What’s Stopping Your Inbound Marketing Program?

inbound marketing programConsider these astounding numbers:

  • 60% of companies will execute inbound marketing strategies this year.
  • Marketers allocate 34% of their overall budgets to inbound tactics – 11% more than they dedicate to outbound strategies, like banners, direct mail, and more.
  • Inbound marketing budgets are increasing at a near 50% pace.


  • Inbound delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads.
  • 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing efforts.
  • Inbound marketers spending more than $25K per year save an average of 13% in overall cost per lead and more than $14 dollars for every new customer acquired versus those relying on outbound strategies.

With statistics like these, as reported in HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing 2013, you might think inbound marketing will be an easy sell in your own organization.

Not always…

As HubSpot’s 2013 report found, inbound marketing is largely a “marketing-focused tactic.” In other words, while most marketers say they do inbound, only 17% of sales teams and 11% of executives lend their full support to inbound marketing efforts. IT is least supportive, according to the data, with 31% of enterprise marketers reporting their IT teams are unsupportive of inbound.

Where’s the Disconnect?

It doesn’t feel pressing.

With so many priorities on the list of CEOs, salespeople, and IT alike, the most urgent priorities rise to the top. Those priorities don’t always include marketing, let alone transforming the way marketing is done. For marketers, our priority is to continually improve the outcomes of our programs. This is what we think about day in and day out. So it seems obvious to us that the digital era, which has changed the way customers buy, creates a pressing need to transform the way our organizations sell.

The correlation doesn’t feel direct enough.

Sales people are conditioned to think in direct correlations between a marketing activity and sales response.  A cold call leads directly to meeting which leads directly to a sale.  A mass email leads to a response which leads to a sales call.  An advertisement leads to a phone call which leads to a sale.  Unfortunately, in the digital era where customers drive the buying process, these outbound techniques don’t work like they used to.

  • 44% of direct mail is never opened.
  • 86% of people skip through television commercials.
  • 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.”

With inbound marketing, there is generally not one single activity that results in a sales-ready lead.  Inbound marketing is an approach, not a tactic. It’s a series of events that brings customers closer to a company, moves them further down the sales cycle, and nurtures them to the point that they become sales-ready. Traditional thinkers want to see how a blog post or a social activity in and of itself will drive leads or sales. But it just doesn’t work that way. Marketing has changed.

It’s not a quick fix.

Often we find organizations in panic mode, where the need for immediate results leads to shotgun decisions. We need to do something so let’s purchase a list and blast out an email.  Successful inbound execution requires an end-to-end marketing transformation. And that can take time.

Being customer-centric is easier said than done.

I love this quote from HubSpot: “The heart of inbound marketing requires turning the lens away from a rigid, product-based strategy and toward solving your customers’ key challenges – and delighting them with insight and education along the way.” Inbound marketing, at its core, is about putting customers and their best interests first. That’s easy to say. But it’s harder to do.  

There’s still a divide between sales and marketing.

Let’s face it. As marketers we still haven’t closed the divide between our sales counterparts. We too often have different priorities. Different philosophies. We are measured by different outcomes and timeframes. We point fingers. Because of this, our attempts at affecting change and gaining their support for our inbound transformation suffers.

Inbound marketing is a philosophy and structure that drives how businesses will attract customers in the next decade. It integrates the strategies of delivering quality content and “delighting customers” throughout every facet of the business—not just the marketing department.

If your organization is still struggling to make the leap, Spark inbound marketing agency is here to help. Give us a ring.  

About the Author

Cristi is president and founder of Spark Inbound Marketing, an inbound marketing agency dedicated to high quality content creation and smart strategies to help companies attract more visitors and leads.

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