Why does inbound marketing seem to have such an altruistic tone? Today’s marketers seek to be “partners.” They are in the business of providing valuable content that will inspire trust. Content is often something they give away – for free! The new analytic tools empower you.
Inbound marketing arrives on the heels of the Open Source movement, which began in earnest in the late 90s and encouraged technologists to give away their code to the online masses and adopt a communal attitude based on building better products through sharing IP rather than coveting it.
Once Open Source became a cultural phenomenon it gave birth to a new generation of movements empowering the individual or the consumer. Crowd-sourcing is one child and inbound marketing is another.
Inbound marketing represents the new world order as it applies to marketing. So what happened when marketers learned a better way than to push a one-size-fits-all agenda on their customers? They changed their tune and adopted a necessarily value-based persona. For better or worse, this has taken on an altruistic tone.
From what I’ve observed, this change in marketing and actually, business culture, is a hard adjustment for quite a few marketers who began their careers in the bad old days of cutthroat, competitive sales and marketing, bereft of the concept of being a partner or agent of empowerment. People who began their marketing careers before the late 90s remember marketing could often be a pretty hard boiled and highly competitive profession for which they focused their energies towards wielding every advantage they could over competitors to generate leads the sales force could convert. Sure they believed in their product or service but they were often more focused on gaining the advantage and beating out the competition.
So, it comes as no surprise that some marketing executives with whom I’ve spoken recently are skeptical of inbound marketing. My perspective is that if you don’t embrace the culture, it’s hard to embrace the practice. The “trust culture ” inbound marketing seeks to promote is at odds with the practices many marketers learned in their formative years. The only way to test the efficacy of Inbound marketing is to dive in, adopt inbound marketing best practices for six months and measure the results. Pick a pilot program, find an inbound marketing firm or practitioner and together design a campaign that incorporates content creation, search, lead generation and measurement. Like starting anything new, the first two tools you need are commitment and an open mind.