As soon as Fall arrives, I get reflective. I look back on the year and think about all of the great client projects we were grateful to be part of.

This year in particular we collaborated with our clients to work on some tough assignments. With more and more channels popping up online, stiff competition for attention and a more complex level of effort to develop good content, there is no shortage of challenges. If we are tackling these challenges you may be too.

The one thing we have learned this year is that digital transformation is hard.

Any marketer today has their work cut out for them. Today’s modern marketer has to be:

  • one part strategist
  • one part data expert
  • one part technologist
  • three parts writer

This talent cocktail is not always easy to come by and I am very proud of the team at Marketing CoPilot who rise to the challenge every day to deliver this blend of marketing expertise to our clients. This year we tackled some tough stuff.

3 Inbound Marketing challenges we tackled in 2018 with management teams

#1 – The importance of Inbound Marketing for their business

In 2018, we did many speaking engagements reaching a combined audience of more than 2500 business owners and marketing professionals. And the recurring theme we heard from people everywhere we went was, “How do I get management to buy in to inbound marketing?”

Business owners are suffering a bit from a recent hangover in the marketing world where there seemed to be magic silver bullets that would lead to instant results. Things like Adwords had us all believing we could buy a pool of new customers just by buying clicks. Similarly, as more and more small businesses ramped up their social media accounts, we believed that followers and likes would lead to sales. It was disappointing back in 2014 and still is today when these things prove not to be true. As we all came to terms with yet another change in the Google algorithm, one favouring valuable content that would be judged by how human beings, not machines, interacted with online content, some of these silver bullets died quickly in the eyes of business owners. When industry pundits started talking about this thing called Content Marketing, it seemed like a long haul before you would see results.

Business owners struggled with facts like:

  • Content takes time, resources and careful planning to work.
  • Just throwing up a blog or a social media account does not guarantee success.
  • Data and testing are paramount to Content Marketing and many companies lack this resource.

How to convince your management team: Back up these truths with the facts.

  1. Inbound marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
  2. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog.
  3. The average return on an email marketing investment is $44.25 for every dollar spent.

#2 – Using content to test your business strategy

This continues to be an education issue for the team at Marketing CoPilot. While we are starting to see more CEOs and entrepreneurs embracing the idea of continuous testing, there are still people who are convinced that content is a “once and done” effort. Sadly, your website and supporting content, like your value proposition, is a constant testing and evolutionary process that should be attended to every six to 12 months and invested in appropriately.

Using content to test your sales and business strategy is not for the faint of heart. It requires a leap of faith and accepting that volume may go down but quality will go up.

How to convince your management team: Show them case studies. Use data to prove that other companies in your industry were able to achieve more leads when following the inbound marketing methodology and testing content on a regular basis to achieve business goals.

#3 – Sustaining an Inbound Marketing Program

This is perhaps the hardest challenge as you can’t predict the future. There is no way to prove that by continuing investment and sustaining an inbound marketing program your revenue will increase. There are a lot of moving parts within an inbound marketing program. Many people think of it as a content marketing program but really that is just one piece of the puzzle. An inbound marketing program also consists of analyzing your business goals and aligning your sales and marketing functions. For it to efficiently deliver results you first must organize your resources internally. This challenge requires full organization buy in and understanding.

How to convince your management team: Document your strategy for sustainability. Map out and determine who will be responsible for what. Identify and document ideal business goals and realistic sales or leads numbers. With initial documentation and continual reporting you’ll have a clear project plan for how to sustain an inbound marketing program that effectively delivers results.

The bottom line…

Inbound marketing takes time to develop the right plan and test it. For many of our clients, it’s a 12 month investment of time, money and resources. But it is well worth the effort. The first step in the process is to discover your Value Proposition. Download the Value Proposition workbook.


This blog was originally published in 2015 and has been updated in 2018.

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