Reflection: why inbound marketing isn’t (always) enough?

Collaboration – 17 December 2012

In the world of B2B on the net, inbound marketing has become the subject of attention and jealousy to the point where no one knows if it’s the means to the end of the end itself. Worse, inbound marketing may hide the importance of other tactics that are just as important concerning success on the web.

According to the website Définitions Marketing, inbound marketing is the principle that a company follows so that its prospects or clients will come to the company, naturally or spontaneously, upon delivery of useful information or services through a relationship marketing policy (free translation).1 In other words, inbound marketing is about “being found on the web” and for that to happen, a multitude of channels should be used: website, blog, social networks, wiki, etc. Not wanting to discredit in any way this kind of strategy, it’s important to put it into perspective and challenge it a bit.

The question to ask is the following: can inbound marketing alone always be the gauge of success for a company?

Personally, I don’t think so. A company can try to have a significant presence on various social networks, but if it doesn’t have a good e-reputation or if it’s not seen as a strong authority in the industry, then profits for the company will be very limited. This is typically the case when popular brands are victims of scandals: in situations like this, companies may try to have optimal inbound marketing, but they won’t really benefit from this strategy during the storm. They may even prefer not to be found at this time!

On the other hand and on a more “methodical” note, considering other variables like e-reputation, perceived authority or brand image may be more advantageous for the company.

In conclusion, to give inbound marketing its full potential and to guarantee it has the greatest impact possible, this strategy must be used along with other tactics such as e-reputation, authority and brand image.

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