Inbound Marketing for B2B: Discussion Recap

Join #B2BChat on Twitter every Thursday at 8:00 PM EasternInbound marketing is a clear trend in B2B marketing. In fact, Sirius Decisions, a research firm focused on B2B markets, predicts more than 75% of leads will be sourced through inbound channels by 2015.

What are the key challenges to B2B inbound marketing, how does inbound marketing change the type of content B2B marketers need to create and what tools are critical to inbound marketing?

These are some of the questions discussed during #B2Bchat on March 15, and I had the privilege of moderating. Here are my key takeaways from the discussion.

1. Content is the Core Challenge

This conclusion does not come as a surprise, content has been identified as a leading challenge in multiple B2B marketing surveys in recent years. The discussion highlighted three specific areas where content is challenging B2B inbound marketers.

  • Content Development Resources. Multiple participants said getting the right people to create content was a key challenge, either internal or external.
  • The New Inbound Marketing Content Requirements. Rallying an organization accustomed to producing product information sheets, webcasts and white papers around creating content that is optimized for search, easy to consume, timely and worth sharing is a difficult organizational change.
  • Timely Content is a Key Opportunity. Many content development practices are moving towards an editorial calendar, however it is critical to maintain flexibility and continue to encourage publishing timely content.

2. Marketers Have Only Tapped the Surface of Inbound’s Potential

Steve Cassady (@stevecassady) shared a great example of using targeted social media to trigger conversations (his example is included in the chat summary below).

I believe marketers are only beginning to tap the potential of applications like this. As the tools that are available become more powerful, we will continue to hear of new ways marketers are applying inbound marketing.

3. Tools have not been Standardized

Particularly in social media, there are a plethora of tools with significant potential, directly as an element of an inbound marketing program or as tools for management. However, HubSpot is the only provider that is widely recognized as a provider for inbound marketing.

Tools like IFTTT, Hello Bar, Scoop.it, GetCurata and many more offer interesting applications for inbound marketing, but awareness and adoption of any individual tool is so low that many inbound marketers are not even aware of the things tools make possible today.

Join the Discussion

Join #B2Bchat every Thursday at 8:00 PM Eastern time on Twitter. Follow @B2B_chat for announcements of each week’s topic.

A summary of the discussion is included below. You can carry on the discussion in the comments or share your thoughts with me on Twitter (@wittlake).


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About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lorraine.roundpeg Lorraine Ball

    Thanks for sharing.  I missed the call. Getting our B2B clients to find the balance between technical and conversational of inbound in their marketing is something we spend a lot of time working on.

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  • http://www.kevinmullett.com Kevin Mullett

    Point of clarification to number three. Hubspot is chiefly known as a provider of “inbound marketing” because they, and their partners, are the ones who coined this usage and are championing (marketing) the term. While that is certainly their prerogative, it is patently absurd to insinuate that they are the only ones providing services comprised of the principles or practices that inbound marketing is made up of. The tools have changed but the concept of providing value added benefit to the viewer/visitor, via any and all currently viable channels, to a potential audience, for the purpose of perpetual use, traffic, visibility, linking, et al, it is not new.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Kevin, yes, Hubspot has the advantage of driving the use of the term. I think the challenge when it comes to tools is Inbound Marketers use so many different small tools that there isn’t, outside Hubspot, a well known tool stack. That makes it challenging to share practices, hire inbound marketers that are will be familiar with your infrastructure on day one, etc. Many inbound marketers have a ‘personal blend’ of tools they use that aren’t widely known.

      I believe as we move to more standard toolsets, inbound marketing skill sets will be easier to hire for and to teach.

      Thanks for the comment and pointing out that my original paragraph wasn’t clear.

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  • Rachel Roussell

    Inbound V Outbound in B2B marketing – The debate….

    The debate is on about which is best. Why?
    Why choose one or the other, surely that is cutting your nose off to spite your
    face and surely you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket?
    Inbound and outbound marketing have the same goal and they shouldn’t be in competition. However, the winds of change are upon the B2B marketing world and social media plays a big part in that. We have no choice but to move with the times but we must still see the value in all the tools in our marketing tool kit.
    Let’s keep it simple and look at the facts:
    Inbound marketing is the process of helping potential customers to find you. Blogs, podcasts, video, ebooks, e-newsletters, white papers and social media marketing. The cost in media is minimal but it takes effort and time which costs money.
    Outbound marketing is to cast a large net and hope to catch customers. Email blasts,direct mail, out sourced telecommunications, trade shows, radio, TV and flyers. Resources are more expensive but it can take less time to get sales leads.
    To get the best result from your marketing investment involves thinking about what you are trying to achieve and ensuring that you have up-to-date information for your target contact. You need a value proposition that resonates with the
    prospect and a channel/mechanism for them to easily engage and buy your
    services/product.
    They say inbound marketing alone cannot drive the maximum revenue possible and it is challenging to build and predict. It is suggested that outbound can be seen to be old-fashioned and on its way out, so what do we do? We say don’t put all your eggs in one basket. We know inbound marketing is the way forward but there is still some value in outbound.
    The key thing is to analyse, get the lead, nurture and make the sale.

    Regards,
    Rachel Roussell

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Rachel, you have some good points here, but I’m not certain what debate you are referring to, the article isn’t a one-or-the-other perspective.