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Inbound Marketing: what? Origin, methodology, and philosophy

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Few sectors are as dynamic and changing as the online marketing. That is why often arise new concepts that are not always family for those who do not work in this area. This is precisely the case of the inbound marketing.
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In providing a first definition on it, is very important to bear in mind that it is not only a methodology, but also a philosophy that determines the way in which a company manages their marketing actions.
In few words, might say that the inbound marketing consists of a number of marketing techniques aimed at increasing the number of visitors who register a certain web page, a blog or a profile on social networks, in order to that end up becoming leads (i.e., records or coupons with the data of those who have been interested in the content online from the company). From here, marketers will be working with this information, in order to prepare the users to know the company well and end up becoming clients.
However, the inbound marketing encompasses a far more complex reality, and that is which is summarized below. The reading of this article, we will have an idea more clear and precise about the subject that concerns us, and that is destined to revolutionize the world marketing in the short and medium term.

A bit of history

Before joining fully the characteristics of inbound marketing, it is worth knowing its origins. The concept was coined in 2005 by Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot marketing software company. However, the truth is that it is you popularise years later, coinciding with the publication of the book Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, signed by the own Halligan, Dharmesh Shah (one of the creators of the company) and David Meerman Scott. An excellent public relations campaign driven by the authors would end up giving the final push to this new way of understanding the marketing, which would soon be implemented in a large number of companies.
The following chart shows how it has been evolving interest in this idea, since its inception and until the present time:
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However, it would be unfair to attribute all the credit to Halligan, Scott has been one of the major influencers of this methodology. A decisive factor was the publication of his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR, which exposes how the marketing and public relations thanks to the ecosystem 2.0 tools - fundamentally, blogs and social networks - have established on the Internet over the past decade have evolved.
In any case, there is no lose sight that, as indicated at the beginning of this article, the inbound marketing combines equal parts a methodology of work and a philosophy about how to understand online marketing. In the following sections, we'll discuss in detail these two variables.

The methodology

Contrary to what might seem, the inbound marketing is not a technique, but a methodology which coordinates various marketing techniques and which is based on five pillars:
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( 1) attraction of traffic. This form of advertising is articulated through various resources and supports online: for example, blogs, podcasts, videos, eBooks, newsletters,whitepapers, optimization techniques for engines of search (search engine optimization or SEO), social media, marketing, content marketing strategies... In any case, the key to success is not limited to carry out these techniques, but to coordinate them. Although all of them are necessary to create a channel of organic traffic more and more visited, as well as social profiles that look to grow your number of followers, its true effectiveness is plotting a strategy that can work all these aspects together.
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( 2) conversion. This aspect includes processes and techniques that are used to convert web traffic in a data base, essential to get any action from inbound marketing to fruition.
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( 3) marketing automation. After having obtained (or acquired) database, is the time to start two techniques aimed at work with this information: lead scoring and lead nurturing. Let's see what.
  • Lead scoring refers to the assessment of the level of qualification of leads (i.e., how it is possible to know which contacts are those who are closer to formalize a purchase). In other words, is what allows to measure the temperature of the coupon on its intention to acquire a product or service, and at the same time, knowing how changing the posture of our potential buyers. We will understand it much better with this image:
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  • Once the lead scoring, comes the turn to start lead nurturing. This concept refers to a series of actions to get closer to potential customers the benefits of a particular product. It is therefore essential to have a technological solution that enablesmonitoring of the behavior of the records in the database (for example, using platforms such as Hubspot, Marketo or Eloqua).
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Now well: How does this interaction between the users and the company? There are numerous ways to do this: returning to visit the corporate web site, by opening an email that it has commanded them, retuiteando a content posted by the company... Certainly the possibilities are varied, since they include all the points of contact between the users and the brand.
Fortunately for marketing professionals, these behavior of users on the network can be monitored thanks to technology. Two specific ways to achieve this consist in analyzing the activity of the user in social networks, on the one hand, and tracking cookies, which are small files sent to a web site and are stored in the user's browser. Thanks to them, the company that has sent them can access the previous activity of the surfer.
A very useful way of streamline and systematize this tracking is to create rules. For example, if a person carries more than four weeks without visiting a particular web page, marketers can send you an email automatic, aimed only at her. Hence, this type of initiative is known as marketing automation. Its objective is clear: generate systematic actions that allow to a potential client back to interact with the company and that end up buying any of their products and services.
Another case would be that of a user who enters the website company and retweet one of those contents. From here, the company can choose to automatically send tweets that might be of interest to this person, or contribute to the ultimate goal of lead nurturing: the database leads become customers.
( 4) loyalty. In any case, the inbound marketing not only aims to get customers. It also focuses on other aspects, among which are the following:
  • Keep the customers satisfied.
  • Provide information that may be useful to them.
  • Take care of those leads that, despite that will never become customers (e.g. lack of purchasing power), follow all the news about the brand, and can therefore become prescribers of the same on the Internet.
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( 5) synchronization. The main challenge of the inbound marketing is not the things that needs to be done, but how it must be done. To better understand this affirmation, we could compare it to a factory which, in this case, feeds with content quality and which, instead of physical products, must check out customers. And as with any factory real, if your gears are not well integrated, performance which will give us the inbound marketing is not desired. For this reason, the true value and the secret of this form of marketing is well organize all of the above techniques. Something which, however, it is not always easy to get.
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Here is where the real importance of agencies specialized in inbound marketing, like us,InboundCycle, they know how to put these parts correctly and, therefore, how to achieve the expected results. In addition, this is a great savings of time, money and resources for the company that you want to promote, since hiring a specialized firm will not need to acquire multiple knowledge and skills required by this methodology.
And this is not the only advantage. In fact, companies such as InboundCycle have a research and developmentDepartment, which allows them to apply to all projects having launched any discovery that will help to improve this methodology.
To better understand all aspects, our guide you can download for free.

