I got some interesting responses in regard to my comparison of inbound marketing and getting in shape in this post. As I mentioned, I was hesitant to bring up the analogy because so many people think of dieting as painful and dreaded. Of course, I don't want anyone reading this to think of inbound marketing in that way. It's such a valuable methodology and I really want to see more business owners and marketing executives applying it with positive results.
There are two aspects of inbound marketing and getting in shape that are so similar, I'd like to dive a little deeper and, in doing so, may alleviate some of the fear marketing executives and business owners may feel when they begin to redesign their strategic marketing plans to include B2B social media and inbound marketing.
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Marketing
The first point: Successful social media B2B requires a change in your thinking and your mindset. Some of the “New Age” diet gurus claim you can “think yourself thin” by changing your mindset. But they don't explain the next step ... that when you begin to think like a thin person, it intensifies and supports your behavior of acting like a thin person. You start doing all the things thin people do to stay thin, which will help you lose weight.
So when I say you need to change your mindset to approach inbound marketing as part of your strategic marketing plan with success, you need to begin thinking like a company that “does inbound marketing,” and does it well. This means engaging your employees in becoming active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other platform that makes sense for your business. It also means creating habits that incorporate social media monitoring and engagement into your daily activities, and making content development an integral part of your corporate culture.
If you're hiring a social media assistant or buying an inbound marketing service package through an inbound provider, your job is easier -- merely support these personnel in their endeavors, be available to answer questions regarding your ideal customer segments, buyer personas or the prevalent problems that prospective customers need solved, and frequently monitor the available reporting to see if course corrections are necessary.
Thin People Eat Ice Cream Too
The second point covers the opposite end of the spectrum. Just because you've now built a corporate culture with a strong social media presence and a strategic marketing plan that includes inbound marketing, doesn't mean you can never, ever engage in traditional marketing.
One of the surest ways to fail at a diet is to forbid yourself from eating certain foods. Cut yourself off from ice cream and you'll immediately begin craving it.
Just as a healthy eating plan includes the occasional indulgent dessert, a strong strategic marketing plan should include whatever works for your company -- and if that's a blend of inbound and traditional marketing, the sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be.
Some of your marketing budget may be diverted from traditional marketing to inbound marketing, because, after all, the money has to come from somewhere. But there's no reason to abandon what works, or to fear that entering the world of inbound marketing will weaken your traditional marketing campaigns. On the contrary, the two can - at a minimum, coexist efficiently and ideally - work synergistically to lift overall marketing results.