Naturally, one of the most prevalent topics at the Inbound Marketing Summit (IMS) last month was the evolving movement toward inbound marketing. We heard best practices, case studies, and predictions for what’s to come in the future and what it means for marketers. In a two-part Q&A series, conference participant and speaker Patrick Cahill, Founder and Principal at beep! Directed Voicemail shares his insights on inbound, outbound, and how his company addresses the two.
Your panel presentation at IMS San Francisco was titled The State of Inbound Marketing. What do you see as the future of inbound marketing, and marketing in general? Any predictions or wishful thinking?
Inbound marketing has been around for a while, but I think the maturity by which some organizations approach it is still developing. Often it’s about storytelling or sharing value, but at the end of the day it should be about “inbound sales.” For a lot of organizations that don’t have the established brand name or reach that allows them for thousands of downloads, there’s a little bit of hustling that needs to be involved to follow up on the content they put so much time and effort into creating. Organizations will need to make the most of their content development efforts by incorporating sales – not in an aggressive or annoying manner, but in a manner that is still going to uncover opportunities.
One prediction for inbound marketing is that more of the larger organizations will start adopting inbound marketing strategies. That’s exciting because it’ll allow us to see best practices since they have big budgets, so they will be experimenting and finding a lot of success. But I also think it’ll be tough for us smaller companies, because one of the interests we have is to share really valuable content and have one-to-one conversations with people about that content. Inbound practices will become more widespread, so things will be more crowded and cluttered.
The scary thing about that is that the digital space is already incredibly crowded. As the amount of content is increasing, what does this mean for marketers?
At IMS, Jason Garoutte (CMO and Head of Product Marketing at Mintigo) spoke about using big data to crawl the web and understand who’s accessing your content by going beyond AB testing to ABCDEFG testing. This will help you figure out how to segment your list and your dozens upon dozens of content pieces that need to be tailored to each segment. As individual marketers, we may not be able to figure out these segments, but using big data and cloud computing, you can start to really crunch the numbers and understand the data.
In terms of content clutter, a small firm might have trouble maintaining 60 nurture paths and understanding 60 segments, but only having one white paper reproduced and trying to nurture with just that content might start start being crowded out by the larger organizations who are producing hundreds of documents.
These larger companies also have the resources and skill to understand how each person in their pipeline wants to receive content. The customer might be saying, “Wow, Big Corp USA really gets me and the content really applies to what I’m trying to deal with, vs. Small Corp USA who just sends me content. I understand why they think I’d be interested, but it’s not really what I want to learn about right now.” Prospects will be able to be a lot picker about the content that’s going to be targeted specifically to them. All organizations will really have to step up their game in order to compete with this approach to marketing. It’s scary and exciting.
Tell us about the background of beep! Directed Voicemail and how the concept came to be.
beep! Directed Voicemail helps organizations make a whole lot of dials without having to pick up the phone. It came into existence because we had clients that were doing online events and white paper campaigns, and their busy sales teams became overwhelmed with the idea of calling hundreds of qualified registrants after an event. We help the salesperson come up with a script that will help generate responses, and then record the salesperson leaving a voicemail. Then we have agents that call everyone that our clients would like to call, one at a time. Those agents hit play on the message and then we send a one-to-one follow-up email to each individual.
It’s very straight-forward, but it helps organizations fuel the challenge that inbound marketing often presents, which is a whole lot of content leads being dumped onto sales and no one having the time or sometimes even the knowledge on how to properly follow up on those leads. While this approach is certainly a time saver, it also generates conversation, helping to optimize how you’re using both sales and marketing teams.