Recently, the folks here at Flawless Inbound sat down with the Marketing and Communications Manager for a multi-million dollar Information Technology company. We had the opportunity to ask him about the challenges that Marketing Managers for IT companies face today, his views on the Inbound Marketing methodology, and where he thinks the marketing field is headed next. His insights are enlightening in a number of ways, but perhaps most importantly, they give us a first-hand account of the obstacles that are present in the modern world of marketing, and how solutions are being found through new approaches and systems. Please note that our interview subject has kept his identity anonymous in order to comply with his organization’s corporate policy.
What does Inbound Marketing mean to you?
Inbound Marketing is several things: Marketing to where the attention is, analytics and statistics, shortening the sales funnel, and adding value to the client experience.
Why would inbound marketing be better suited to a tech company or an IT company?
I think that inbound is important to any company, and the smaller that the company is, the more value they’ll get out of it. It gives you the ability to attract attention of prospects and clients online where “sales conversations” are often overlooked. A sales person can only meet with a certain number of prospects a week – there are only so many hours in a day. With inbound marketing, the conversation could, theoretically, never stop – prospects can consume your content and interact with you whenever they want, and you’ll have the metrics to prove it.
In terms of a marketing return on investment, how do you feel that inbound compares to the traditional way of marketing?
Inbound opens up a brand new set of analytics that most marketers don’t even bother to look at. It’s going beyond the traditional surface layer of analytics, and focusing on trends and habits to create qualified sales lead. I find this fascinating as no longer are you reporting on the “number of hits on your website”, but more importantly, who has hit your site, where they spent most of their time, and what did they download.
What does a technology company expect from a marketing firm?
In IT you would expect that all of the partners you work with provide some sort of utility. I feel that most marketing agencies don’t dive into the extra layer, and that is reflected by the soft stats that they report back. They may have done a web or box ad on some page, and then reported back the number of hits it got, but what does that mean to me? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you want to know more about the prospect? Otherwise, you merely put out a popular ad that had a high impression rate. My team is interested in much more than that.
What marketing activities are usually outsourced, and what is the typical process for hiring?
In my experience, we tend to outsource a lot of the graphic work. The bigger the company, the bigger the marketing department – that’s usually how it goes. It also caps off at a certain point, where it just makes more sense to partner with an agency who can help you deliver your projects, campaigns, and other initiatives.
During my time, I’ve had the pleasure of working with great agencies, but the landscape of agencies is shifting. As inbound marketing becomes more prevalent, you’d want to partner with an agency that understands the interaction between Marketing and Sales. There are few agencies that do that today, but the ones that do are worth their weight in gold. Not only will they help you execute on your campaigns, they’ll help you convert those leads into actual sales. That’s what makes business decision makers happy.