Inbound marketing is a hot topic in B2B marketing. However, as more B2B marketers grab the inbound marketing flag, many will miss the two keys to making inbound marketing effective:
- Be found through the recommendation of others.
- Delight those that find you.
According to Hubspot, a leader in inbound marketing, the definition of inbound marketing is “marketing focused on getting found by your customers.” The most common functional definition of inbound marketing is the combination of search, social and content.
However, in a day when content mills and automated curation tools use content to drive search and social traffic, these common definitions of inbound marketing fall short. Here are other activities that can easily masquerade as inbound marketing:
- Paid search? It definitely is “marketing focused on getting found by your customers,” and it is an effective marketing tactic, but it isn’t inbound marketing.
- Social media? Collecting likes and followers to broadcast your content too can drive traffic through social channels, but it misses the heart of the social opportunity in inbound marketing.
Marketers today have layered so many activities under the inbound label that new inbound marketers may completely miss what made inbound effective in the first place!
Michael is right with his assessment, but only if we first redefine inbound marketing to strip away the outbound mindset that is beginning to pervade it.
Here is the inbound definition we need:
Inbound marketing is marketing focused on being found through the recommendation of others and delighting everyone that finds you. [Tweet This]
In 12 B2B Marketing Predictions for 2012, I predicted an increase in inbound marketing failures as B2B marketers jump on the inbound wagon. I believe marketers that focus on the definition above will be spared those failures.
Does this definition of inbound marketing capture the opportunity or do other elements need to be added? Share your perspective in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
This definition means changes! I will outline a new functional definition for inbound marketing, adding additional key components and expanding on the role of search and social in inbound marketing, in the next post on inbound.
Update: 5 Key Elements of Inbound Marketing, the followup, is posted here.