Maybe I've missed them, but I'm surprised more articles haven't popped up like this. I think Jon did a good job of bringing up some very valid points - all of which everyone should at least be familiar with.
Personally, I admire HubSpot for what they've done to educate people on online marketing. However, I absolutely side with Jon on a lot his points.
At the end of the day, businesses need to do the proper research on their audience and their market and then tailor their strategies to what works the best for them - inbound, outbound or both.
Kudos to Jon to voicing what a lot people have been thinking, but not saying - at least not yet.
Agreed. Great article and I love the open debate.
My general position on this: Organizations should seek the "optimal" mix of marketing (i.e. solve for effectiveness). The thing that bugs me is that *thousands* of businesses are still blindly spending money on outbound marketing, despite the fact that effectiveness has been going down over time. They haven't legitimately tried inbound marketing to see if it works.
The points raised were good ones but I fail to see how they are relevant. I have never once seen HubSpot claim to be the be all and end all of online marketing. They simply educate people and provide tools to effectively use Inbound as a part of a marketing campaign.
Indeed the points are all more or less true and I was also familiar with them. Still there was nothing that convinced me to dismiss the inbound marketing term or philosophy. That said I won't rebrand myself as an inbound marketer because to me the whole Internet marketing thing is incomplete too. Optimization in contrast isn't just about money and sales.
This! This! This!
Pretty close to what I believe is true in the industry right now & this whole thing about "I'm an inbound marketer now."
P.S.I bet this post will make a ton of people uncomfortable or even angry... let that be...
I totally agree with this, Hubspot popularized the term to indirectly benefit their marketing products.
I completely agree with Jon i.e. "Use whatever works for you and helps you make money. In most cases, you’ll find that it’s a combination of different strategies and tactics – outbound and inbound."
Completely agree with Jon and I don't fault HubSpot. The term is moderately useful for stirring up conversation by way of contrasting new ways with old. It will pass.
A not irrelevant aside, should bring in a big batch of links to the Squawk site, so the piece is a good example of an inbound marketing tactic.
Incomplete? Sure. But is "completeness" a goal you want to chase?
Cost-effective? Depends if you've made it work for you.
HubSpot are hypocrits? Sure, they're doing all kinds of marketing, but I'm sure their split of new leads they can attribute come mostly from inbound sources.
I definitely agree so far as Inbound Marketing being expensive. It costs a lot of time, a lot of "politics" and often a lot of outside or in-house help from creatives to produce effective inbound marketing.
HubSpot *had* to draw a line in the sand, and as the article said, they did a good job there. But behind the 'attitude', they're money's where everyone's mind is - is this marketing making me money?
Incidentally, email marketing where it's a permission asset, the prospect has come to you first and it's a mutually beneficial relationship I'd definitely class as Inbound marketing.
Yeah, the "hypocrites" label bugged me a bit. We've never said that 100% of an organizations marketing needs to be inbound (though that would be great). We just think people should at least measure their current marketing spend and chances are, they should be shifting some of their allocation to inbound. It's just good business.
And, in terms of serving our self-interest, the HubSpot base of customers is a tiny, infinitesimal fraction of the total market. We have about 9,000 customers. Sure, we'd love to get more, but we believe we've invested a disproportionate amount of energy into helping educate the industry. We can be faulted for a lot of things, but I don't think being hypocrites is one of them.
"HubSpot are hypocrits? Sure, they're doing all kinds of marketing, but I'm sure their split of new leads they can attribute come mostly from inbound sources."That's, um, well that's just a real assumption there. Hubspot sell an inbound marketing tool, they're always going to play down other customer acquisition methods. I'm an SEO, but I'm pretty sure Enterprise level clients don't start their search by typing 'SEO COMPANY' into Google. There are plenty of verticals where SEO isn't the best marketing option, and ironically SEO is one of them. Don't mean I'm no good at SEO, or that my clients don't see any value out of of my work. Same for Hubspot. I think this taps into a wider lesson here - As good as most of the content shared in our little community is, it's very important to remember that every single word of it was written with some form of agenda in mind, and that agenda probably wasn't 'giving competitors helpful advice'. SEO is being rebranded as 'Inbound' for a reason - that reason being that those three letters have a big old reputation attached to them, and in certain boardrooms portraying yourself as something different both undercuts the competition and distances yourself from it. It's fantastic marketing, but that doesn't mean they're not going to optimise the site or get links when the contract lands.
