A few days ago, I downloaded an eBook from one of the big marketing automation platforms. The eBook was a brief compilation of successful B2B marketing campaigns. About 24 hours later, I got a call from a marketer with the company. I didn’t pick up but she was nice enough to leave a message and a follow up email. Since then, she has called two more times and sent a few more emails hoping I can give her a few minutes of my day to see how she might be able to help me. Unfortunately, I don’t any need help at the moment.
The Inbound Marketing buyer’s journey, teaches us of the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service, this journey includes an Awareness stage, a Consideration stage and a Decision stage. However, it isn’t everybody that interacts with your brand that’s on this journey. Three unique types of people interact with your brand, they are; the researcher, the competition and the prospect (only the prospect goes through this journey).
As a Digital Marketer, I’m constantly doing research so when I see an eBook that has compiled successful B2B marketing campaigns, it’s a definite read for me but not because I’m interested in switching from my current marketing automation platform, instead, because I’m interested in knowing how to create successful marketing campaigns in more ways than I already do. If in the process of going through your eBook, I garner some interest in your service (which is unlikely), you’ll easily know this because I’ll return to your website soon enough and actually start my journey.
Hubspot defines Inbound Marketing as an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive, so leads can find you through channels like blogs, social media and search engines and you can convert these leads to paying customers using call-to-actions and marketing automation not cold calls and spam.
These days however, the internet is flooded with boring low value clickbait optimized and labelled ‘content or interactions’ that in an effort to get clicks rarely contribute to business goals. So when businesses talk of how they are able to use Inbound Marketing to go from 0-200 leads in months, it never really tells the entire story. They should instead be talking about how they grew from 0-10 clients in the same time frame. Because different people measure leads differently, we can rarely measure success by the number of leads generated. Some marketers might tag someone as a lead because they downloaded a certain eBook or white paper or a certain number of eBooks and white papers, others tag someone as a lead because they opened 3 or more emails and clicked a link. No matter how you define or tag a lead, the problem is that leads don’t earn revenue for a business, customers do.
Downloading an eBook that covers strategies B2B companies have used to find success should never be the reason you receive a call or an email from a company, unfortunately this happens too often these days. Inbound was meant to nurture leads and take them through a journey without being interruptive. Unfortunately, it has become a game of leads – unwanted calls and spam email. Marketers have forgotten that the real reason Inbound gained traction in the first place was because of its ability to reach people at the right time with the right message.
A 2017 Meaningful Brands survey released by the agency group Havas found that 60% of the world’s brands create “content” that’s declared as poor, irrelevant or failing to deliver. This is simply because most marketers are desperate to generate leads, they create subpar content, give it a catchy title and use clickbait methods to get emails and phone numbers.
Inbound needs to become Intuitive to survive. Marketing Automation is probably the best thing to have happened to Inbound but it can also be very destructive. With the technology available for marketers today, a marketer doesn’t need to call or send numerous email to a ‘lead’ until they’re sure the lead is at least in the consideration stage.
While a lot is measurable and trackable, the funnel isn’t always tidy, straight lines do not exist in marketing, and the Inbound Marketer needs to know how to differentiate someone on the buyer’s journey from someone who is just making a pitstop