more precise, because only people who qualified themselves beforehand approach you. These people demonstrate interest for your content and are potentially interested by your products and services. This shortens the sales cycle on one hand, and on the other hand, the auto-qualification generates higher quality leads which equals to less time loss by the sales force.

Other convincing facts:

  • Companies who blog get 55% more visitors on the site.
  • 55% of companies that blog have acquired a new client because of that.
  • Blogging is the most effective social marketing tactic. This is directly linked to the popularity of blogs as platforms for optimized organic searches, as well as the blog’s inherent ability to retain the attention of the public.
  • Most B2B marketing professionals search for key-words and create pertinent content, in line with the subject matter that surrounds them. One of the most popular content platforms is the blog. It’s a given that blogging isn’t easy, but B2B companies should do it (because it works).

In my opinion, inbound marketing is not a trend. It’s an intelligent way to practice marketing. Inbound marketing is making inroads because it operates in a flexible and evolving framework, and mostly because it meets the needs of clients who are looking for information. Inbound marketing doesn’t impose its presence, it doesn’t interrupt, and it doesn’t usurp your attention.

Source: 2011 Survey research by HubSpot (76% of respondents were B2B professionals) and Marketing Sherpa 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report

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