Why Inbound Marketing? What exactly is it, and what is the ROI?

Inbound Marketing With MarketCrest

It’s Time To Talk Inbound Marketing

We think it is time to dedicate a few posts to Inbound and Marketing Automation as MarketCrest is involved in an increasingly large amount of conversations about the purpose and value of modern marketing. For many companies, Inbound/Content Marketing and tools like HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo and SharpSpring are becoming the Go To Marketing strategy for B2B marketers.

In this post, we peek in on a article by Mike Volpe, of Hubspot, where he interviews his own CFO about the relationship between Inbound and a typical CFO.

Be a fly on the wall, and then contact us at sales@marketcrest.com for a Free Consult to see if Inbound Marketing might be right for your firm. Enjoy!

From Mike Volpe of HubSpot

“If you’ve ever wanted to get inside the head of a CFO, now’s your chance. I, (Mike Volpe of HubSpot), sat down with John to talk about the CFO perspective on marketing — from the approval process for an inbound marketing program to how the marketing budget is decided. Below are some excerpts from our conversation, which you can use as guidance for building a better working relationship with your own CFO.

An Interview with HubSpot CFO John Kinzer
Q: How effective do you think inbound marketing is, from your own experience?
From my own experience, I do think it’s effective. I’ve seen it’s success firsthand. For one, I personally don’t respond to cold calls or anything like that. And I always try to research things before I buy anything.

Here’s a great example. Last year, I bought a zipline for my three daughters. Literally, I searched the internet for “zipline” and I found this company called Zipline Gear. They had a great blog and YouTube videos that I learned a lot from. I’m not sure they were the least expensive, but they sounded like they knew what they were doing — so I ended up buying a zipline from them. That’s just a small example of how inbound marketing has worked on me.

Q: Do you think most CFOs think that marketing drives value?
To some extent, I’m sure we all do — but we also tend to view marketing as a black hole of expenses. We’re more apt to quote the classic line, “50% of my marketing is working, I just don’t know which 50%.” As a CFO, you’re always trying to get better metrics around marketing.

Fortunately, inbound marketing can give us those metrics. When I came to HubSpot, I saw that the marketing team does an amazing job of tracking what works. They track MQLs, SQLs, and marketing CAC across all markets. Knowing these metrics makes investing in marketing far more palatable for a CFO. I can see how marketing drives leads and produces customers. I can connect the dots and see that the marketing team really is driving value. So from that standpoint, marketing doesn’t seem like a black hole.

Q: CMOs often say their CFOs love PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising because it’s predictable and measurable. But they also say it’s hard to get their CFO’s buy-in to reallocate dollars from PPC to inbound marketing. What are your thoughts on PPC?
At previous companies, we didn’t use PPC that much because we had a clearly defined market. And, personally, I’ve never really clicked on PPC ads.

The way I think of PPC (and hope other CFOs would as well) is that PPC is like renting space on somebody else’s site. Blogs and other content you create, on the other hand, are assets you own that have a long shelf life. I know because at HubSpot, we get leads from blog posts written four to five years ago!

I think that the concept of renting versus owning really resonates with CFOs. If you’re doing inbound and building assets your company owns, you know that if you stopped doing any more blog posts, you’d still be generating leads for the foreseeable future. Whereas, once you stop funding PPC advertising, leads stop. Inbound marketing is also sort of like creating an annuity. It returns interest or leads ongoing without putting in more investment.

Q: Is it fair to say that inbound marketing has a compound interest effect?
Yes, especially because it brings in other people from social media. When that happens, new leads and markets can be discovered that we would never have encountered otherwise. A blog can be spread out all across the web and bring in referral links from all kinds of blogs, publications, and social media sites. That’s an amazing potential impact and a cost-effective way to attract qualified leads.

Q: In what ways do CFOs participate in marketing planning?
From a planning process, we do both bottom-up and top-down analysis. From the top-down perspective, we look at what comparable companies are spending on sales and marketing.

From a bottom-up perspective, we look at metrics such as CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost), which we separate between sales and marketing. We then compare that to the LTV (Lifetime Value of a customer). The higher the LTV to CAC ratio, the better return we’re getting on our investment.

When we start planning, as long as we can keep marketing CAC in a range that leads to these returns, then we’re comfortable. We’re especially lucky to have a financially savvy CMO like you, who’s very bottom-line driven. So, as long as you stay in that range, we know you’re making good one-off decisions and we don’t need to micromanage how you’re spending that money.

