It was around this day, five years ago, I took the first step towards starting up.

Starting up on India's Independence Day will always be special, and undoubtedly symbolic.

And I did not know enough that it would be about Inbound.Luckily, it turned out that way.Personally for me, it has been a happy extension of my training as an industrial engineer.It has not been easy though.All Inbound Mantra team members (ex and present) deserve due credit. It takes courage to take up a subject (inbound marketing) that is still evolving. Kindly note that there are hardly any inbound marketing agencies in India. Digits on just one hand would be more than enough. The team has persisted through needless spreadsheets, numerous 'best posts' and many failed experiments to create a body of experience that delivers.Our clients have to be congratulated too. They not only committed to inbound but also reposed faith in our small team. We might have failed them on some counts, but we never lost heart.

The HubSpot partnership has been akin to a lighthouse. Inbound Mantra is really delighted to get time from HubSpot and its executive team. Though their India strategy is not clear to me today, I trust them to have a vision in the long-term interest of India.

The Inbound Marketing MarketIn our limited experience, we see the US market growing. 20% of the enquires are from the US compared to 10% a year ago. India is yet to break-out. In India, the CMO Buyer Persona is yet to look at 'Inbound' as a prime marketing channel. SaaS Entrepreneurs, with markets in the US, have made the early moves and are building on it.

In a larger context, inbound marketing service providers will need to change the game, a bit. (Quite a bit, actually). Omni-channel marketing seems to be the need of the hour. Thus, service providers would do well to include demand generation and maybe even calling.

Challenges

There is no dearth here. But, three challenges dominate.

  • Pricing – Let me put the pricing challenge in context. There are two factors here – pricing and effort. Pricing remains constant, but effort does not. The effort needed corresponds to monthly customer acquisition goals. Unfortunately, what works one month, may not work the other. This creates unpredictability in the delivered scope. Thus, the disconnect between pricing and effort.
  • Talent – Don't even get me talking about it. It has been tough to find quality inbound talent. The best candidates seem to reach out to us (inbound recruiting). In the US, inbound marketing has managed to attract top business journalism talent, successfully. Can the same be done in India?
  • Analytics – Building a correlation between activities and outcomes has always been complex. But, it is the need of the hour. It warrants further investment into Analytics. Is it time to take a specialist approach to analytics? I could do with a few answers.

Jai Hind (Victory to India)

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