The inbound tipping point. Sooner than you think?

Earnest recently had the pleasure of speaking at the rather good B2B Marketing Summit 2012.

The reaction to our talk, seeing the other presentations, and reading the Key Learning and Takeawaysdocument produced by the organisers, has certainly got me thinking.

Firstly, for the benefit of anyone who didn’t attend, the Summit was split into four ‘streams’ – Content, Lead Nurturing, Data and Social Media.

They’re clearly the hot topics for B2B marketers – over 250 people attended and it was completely sold out.

Interestingly, these four topics are fundamentally linked. For example, if you want to do Lead Nurturing, you need Content to fuel it, Social to give it amplification and Data to underpin it and measure it.

What’s more interesting was the general sentiment that these four topics were the key to people’s future careers, or even business success. We’ve said for some time that B2B marketing is changing, fundamentally. Now it seems we’re at the tipping point.

The biggest ‘shock stat’ from our own talk was that by 2015, 80% of leads will come from inbound marketing. Some anecdotal examples and conversations I’ve had recently suggest it’ll be quicker than that. When buyers are ready, they’ll find you, and the ‘quadplay’ combo of Content, Data, Social and Lead Nurturing will help them do just that.

The flipside of this is a much darker tale. I’ve heard similar anecdotes of marketing organisations coming under new levels of financial scrutiny – where finance has cleverly included ‘cost of sale’ into the ROI metrics (for those marketers actually measuring ROI – not a given sadly). This new financial factor has in cases pushed marketing ‘into the red’ – showing that their outbound marketing and wanton spending on big events and hospitality actually make a loss.

A loss. What do financial people do when they see a loss? They get to the cause of it, and remove it. A fundamental rethinking of marketing ROI is not just needed, it’s happening right now, in finance teams everywhere.

And if you’re a marketer reading this, you’re probably nicely prepared for the tipping point just around the corner.

For some in-depth thinking (and of course, bucket loads of stats), we’ve got two useful pieces of slideware for you:

Content Distribution – thinking through how you get your great content into the arms (and minds) of our audiences, at the right time.

Unlocking the Content Dungeon – how you go about building a content marketing programme.

Enjoy.

By earnestagency 19 July 2012
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