We also look at MQLs and SQLs. As long as our Senior VP of Global Sales, Hunter Madeley, is getting enough leads for his team to hit their sales targets, we know the process is working and the company is doing well. In summary, I look at high-level metrics and then let you (the CMO) manage how you spend the budget.

Q: How do you decide what budget to approve for marketing?
First of all, we come up with sales goals and customers necessary to hit our growth goals. We then back into the marketing budget necessary to drive those customers using the historical CAC. It’s then up to you as the CMO to put together a budget that fits into that framework and we iterate from there.”

We will revisit Inbound again on our next post. Until then, read the remainder here at HubSpot:  or reach us here: Contact MarketCrest

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Is It SEO verses Content Marketing ?

SEO & Content Marketing

Photo Credit: Josue Avila

This is another one of our all-time favorite posts. Neil is a beast and we had to share it with you:

Why SEO Is Actually All About Content Marketing

There’s a bit of confusion over SEO and content marketing. The confusion comes over how SEO and content marketing fit together. Do they fit together? Are they at odds with each other? If so, is it possible to force them together?

In a previous post, I explained why SEO and content marketing are like PB&J. They go together. They just fit. They work well together.

Now, I want to share exactly why that is — why SEO is actually all about content marketing, and vice versa.

Before I share the why of this article, let me be clear about the what — the problem I’m addressing.

The Problem: SEO and content marketing are not integrated.
The crux of the problem is that SEO and content marketing are separated, as if they were two very different things. The truth is, however, that they go together, overlap, cohere, blend.

Some people think that content marketing eliminates the need for SEO.

How can “content marketing overtake SEO completely” when the only way to successful content marketing is to have SEO? How can you tear the two apart like that?

Thankfully, there are voices of reason in the cacophony of confusion (e.g., the smallbusiness.yahoo article above). Careful marketers have observed the disconnect, and are trying to point out that SEO and content marketing go together.

Yet the mistake persists. One of the popular articles that makes this mistake comes from an article in The Guardian, which states: “It looks like Google has tired of its old friend SEO and is instead cosying-up to the new kid on the block, content marketing” [sic].

It’s a cute analogy, but it’s simply not accurate. It’s not as if SEO and content marketing are two different people. To borrow the same metaphor, SEO and content marketing are actually two personalities of the same person.

The problem, then, lies in the disconnect between SEO and content marketing.

It’s time to bring the two back together. This is the only way you’ll be successful in both your SEO and your content marketing.”

KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

About Us: MarketCrest is a firm focused exclusively on Marketing & Sales Services that drive revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult.

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The Value of Persona Development & List Segmentation

B2B Marketing Techniques: Yes, investing time in persona development and list segmentation is worth it.

persona development and list segmentation marketcrest

Two of the most influential ways to market your business include implementing the techniques of persona development and list segmentation.

Not only do these practices help to efficiently identify your target market, but they help business owners and CEOs determine the most effective strategies for attracting, engaging, and satisfying their clients. Not to mention the practice has been proven to help win business and boost profits.

Uninformed marketing, the kind that is commonly used to blindly attract anyone and everyone, tends to end up in the mundane, unsuccessful category. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It fails to make a convincing argument to the audience. By taking the time to determine who your business is best suited for, business owners and CEOs can optimize their marketing budget and maximize ROI.

List Segmentation

The first step includes segmentation, or the classification of individuals into various groups based on specific characteristics or qualities. Once these subgroups have been determined, distinguishing tactics can be implemented so that each subset is adequately addressed. In order to pull this off, business owners should tap into a variety of supporting data from various resources.

When deciding which target markets are most applicable to your brand, the following criteria are crucial for successful market segmentation:

  • The group must be large enough to produce substantial income.
  • The market must be consistent and not at risk for dissipation or disappearance from the general population.
  • The group has a general history of responsiveness or reactivity to being targeted from an advertising standpoint.
  • The characteristics that determine the subsets must be clear, measurable, and exact.
  • Reaching the subset does not require any additional or excessive expense.
  • Individually specific consumers can be targeted from the group.
  • Your marketing strategies must be capable of reaching said group.
  • The subsets offer relevant supporting data that enhances and improves your approach to sales and marketing.

Marketing experts often use geographical identifiers like country, states, regions, cities, languages, postal codes or even neighborhoods to help narrow down a specific group of targeted consumers.

Another option for marketing segmentation includes the classification of customers based on demographic information like age, education level, current occupation, and/or gender.

