I use twitter, still.I wish the feed was 'more positive'.A few weeks ago, I chanced upon the tweet of a fellow SaaS marketer. It lamented about the absence of quality content in the first page of 'Google search results'. The tweet went further to speculate that search results on page 2 were better than those on page 1. Have you noticed this?Let me see if I can find the tweet for you.https://twitter.com/sanketnadhani/status/976003399899521024I quizzed my twitter colleague for the keywords that resulted in this discordant search results.I am yet to experience this, but have become more observant of the google search results on Page 1 and Page 2. It will not be incorrect to suggest that we (inbound marketing professionals), in the pursuit of organic search traffic, have been guilty of creating content that lacks depth and quality.Early this year, a SaaS prospect from the Bay Area asked a question that stumped me."I just see too much content floating around. Is this inbound marketing thing truly working? Or is it just going the Bitcoin way."How does one answer a question like that?
Why is Inbound Marketing going astray?
I intend to put a foot forward and speculate the reasons for the apparent dilution in inbound marketing intent.
Influence of traditional marketing
To grow and improve their current marketing mix; brands and businesses have taken a shot at inbound marketing. Unfortunately, some of the 'legacy' baggage of traditional marketing has also followed. In pursuing inbound marketing, businesses have prioritized their brand over their customers. Nothing wrong with that. Just that it isn't how it is done.
Digital marketing, social media and the many thousand agencies associated with them have been facing a challenging few last years. It was only a matter of time for businesses to move beyond vanity metrics (likes) to real numbers (revenues). Though this shift helped grow the inbound marketing market from a supply side; quality has suffered. Successful inbound marketing demands deep alignment of three factors - business strategy, digital creativity and analytics. Not an easy triangle to make. The incumbent digital agencies are competent to pull off digital creativity and analytics to some extent, but falter when it comes to business strategy.
Selfless is painful
Many years ago I wrote about selfless inbound marketing. It takes a big heart to be selfless. Especially, when one is not hitting revenue targets.
The Road Ahead
I sense this is part of the growing-up process of inbound marketing. Content and inbound marketing campaigns have become commonplace, and many a times expedient. Widespread maturity would be a function of the sincerity of the participants. Leadership is needed too. SaaS companies have been early adopters of inbound marketing and continue to invest their marketing dollars in this strategy. Ecosystem enablers (HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce) are playing their part. A lot would also depend on how the future of their product shapes up.Guess, I will ask them a few questions on twitter.