Inbound marketing and marketing automation go hand-in-hand, but let's first ensure we are defining the differences.
Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get a prospect’s attention. "Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content." (Source: Wikipedia)
Marketing automation "refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks." (Source: Wikipedia)
So, in essence, marketing automation is a tactic or tool of inbound marketing.
What are the qualities/mindset required for success?
Inbound marketing and lead generation today is oftentimes a paradigm shift for marketing and sales teams. Where marketing teams often cannot track the return on investment of their efforts, they now can. Conversely, sales teams often look at the marketing department as collateral support. Today, the inbound marketing team is really “pre-sales,” where they deliver leads, qualify leads, nurture leads and hand “sales-ready” leads to the sales team. This allows the sales team to spend more time building relationships and closing sales.
What is required is a formal arrangement between sales and marketing to ensure they are both working on the same goals, same buyer personas, demographics and geographies. Sales and marketing must share the same vernacular and data to ensure they are working in harmony as the findings and experiences of both teams are critically important to the success of the campaign.
Inbound marketing is multi-faceted with a variety of skill sets required for success. An inbound marketing team is often comprised of: marketing strategists, writers, graphic designers, social media mavens, email marketing specialists, search engine optimization specialists and website developers. Additionally, you will need a way to distribute your marketing messages, track successes and acquire data from your campaigns.
Marketing automation software is the most efficient way to manage your campaign(s). Popular marketing automation software solutions are: HubSpot, Marketo, Act|On, Pardot and Eloqua. Without the tools and resources to execute a comprehensive campaign, your results will be diminished significantly.
Inbound marketing for lead generation takes time. Don’t expect immediate results. Oftentimes a company first needs to set up their digital marketing ecosystem, including: a website built for lead funneling, social media channels and followers, marketing lists, buyer persona development, landing pages, blog technologies and mobile responsive design solutions. Once these properties are set up and systems are integrated, leads will start to come in, however, leads need to be analyzed for quality and strategies and tactics must be modified for success.
In summary, inbound marketing is highly effective when implemented properly. Your organization must be prepared for doing things differently for growth, especially in the areas of sales and marketing. Patience is key, but as long as you have marketing automation software and are leveraging its capabilities, you will be able to acquire, analyze and manage data for continued success.
For another blog post about inbound marketing, check out:
Using Inbound Marketing to Get Your Sales Team Talking to More People
For another blog post about marketing automation, check out:
Marketing Automation & CRM: A Match Made in Heaven