After determining that you want and need to jump on the inbound marketing bandwagon, the next biggest questions you will likely ask yourself as a Marketing Director are:
Should I do my own inbound marketing? Or should an agency do it?
What automated software platform should I use?
While Michaletz Zwief (MZ) is an agency and seemingly you may feel our point-of-view is not without bias, our intent is to be objective and to encourage you to think critically about the following considerations for your inbound marketing. In fact, we believe these considerations are just as relevant for traditional marketing as they are for inbound marketing.
Plan the Work and Work the Plan
If you want to do it right, you need to start with a plan. Establish a process and workflow for every inbound component as well as a sense of the bigger picture. Knowing consistency of efforts is your friend, inbound requires dedication in order to reap the benefits of SEO, lead nurturing and customer engagement. Ask yourself if you really have the time or the staff to learn, plan, execute and refine your inbound efforts right now. Will you be able to continually fuel inbound for the next year because that’s what it’ll take to get some real traction? Or better yet, ask yourself what is the best use of your time—it’s probably not creating the various pieces of any inbound campaign, but rather in developing the marketing strategy.
Good Content is a Must
Creating content is hard. That’s why agencies are in the business of developing relevant, high-quality content. As strategists and creatives, they delve deep into the demographics and psychographics of a target audience looking at behavior for insights. They not only understand personas at each stage of the buyer’s journey but they also know what will garner a prospect’s attention. Just as you rely on an art director/writer team to know what makes your audience tick, you will benefit from that same creative team capturing attention online. Good content development is just as necessary for inbound marketing as it is for traditional marketing. So why would you consider approaching inbound differently than you do traditional marketing?
Generalist vs. Specialists
No one person is likely to wear every hat needed for every type of marketing. Let’s face it, we all specialize to some degree whether we are client side or agency side. We each rely on our own strengths and then reach out to others to fill in the gaps. An individual with a gift for developing strategy is also likely to be a great resource for analyzing metrics; however, that same person is unlikely to know their way around building email templates or ebooks. Writers specialize in words while art directors specialize in layouts. It’s not very often that you see an art director who is also a fabulous writer or a writer who is a talented art director. So why would any of us think we can do it all as a generalist without specializing? It takes a coordinated team with expertise, vision and the ability to pivot to execute an inbound campaign.
You’re likely considering making a new hire to do inbound marketing instead of partnering with an agency. Chances are you feel a recent college graduate who is technology-savvy and knows social media can do the job. Even if we entertain the premise that you can find one person to do it all and do it well (which is unlikely given our prior points), are you prepared to start all over when that Millennial or Gen Z leaves after a couple of years, given they jump jobs four times in the first decade out of college? You may find that having a revolving door to staffing this position is more time and trouble than it is worth. Or even better, make sure you do a thorough analysis of true costs for a hire versus an agency partner. Many companies find it is more cost efficient to rely on an agency given their services are less than a total compensation package with benefits for someone on staff.
Selecting an Automated Software Platform for Inbound Marketing
If you are already working closely with an agency, find out what automated software platform they are using. They will be a great source of information and will be able to share their research, insights and decision making process with you.
Full disclosure, MZ is a HubSpot partner agency. We did indeed move through the buyer’s journey from visitor assessing platform options to qualified lead to customer. And HubSpot has won us over as we currently are trusted promoters.
In the end, only you can make an objective assessment on whether you can do your inbound marketing yourself, or if it makes the most sense for you to partner with an agency. And remember, part of inbound is knowing when to pivot so if for any reason your initial decision on how to do inbound isn’t effective, remember you can always make a change!