We recently attended Hubspot’s #Inbound12 Marketing Conference. There were 2800 marketers talking about what is working now in marketing. There were lots of great presentations with exceptional content. Here are 6 thought-provoking ideas that reallystood out for me:
Marketing needs to step up to the plate
Marketing is at least equally, if not more, responsible for sales than the sales department. The research is in. People go on-line to look for products and reach out to the sales person much later in the buying process. Companies exceeding their sales objectives can show that over 50% of their closed sales leads start from the marketing folks. Companies failing in their sales objectives find that only 10% of their leads are coming from marketing. Referrals and introductions from satisfied customers are still optimum, but when it comes to new sales, the majority of leads are coming from marketing activity.
Nurturing is Key
Successful companies today are keeping the leads longer with the marketing group before sending them on to sales. They are nurturing the leads until they determine what problem the prospect wants to solve and that the prospect has a time frame for solving it. Until this is determined they send e-mails containing calls-to-action (CTAs). Calls-to-action are things like white papers, webinars to learn more, discount offers to act quickly etc. If the lead does go to sales and it is not sold, it is returned to marketing for further nurturing.
The Definition of Inbound Marketing
“Value-added offers positioned to the right target audience in places they already are”. Nowadays, marketers need to be where prospects are looking. Giving them the options to learn more about the product, download a white paper, and/or be contacted by a sales person is much more effective than reaching out to them through advertisements. People no longer listen to many ads on TV and radio.
To reach your target market, develop buyer personas. Think about who buys your product, what titles they have, what is the buying center, what challenges they face, how much they earn, where they go on the web, what they respond to and this will show you how to reach them. For example, if you sell software to IT departments, think about the people who buy, what are their interests, if they are more responsive to video or technical white papers and you can develop a roadmap to reach them.
Customers Trust Internet Strangers
People are listening to the people they trust and read online. Four years ago, only 10% of surveyed B2B customers said that they relied on people they read on-line over family, friends and colleagues. This year, 40% of responders said that they relied on advice from trusted people they read on-line. With the proliferation of blogging and recommendations on Twitter, more and more customers are listening and relying on people they do not know personally.
Inbound versus Outbound
Inquiries generated via inbound activity perform better and cost less. Inbound is much cheaper than outbound marketing and the difference grows over time. Think about it. If you use advertising for a month, and then stop, how much residual benefit do you get? You need to keep advertising to keep getting new customers. If you develop an inbound strategy, your community grows over time and relies less on paid efforts. They continue with you because they feel connected and are part of your community.
These are just six insights. And right now, I am only reviewing my notes so cannot attribute all of the above ideas properly but want to thank David Meerman Scott, Jay Gaines and Lori Wizdo for the information they shared that I included above. Next week all the attendees will receive a link to the slides shared at the conference. So, if you want more information on exactly what the research was behind this, please comment below or send a direct message via @chiefoutsiders and I will get that information to you.