What the Heck is Inbound Marketing?

Dechay Watts

Written by Dechay Watts on Thu, Sep 24, 2015

We just spent a week with nearly 14,000 inbound marketing practitioners doing deep dives in the Hubspot platform, honing our pricing model and embracing new ideas for inbound strategies and deliverables. We won a great award. We met inspiring thought leaders. Our team left invigorated and ready to take on the inbound world.

What_is_Inbound_Marketing_Then, we got this response from a regional television anchor after sending him a press release about the changing tides of Inbound Marketing:

“I googled ‘inbound marketing”, and still have no idea how it’s any different than any other marketing. This release is great for intra-industry news, but for a more general audience, it’s too technical.”

Too technical? Just like any other marketing? No! That can’t be. Here we are in our bubble of inbound marketing love, with real results to show that it works, touting new tools revolutionizing inbound marketing, and the general public is still working on understanding what the term means. At least the ones that are investigating inbound marketing at all.

So, I Googled inbound marketing and I can see how there is confusion when this is one of the first search results:

Inbound Marketing Ad

Inbound marketing focuses on earning, not buying, a person's attention, which is done through engaging content that adds value. It should create a positive connection to build trust. In its purest form, inbound marketing should not… like the example above…. be an ad.

So, not only is inbound marketing still a form of ‘techlish’ for the general public, lines are already being blurred between inbound marketing and traditional marketing as the tribe of inbound marketers grows. Purists are going to the dark side and supplementing inbound efforts with ads. Novice inbound marketers are jumping on the content bandwagon and focusing on quantity over quality.

What is an inbound marketing agency to do? Better yet, how do marketers and business owners really learn about this philosophy to decide if it’s the right fit for their business?

Here’s where we suggest you start to get feel for the landscape:

  1. Take a peek at the inbound methodology.
  2. Search inbound marketing discussions in Quora.
  3. Visit this inbound user group on LinkedIn.
  4. Check out inbound.org.
  5. Read this guide about when to outsource inbound marketing.

And once you finish those steps, go ahead and Google inbound marketing and start to poke around. You won’t be the only one showing interest in the term.

Inbound Marketing Search

If you want to learn more about whether inbound marketing is a good fit for your company, download our free guide on generating leads from your website: Work Smarter, Not Harder.

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