The role of Inbound in B2B marketinghighlights from our Sales & Marketing Forum

This month’s S&M Forum welcomed three key speakers on the topic of inbound marketing: our very own David van Schaick (The Marketing Practice’s CDO), Graham Wylie (App Nexus) and Jon Moger (Aruba). Here, our Head of Inbound shares nine nuggets of insight gained from the evening.



1. What’s in a journey? And what is the journey?

Whenever we hear the words ‘customer journey’, we also hear a stat. But here’s one from Graham that actually resonated: 19% of B2B decisions are based around brand, 19% around product; 53% are on purchase experience. To bring it to life, Graham visited a Ford garage after being inspired by their ‘Unlearn’ campaign. Whilst he was more window-shopping than intending to buy, he enquired about a specific Ford model featured in the ad. Their response? “Oh no, you can’t test drive that one – it has an eight-month waiting list”. Customer lost.


2. “All that glitters is not gold” – expunge yourself of the magpie behaviour

The discussion centred around marketing technology and the infamous phrase “We thought we needed it”. The conclusion? Shiny new pieces of tech often either sit unused or are used without processes being aligned to deliver results. Before buying, make sure that you consider what you’re trying to achieve first.


3. Getting inbound “in” to your organisation doesn’t have to take years

Jon shared that Aruba are 85% of the way to bringing inbound into their marketing mix after just half a year. It’s a great achievement, and one that he achieved by adopting a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach across Aruba’s regional markets, before enabling each market to build from this solid base.


4. Return of the Ps

The Ps, in all their different guises, were referenced several times during the course of the evening. We heard about the 7 Ps [price, promotion, physical evidence, people, product, process, place], the 3 Ps [people, process, physical evidence] and even an adaptation with a 2 P and 1 T model [people, process, technology]. Which featured the most? People. “Attitude over skills” was the conclusion when it comes to selecting a team that can deliver results from inbound marketing.


5. Peering above the parapet

Standing out from the crowd is increasingly difficult in a sea of information overload. So how do you create that differentiation? Through marrying deep audience insight with market insight, and not being constrained by channel norms. This also provides a great opportunity to maximise your inbound marketing.


6. Inbound driving pipeline velocity

We shared some recent research that showed that inbound not only increased the velocity of leads coming in, but also closed leads considerably faster. This helps to both deliver incremental volume in its own right and get value into businesses at a faster rate.


7. The power to challenge

Jon talked about the number of times he has heard “corporate says this is what we need to market”. His response? “OK, that’s great, let’s see the business case and then we’ll review it”. If you don’t have clear rationale around why it’s this proposition vs another, then it may well be doomed to fail.


8. Enable teams for longer-term success

Jon referenced upskilling the sales team in his organisation and the considerable benefits it will have in the longer term. Whether this be training, or thinking differently about the proposition, the gains will be felt for years to come.


9. Be prepared to fail and fail fast

There is only so much you can plan for. When trying something new, always remember: You can seek forgiveness later. As long as you have plans in place to learn, optimise and adapt, not getting it right first time should not be seen as a disaster.



But, if I had to narrow it down to one key takeaway? Make sure your approach is fully integrated. It’s not about inbound or outbound working in isolation – it’s how the two can work together.


Interested in seeing what fully integrated demand generation looks like? Have a look at our platform model.


By Rachael Clark | July 4, 2016

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