Published under: Agency, Hubspot, Inbound, Inbound Marketing

inbound-secretsI recently had a prospect voice the following objection concerning inbound marketing. This company felt that most of their prospective buyers were being reached through their email list of 40,000, many of which were unsolicited email addresses obtained from industry associations they had access to. Of course, this was problematic on the face of it.


Sending unsolicited email (spam) as a 'marketing effort' constitutes one of the most negative PR moves a company can engage in. Here in the 21st century, sending unsolicited email is tantamount to burglary, as you are effectively 'stealing' the recipients precious time required to process that intrusion into the proper folder. Anytime I receive an unsolicited email, I make a mental note of the company that sent it, unconsciously vowing to never do business with them. Unsolicited commercial email is spam, pure and simple, and each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000. Non-compliance can be costly. But again, the most costly aspect of spam, in my view, is the negative PR that it propagates. Sort of like shooting yourself in the foot. Ouch.

Back to my prospects' objection to inbound marketing.

What my prospect failed to understand was that regardless of how the prospective buyers learn of the company, whether directly from an intrusive email blast, a cold sales call from one of their sales staff, or through a Google search, the prospect will eventually visit their website if interested. Something facinating happens at this point.

In a new book which I hope to publish later this year, The Expert Factor, I investigate "a new form of must-have thought leadership that we either adopt to gain marketshare, or ignore at our own peril."

"With more information at our fingertips than ever before, each of us whether we realize it or not, wears the hat of researcher, analyst and salesman. Salesman? We all prefer to do our own research and sell ourselves, and the companies that readily provide the most authoritative information (to help us sell ourselves) win."

This is the essence of inbound marketing, providing the information that the visitor needs to be at once entertained, engaged and informed as he works his way through the sales funnel, on his very own.

Again, back to my prospects' objection to inbound marketing.

There is study after study refuting this objection to inbound marketing. Additionally, the velocity of change in this area suggests that laggards will pay a huge price trying to catch up.

The Corporate Executive Board Company, CEB, the leading member-based advisory company to Fortune 500 companies, teamed up with the Marketing Leadership Council to research and write The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing.

"B2B customers, progress nearly 60 percent of the way through the purchase decision-making process before engaging a sales rep."

Even if it is the sales rep who introduces the customer to the company through a cold call, that customer, if interested, will still go to the website to play researcher, analyst and salesman. Again, very much on his or her own.

Is there any surprise then, that organizations in every industry are shifting budgets away from print advertising, trade shows, cold calling and direct mail toward more measureable and effective inbound marketing strategies—fueled by content, social and data analysis—that cater to consumer needs? By 2016, Forrester forecasts interactive spending to reach $77 billion, up from $34 billion in 2011.

As a Certified Hubspot Partnering Agency, SQmedia also recommends some additional resources that magnify the importance and longevity of inbound. The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing report and the 2013 Marketing Trends report.

My prospects objection to inbound marketing could be the result of confused understanding. What's for certain is that hesitating to get started with inbound marketing is like missing the departure of a Tokyo bullet train. It doesn't matter that it left only seconds will never catch up.