Just to provide a little context to this. At the heart of inbound marketing is truly understanding your customer (personas) and meeting them in the channels they are most comfortable in. For example, this is from our latest State of Inbound Marketing 2013 report (http://www.stateofinboundmarketing.com/)
"For example, an integrated marketing team would use inbound marketing philosophy to frame all
its marketing efforts. At heart, this means developing a unified marketing front aligned around
serving and delighting customers, using personas to develop thought leadership content, and then
promoting it through your various channels working together – from social media outreach, to
automated email nurturing campaigns, and even occasional PPC campaigns used to promote
specific campaigns. "
I think people have been saying this Vinny - especially after getting aggressive Hubspot sales calls ;)
This kind of reminds me of the debate sometime ago about whether PPC should have a place here or not. Some felt it didn't fit into the philosophy of what 'inbound' meant. Some thought it did, especially if it was being used as part of a broader campaign.
Now we have people bagging the term 'inbound marketing'.
You know what? Who cares?
Well, actually, it seems many of us do. I care because the phrase 'SEO' has been run down by dodgy amateurs, ignorant journalists, and is being bastardised by an onslaught of new techniques and technologies. Sadly, it might need rebranding. It's damaged.
SEO is SEO, and it will always have a place in the marketing mix for a long time yet. But does SEO=inbound marketing? Not exactly.
Unfortunately, what many business require is more than just SEO. So now we have SEO people/agencies moving more and more into the realms of marketing, and marketing firms offering SEO services, and often neither side transitioning effectively.
Many businesses require multiple disciplines within their digital marketing strategy, and that is where a term like inbound marketing is attractive, and potentially useful.
The focus should be on doing what works, and what will work (i.e the old 'moving to where the puck is going to be' metaphor). Do what works. Ditch what doesn't. Don't get hung up on labels, especially labels that are confusing or overly obscure. Yes, that may include the trendy labels too.
Whilst I agree Hubspot has been doing a very good job pushing their products and promoting the term Inbound Marketing, its not doing negatives for the industry Thank you. I think the people who do the sales should also do some research on the people they reach out too. I have been contacted a few times by these "International Hubspot Sales People" asking me to run the software? To be honest why do I need training and software I already have??? What is HubSpot going to teach me that I do not already know? The thing is I notice many local people starting up "Inbound Marketing Agencies" and claiming to be "Inbound Marketing Experts", they have just done a few weeks of "HubSpot training" and now think they can run the world. I have reviewed their websites and they are hiring uni students to do the SEO, Content Writing and Social. Theses businesses are "HubSpot endorsed" members!! Now good luck to them all but in the end of the day will it REALLY get results? Its not like you can plug in a software and boom results, things take time people do not have time to learn things they want some one else to do it for them!!!But overall I do not think Hubspot is a bad thing, I mean its promoting SEO/Social so in the end of the day its a win win for every one, I just think using the "Hubspot Methodology" to do Inbound Marketing is not needed, you can make up your own ideas and methods to do inbound Marketing correct? I can do my own Inbound Marketing.
I'm highly likely to be ignored here as for most I might just be a nobody, but even as a self-confessed n00b of inbound marketing (yes, I like using the term not because I was influenced, but because I thought it was more proper and encompassing of specific things that I do and have been learning about), I am a bit confused and somewhat feels irate with people outing others for using it (that's how I comprehended the article). Pardon my limited English vocabulary and industry knowledge but I hope I'd be able to express my point. Here's my two cents. I came to contact with the term on an article I've read a long, long time ago. I didn't even know about Hubspot nor whoever coined it back when I started using the term. I just felt it was a proper phrase. Technically, inbound marketing would mean marketing approaches to pull people. It even puzzles me more to think: Isn't part or a goal of outbound marketing to pull people as well (convincing them to come to you)? Would it mean that outbound marketing is actually within inbound marketing? I probably need more enlightenment.
Also, the articles goes with the title "Why Inbound Marketing is Incomplete Marketing" but about or more than 50% of the content seems themed into bashing Hubspot than actually explaining "Why Inbound Marketing is Incomplete Marketing". Maybe I wouldn't understand. I've never ran a business or a company. As far as I know, Hubspot only claims to be a "complete Inbound Marketing software". Note: INBOUND, as they defined it. Not "complete marketing" as the author seems to put it. To quote them: "Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be." I think they never tried to completely dismiss "outbound marketing". I wonder how people would react if some other individual or company coined the term first. :)
Thanks for this open debate.
I Am not completely agree with what Jon pointed in his article.
Because, Hubspot is doing a great marketing with 'Inbound Marketing' term. The term Inbound Marketing is getting branded by Hubspot only, so all the credits goes to Hubspot only. Other should find new ideas to beat them.
Hubspot does a great job. I don't believe they've ever said that businesses should have an 'inbound only' strategy. Not sure why they're getting blasted here.
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