Beware the Inbound Marketing Carnival Barkers!

carnival barker vermont state fair
Barker at the Grounds of the Vermont State Fair, circa 1904. Library of Congress on Flickr.

Step right up!

Step right up!

And look at the wonder of the modern marketing machine.

SEO, blogs, automation, all in one space from one provider.

Never have to do anything yourself

Turn it on and watch it go.

Leads for you.

More leads than you can handle.

All you have to do is sign right here. . .

I’m sure this happens in every industry, but it seems especially pernicious in the two I’ve spend my working life in – IT and marketing.

What “this” am I talking about?

That the “brand new thing” will be the sovereign cure for what ails your business.

Technology Fixes EVERYTHING!

Having covered imaging and enterprise content management for a number of (holy crap, nearly two decades) and now writing about managed IT services for clients, it continues to boggle my mind at the willingness of people to throw technology at problems.

No research.

No strategy.

New thing? Is it bright, shiny, and come with a cool buzzword? There are going to be plenty of empty suits forcing their companies to use it.

I used to joke that people spent more time researching their car purchase than they did on their technology. Sometimes that joke isn’t funny because it’s true.

The frustrating part – usually the technology works. What doesn’t work is having not a single clue about how to create a business strategy and framework that will allow the new technology to support a business.

We even see this among copier dealers relative to HubSpot and inbound marketing.

Hey, I bought HubSpot. WTH are my leads?

Yeah, doesn’t work like that.

Inbound and the “It’s Easy” Crowd

ronco veg o matic
I think this is close to the original Ronco Veg-O-Matic! Image from Amazon.

It slices! It dices! It julienns fries!

There are a lot of articles on inbound/content marketing that take this approach.

A breathless, heaving bosomed come on that is absolute bullshit.

As with every industry, there are those who pitch the benefits of inbound marketing and automation while glossing over the hard work and strategic thinking that it takes to make the tools effective.

Beware the heaving bosomed come on's of inbound hypesters
Yes, I used “bosoms” so I could have an excuse to research photos like this. I’m not even a little bit sorry.

If you’re lazy enough to be taken in by these types of pitches (and its kissing cousin, “we’ll get you to the top of Google!”); well then you deserve to be bilked of your money.

Repeat after me:

There. Is. No. Magic. Silver. Bullet.

For anything, marketing included.

But I Like Julienned Fries!

Hey, me too, and I have a mandolin that gets the job done for me.

But it doesn’t operate itself. I’ve gotta read the recipe and then pray I don’t slice off a little piece of thumb.

Look, I’ve been “doing” inbound for 5 years now – and in some ways my entire career. I’m all-in on the idea that content marketing is the only marketing left (to use the oft-quoted line from Seth Godin).

Of course, inbound marketing is awesome!

Just don’t get hooked in by some slick weasel lying to you about how easy it’s going to be.

It’s not.

Even if you hire someone to help you, you need to be involved. Share your business goals. Which kinds of leads marketing is delivering are working – and which ones aren’t? What does your sales team hear from customers?

When you hire someone to do content or inbound marketing for you, they’re going to be one-step removed from your customers. You have to help serve at LEAST as a bridge to get that feedback back to your partner.

There is no secret sauce.

There is no secret sauce for content marketing
My favorite Gaping Void artwork.

Published by

bryantduhon

Editor. Dad. Husband. Content marketer and strategist. Serial procrastinator. Pizza eater. Beer drinker. Not always in that order.

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