Philosophy

When he tries to explain this aspect, up to very recently has tended to compare the inbound marketing with other apparently opposite way to promote a product or service: the outbound marketing.
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Based on this scenario, you could say that the inbound marketing accommodates all marketing techniques considered pull, i.e., that attract users to the company naturally (e.g. interest content published on blogs or web sites). It's a little aggressive procedure, to the extent that is has come to designate as love marketing.
In contrast to this model, the outbound marketing uses techniques of advertising and marketing that interruptive, may be since they provide the user information not requested (as happens with the issuance of a notice in the middle of a sports broadcast). In the world of marketing, these actions are called technical push .
In this presentation, you can see the main differences between the marketing inbound and outbound marketing.
However, experience has shown that both modalities are not antagonistic or exclusive, butcomplementary. In this sense, no lose sight that the inbound marketing, besides being a methodology that gives excellent results by itself, allows you to get much more juice to any other online marketing techniques, including those of outbound marketing.
That is why it is important to work the inbound marketing in parallel with other traditional forms of marketing, even though, over time, you can get to replace them completely.

Build a channel of recruitment

One of the factors that determine the effectiveness of the inbound marketing is the construction of a channel of recruitment, which is a strategic issue for the consolidation of any business. Indeed, must not overlook the fact that this is the means through which it can market products and services. Forms realized are different, since this channel can consist of a network of shops, prescribing or commercial agents, among others.
Until the emergence of the inbound marketing, there was a systematic enough methodology to mount a channel on the Internet. Now, this mode gives rise to the creation of four marketing assets will belong to the company and that they also replace your conventional advertising support. Thus, the inbound marketing allows:
  • boost a web site with increased organic traffic.
  • you have profiles on social networks becoming more dynamic and more followers.
  • expand the database of the company, and not customers, but people who have a commitment to the brand and with the contents it generates and disseminates.
  • create a brand (i.e. make branding).
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We see in a very graphic way what does it mean to build an own channel. To do this, consider a person which love apples, and which aims to have its own Apple. One day, you decide to plant this tree, but from that moment you will have to water it and care for it so that it may give fruit. But meanwhile, you must keep going to the market to buy apples.
This situation is identical to that occurs in the world of marketing: when a company lacks an own catchment channel, must hire external advertising. This will help you to promote your company on social networks profiles, which will help to expand its database of people interested in the brand. From here, and through automation, the company will get to turn leads into customers.

The future of the inbound marketing

As it happened with the concepts of SEO or SEM, the inbound marketing has not only here to stay, but it will reach high levels of popularity, since it responds to the need to create a channel of recruitment.
In the following graphs generated by Google Trends, shows the evolution of the popularity of the two designated terms, and how it has been consolidating in recent years:
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This online register the results of a recent report by HubSpot and corresponding to 2013. According to this research, nearly 6 of every 10 companies marketing around the world (in particular, 58%) have already incorporated the inbound marketing into their strategies. Also, the budget dedicated to this type of action has increased about 50% in the last year.
Two facts that, far from being a bet blindly by the marketers, responds to the greater effectiveness of the inbound marketing to other conventional techniques. In fact, while companies surveyed say that 22% of their leads come from actions based on the outbound marketing, this percentage grows to 34% in the case of inbound marketing strategy. In other Word, this already contributes to organizations 1 of every 3 of your potential customers.
And that is not all: according to the surveyed companies,inbound marketing has helped them to double rates of conversion of leads to clients.
Therefore, it is evident that this way of understanding the marketing is no longer an option, but a subject liable for those companies wishing to win customers and, of course, retain the existing ones. All of this to improve the effectiveness of the actions taken with respect to traditional techniques. Although these will coexist for some time with the inbound marketing, you can hardly reach do you shade, if we ignore the numbers and the perception of marketing professionals. In short, an invitation to be in full-fledged
Published for educational purposes

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