In reviewing some market statistics for my upcoming webinar for the TIAA, I came across some findings that readers of Inbound Marketing data would find interesting.
Let’s start with terms. Inbound Marketing, the marketing strategy, in our HubSpot world is powered by the technology of Marketing Automation. In a search for an overview of the various players in the Marketing Automation Ecosystem I also discovered that there are several ways people refer to the technology. The term Digital Marketing Hub is used by Gartner in their January 2016 report. They also refered to Lead Management CRMs in their August 2015 report. To further complicate the issue, we run into people who think of Inbound Marketing strategy as content marketing, which to me is a component of Inbound Marketing.
All of this can be confusing to a business leader new to the field. Adding to the confusion are the dozens of technology solutions involved with services related to Inbound Marketing. These include advanced email solutions, search engine marketing, web analytics, social media tools, seo and more. This report from Venturescanner.com links to over 900 companies. Ouch!
What should you do as you are trying to understand if Inbound Marketing is the right fit for your organization, and if it is, what are the next steps?
1. Contact a few of the leading players to have them explain and demo their solutions. Ask for case studies of industries similar to yours. For small business, look at Infusionsoft, based here in the Phoenix Valley. For SMB wanting to scale, look at HubSpot, which Alaniz Marketing represents. For larger organizations start with Marketo, then Pardot or Eloqua. All of these companies are well established, meaning their offerings are proven and supported both by the vendor and by a network of trained partners. There are, as mentioned, hundreds of smaller companies with innovative offerings.
2. Touch base with peers in other industries who may use Inbound Marketing for their organizations. What have they learned?
3. Balance the decision of whether to implement Inbound Marketing against your long-term goals as well as short-term lead generation and customers acquisition. Also balance the investment against the cost of other options.