As marketing director, you’ve done your research. You are certain that inbound is the best way to market your company going forward. But even after you’ve had conversations, presentations, and even built excitement amongst your colleagues, you’re still spending your time creating magazine ads and laying out proposals. Why is inbound marketing buy-in so hard to accomplish? From my own experience, here are a few reasons I’ve seen.
First and foremost, change is hard. Doing something new requires vulnerability. You need to be a novice at something before you can be advanced, and being a novice kind of sucks. A company will put off a change as long as they can. And they can put it off until the alternative to change becomes the worse option.
Fear of Transparency
Inbound marketing is transparent. It means a brand will need to be constantly communicating with their audience. There is a lot of fear centered around showing too much, or saying the wrong thing, and getting a negative reaction.
A lot of businesses are afraid to show themselves wholeheartedly.
What happens if someone leaves a negative comment? What if we didn’t do enough research before posting something? What if we get negative reviews? What if they hate the real us?
With a complete inbound marketing strategy, you have solid results that are clear as day. You can see what is working and what’s not, and that could mean waving the white flag on a campaign you’ve worked really hard on. If it’s not working, you have the evidence to let it go, but that means admitting it didn’t work the way you had expected it to.
Lack of Resources
When you start with inbound marketing, positions may change, or you may need to hire different types of employees to fill the needs of the strategy. This means a lot of leg work for the company that they may not be too thrilled about.
So how do you get past all this?
Understand your company.
To make a decision like this, you really need to have a handle on your company’s financials. You need to know how they’ve brought in sales in the past. What has worked, what hasn’t worked, and why. You also need to know what your company’s goals are, and most importantly, why they’ve set those goals. This takes a solid amount of trust from your company’s leaders, but it’s a necessity for anyone who is in charge of marketing, no matter their strategy.
Do your homework.
Learn as much as you can about inbound and how it works. There are tons of resources that give solid statistics about inbound. Go further and read case studies and find out how an organization earned their success.
Don’t got it alone.
If you can find an inbound agency that you trust, don’t be afraid to collaborate with them. Get your leaders in a room for a workshop with the inbound agency. The agency will be seen as an outsider and marketing expert, and could get some points across that you haven’t been able to (even though you’ve been telling them for months).
Don’t just tell them, show them.
If you have the resources, run a small scale inbound campaign and track your results. Something as simple as an email marketing campaign with tracked results can really paint a picture for what is possible. Numbers don’t lie. Show them what it would look like if the results you got from your small scale campaign were the same for every marketing action your company takes.
Research your competitors.
Download a browser extension called Ghostery, and see who is already doing inbound among your competitors. Look for applications like HubSpot, Pardot, Infusionsoft, and Marketo. If there are others, research them to gain insight on the tactics they are using. Beating out competitors can be the ultimate motivator.
Let them realize it – don’t drill it into them.
Don’t become a broken record. If you find yourself repeating your inbound pitch over and over, you need to find another way. Ask questions, uncover their goals and their struggles, and lead them to inbound as the answer.