Nikita and I have worked with the inbound marketing methodology for years. We are believers, the choir and the preacher rolled into one. BusinessBrew’s belief is to put the customer first and work all marketing activity around them. Real success for us is when the customer centric approach spills out of marketing into other departments. So when we compare inbound vs digital marketing, inbound has a much wider impact. And then we see it: Inbound Transformation.
Let me start by saying that I’m neither a Gartner analyst nor a great creator of graphics. What I am is a marketer who looks beyond campaigns into how marketing can help grow an organisation. Keeping that in mind, check out what inbound transformation looks like to me:
Right in the centre sits our customer experience. Put your customer hat on for a second and think of at least one purchase you’ve made and paid more for because you prefer the experience in that particular shop. Yes, customer experience will take over price and brand as key differentiator.
Persona & Buyer’s Journey
“No persona = No joy”, if you’ve spoken to BusinessBrew you will have heard this one. If you want to truly understand and know your customer, you need to have a persona profile of them.
Knowing your personas isn’t enough. You need to understand how they buy and make decisions along their journey from awareness to consideration and finally purchase decision.
These two vital elements wrap around your customer and represent your understanding and commitment to knowing who they are.
Inbound Marketing Methodology
Inbound transformation generally begins in marketing teams who are frustrated with the lack of results coming from digital and traditional marketing. By applying the inbound marketing methodology and building strategy as well as reporting around the four elements (Attract, Convert, Close and Delight), many marketers have transformed how they operate. Instead of pushing messages out and interrupting their target audience, they speak the language of their defined personas at a time that works for their personas.
Finance, Sales, Customer Service, Operations
An entire organisation can benefit from the inbound marketing approach and we’ve outlined a few examples in our graph:
Leveraging personas and the data gathered from the content they consume, product teams can learn and innovate. Close collaboration with marketing to integrate surveys, betas and other product innovation strategies to the right people at the right time will provide stronger insights.
Risk & Control
Data is the key to forecasting and analysing trends. Inbound marketing delivers a new set of data outlining the correlation between visits, leads, customers and repeat business. It is useful in understanding seasonal changes, how and where budget needs to be allocated and prepare sales with accurate predictions on marketing and sales qualified leads.
Here we are considering the delivery of your product or service including how you support customers. The distribution of a product (how it is shipped, packaged and communicated) should clearly match your persona expectation. Similarly any service experience should do the same. Support channels are plenty, is your persona ready for Slack or should your phone number be front and centre? Through the persona, buyer’s journey and data gathered from inbound marketing campaigns, delivery teams can gain valuable insights and create a better experience for customers.
The Harvard Business Review found that an increase in customer retention by 5% results in an increase in profit by 25% to 95%. Return visits, repeat purchases, word-of-mouth and recommendations, opportunity to cross sell and upsell, the list goes on. Without a solid relationship your customer services and sales teams will not be as successful in the long term as they could be. Inbound marketing offers insights into behaviours, opportunities to encourage recommendations, campaigns to support upsells and recurring revenue. However, it needs to be integrated in a solid customer marketing strategy.
Inbound Marketing is an organisational choice
Inbound marketing affects all aspects of your business. This makes it an organisational choice rather than a marketing tactic. Many businesses start within marketing and quickly see how the inbound thinking goes beyond. Our advice, if you can’t work on the transformation on a business level, start in marketing and tie in your sales teams right from the start. They will benefit from understanding personas better and will appreciate working on more quality leads. Take it step by step from here, involving product teams and operations as and when you think the time is right.