Practicing, not just preaching the inbound gospel

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By showing how their respective companies are making a difference, Kieran Flanagan (HubSpot) and Marcel Molenaar (LinkedIn) delivered the most compelling proof of the new marketing pudding. Last week both gentlemen spoke at the New Marketing 2013 (#NM13) conference run by ICT Valley in the Netherlands.

First of all, here’s a few examples of how HubSpot practice their own inbound marketing concept.

think like Oprah Winfrey HubSpot

Think like Oprah
Only 5 years upon its start, all-in-one SaaS company HubSpot generated 9 million visits to their website and a staggering 10 to 20% conversion rate. Not by advertising but by thinking and acting ‘like Oprah’ as Kieran Flanagan (marketing director EMEA) explained. By offering compelling content people love to watch, read and share. HubSpot have successfully adopted inbound marketing for their very own marketing as well.

Marketing grader as youtility
As a great ‘youtility’, Marketing Grader is a free assessment tool to obtain a first-hand analysis of one’s website. 4 million people sofar have used the tool generating more than half a million opt-in emails.

Sales and talent funnel
The state of inbound marketing is a recurrent, annual survey performed by HubSpot. In this year’s edition is to include the input of over 3,500 marketeers. This survey helps HubSpot to not only claim and sustain its ownership of the inbound industry and generate relevant leads too. Kieran Flanagan indicated this very survey was the primary reason for him to join HubSpot having worked with Marketo previously.  Inbound marketing can help not just boost the sales funnel, but enable to fill the talent pipeline as well.

Persona-relevant content
And yet there is nothing overly complex about inbound, Flanagan said. By putting the customer at the heart of the content creation process, companies are bound to generate more traffic and convert that traffic into more leads. Persona-relevant content is all there is to it. Inbound marketing helps marketing and sales professionals to ‘close the loop’ and obtain better insights in what drives what ROI. The inbound marketing process ranges from attracting more qualified traffic, converting that traffic into qualified leads by lead nurturing, closing sales and delighting customers by worldclass service.

Personally-relevant content
Persona-relevant content may sound like old-school segmentation to some. Kieran Flanagan underlined HubSpot is serious about the contextual personal experience.  Amazon is perhaps one of the best-known examples of a company providing a highly individualised web experience. Flanagan showed how Amazon tailors its content to fit to different people like eg HubSpot’s co-founders Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah and himself. Inbound marketing offers the same Amazonian promise.

Contextual content includes personalised email including reference to one’s company, role, interests and other relevant data. This not only feels better and is more customer intimate, yet also renders a 40% higher CTR/ click through rate. HubSpot’s inbound marketing platform also facilitates personalised follow-on updates. These ensure previously downloaded content is not shown twice to the same contact, as well as personalised landing pages to ensure optimal conversion rates. By the recent acquisition of Chime and PrepWork, HubSpot shows it’s adamantly pursuing its strategy of humanizing the B2B bottom-of-the-funnel dialogue.

Sales & marketing quota
The days in which only sales were held accountable are long gone. At HubSpot and all companies taking inbound marketing seriously, both marketing and sales carry tangible quota.

IT purchasing goes social
Marcel Molenaar, Head of Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn, explained how social media increasingly dominate the IT procurement process. 95% of all IT decision makers use LinkedIn in their buying process, whilst 45% use personal networks and 44% resort to microblogging like twitter. With 200 million users out of a 670 million global market of professionals, LinkedIn is well on its way to connecting most of the business community out there.

HP have understood how to shift their attention to best influence the IT influencers and decision makers. The HP company page on LinkedIn is a best practice by now with over 1 million followers. More importantly, these 1 million 1st degree followers open up a 42 million 2nd degree networks of likeminded peers. According to Marcel Molenaar, HP realizes 70% of the buying decision has already been made prior to coming to the shortlist of vendors.

Both companies constitute fine examples of new marketing beyond mere thoughtleadership: HubSpot and LinkedIn are truly practicing what they preach in inbound marketing and social media marketing.

I haven’t just selected these case by chance as this way too familiar to dutchmarq’s perspective on inbound marketing. We’d love to talk to you about inbound marketing yet we prefer to show you what benefits we’re getting out of practicing what we preach. If you want to know more, do drop us a note here. 

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