Why Inbound Marketing is Like Getting in Shape

Posted by Rich McElaney

Pardon the Cosmopolitan-like blog post title but this post has been percolating in my head for some time and it just had to come out!inbound marketing shape

Over the last few weeks I’ve written about the various performance expectations of inbound marketing: “How long will it take?” “How will I know it’s paying off?” “Will it help me achieve my goals?” Based on more than a few conversations with prospective clients and several industry colleagues, it occurred to me that this conversation can benefit from being peeled back one more layer – to the level of “What am I getting myself into?” or “Can you give me any clues about what this process is going to be like?” (Side note: both of these are pretty good questions because, in most cases, they indicate the decision to move forward with an inbound marketing plan!)

I like analogies and when used in the proper context they can simplify or frame things in a way that makes them more approachable to those who may not be as intimate with a particular subject.  I’ve been looking for a good analogy to mentally prepare new clients for the journey they’re about to take with inbound marketing.  I was channel surfing last weekend, looking for something entertaining to watch during a treadmill workout, when I came across one of those ubiquitous P90X infomercials.  (No, I did not consider the analogy – Inbound Marketing is Like a P90X Workout – No Pain, No Gain!) It instantly registered - inbound marketing is analogous to eating right and working out – getting in shape! The similarities are strong:

  • You have to have a strong vision of success

  • You must actively seek lasting change

  • Setting goals is critical to success – preferably realistic ones

  • Developing a plan is mandatory for success

  • It takes repetitive work, hard work, to affect change

  • When change becomes visible it is highly motivating

  • The metrics of success are varied and accretive

  • It’s very helpful to have a coach, trainer or workout partner to keep you engaged

  • Integrating complementary methodologies has a synergistic effect on results

  • The behaviors and activities that produced good results must be perpetuated

I plan on using this analogy in my next prospective client meeting and am curious to find out how it works. Let me know if you have any battle-tested analogies – I may need a backup for those couch-potato diehards!

Tags: inbound marketing success, inbound marketing plan, inbound marketing measurement