Using a combination of both geographical and demographical descriptors is often referred to as a geo-cluster approach to segmentation, and this method helps business leaders to identify an even more specific audience.

Internal segmenting of customer accounts is often used as a business model to help organize territory based sales tactics. For example, client accounts grouped by industry type, transaction volume history, or nature of the developed relationship can all help to identify the most loyal accounts and those that are most likely to conduct continued business with your company. 

persona development marketcrest

Once your target markets have been established, a key to successful marketing campaigns is the development of personas.

Persona Development

This requires business professionals to place themselves “in the shoes” of their own customers and create a hypothetical individual that is likely to do business with their company. In theory, these characters are real people, with real identifiers, realistic characteristics, and relevant needs. So, how do you generate these marketing personas?

Start by considering the following questions:

Describe your persona’s demographic characteristics. Are they male or female? How old are they? What do they do for a living?

In the B2C world, you might leverage whom they live with and what necessities keep their household afloat. In B2B, not so much.

You can, however leverage other characteristics. How do they make choices when it comes to spending money? What advertising techniques are most influential to them? What types of outlets or platforms are pivotal to their buying choices?

Determine which departments are most likely to be involved (ie: Information Technology, Purchasing, Sales, Marketing etc.) and why. What is the driving force behind their activity or interactions with your company’s industry? How might they communicate with your competitors or other businesses with products and/or services similar to yours?

And also…

Why are they choosing to engage with you specifically? What is the extent of your relationship with them? Do they need special attention or accommodations? What are their goals? Where is this relationship going?

What media platforms are most useful in transmitting helpful information regarding your company’s products and/or services? Are they conducting online searches or using social media accounts? What keywords might they be using to help them locate your company online?

Are there any other influencing factors like product reviews, personal success stories, or specific details concerning merchandise that might be driving their decision to reach out and conduct business with you?

People tend to be very complex, so the more you can develop your marketing personas, the more relatable, realistic, and successful they will become.

Dive deeper and expand the character of your persona(s) with the following suggestions.

Tap into third party resources for statistical information regarding your persona’s demographics or habits. Existing data is incredibly informative and applicable to further strengthening the potential of your persona.

Consider how your persona might interact in real life. Use those scenarios to help you create strategies for conversation and communication to your target audience.

Take advantage of any opportunities to implement social media platforms that are relevant to your persona. As society continues to depend on technology, these free resources are becoming popular and effective tools for reaching your buyers.

So why exactly should businesses take the time to segment and develop marketing personas?

Personas should be used to help your business team come up with marketing strategies all across the board. Collectively determine which personas are most likely to conduct business with your company on a regular basis.

Which personas are least likely to spend their money with you? If you narrow down your marketing target, you are more likely to secure your best accounts and generate dependable, predictable transactions. Failure to develop well defined personas, can result in futile marketing attempts that do not reach the correct audience.

In addition, successful personas allow business leaders to connect, relate, and communicate with their clients on a more personal level. This type of relationship has a proven track record for establishing loyalty, longevity, and overall customer satisfaction.

If you get to know your clients like you do close friends and family, they will be more likely to recommend your product and/or services to others. It will also keep the doors wide open to smoother communication when conducting your business transactions. You will have the tools to identify the specific needs of your clients, and you will know best how to address them.

Here are just a few examples of how marketing personas can help you maximize your business capabilities.

  • Defining your company’s distinguishing qualities
  • Shining light on internal changes that might help enhance current client relations
  • Determining the most effective ways to present your company’s brand
    Shaping pricing structures, discounts, bundles, etc.

So, not only can segmentation and marketing personas help businesses shape their advertising and branding tactics, but they can help businesses to determine the most effective business practices that are most likely to result in long term, profitable relationships with their clients.

MarketCrest is a firm focused exclusively on Marketing Consulting & Services that drive revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult and Get Help NOW!

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FCL Graphics Marketing Case Study

As a recognized leader in their industry, our client, FCL, specializes in developing fully automated personalized data-driven campaigns. Over the course of their 40 year history, their service offerings had outpaced the competition, but their personal brand and marketing had not. FCL leadership sought to reposition their brand with a portfolio of current, relevant communication. We worked closely with FCL to define their needs; develop a comprehensive market solution and expand their reach leveraging ROI driven solutions. Our solution included corporate branding, content creation, website development, multi-channel direct marketing, variable data print communications, public relations and social media marketing. We continue to work with them on revenue generation and other key initiatives. Read more

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