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HubSpot’s Inbound 2016 from 2,016 Feet Up

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The Marketing and Sales Journey Continues….

Last week, we spent 3 days with 19,000 other attendees at HubSpot’s 2106 conference. 

In the coming weeks, you’ll be seeing a lot of blog posts on new products announced, summaries of sessions, key takeaways, and so forth—including the insights from the LeadG2 team—so we thought we would share a different perspective and insights on what we took out of the conference.We spent a lot of time thinking about a common denominator among all of the sessions, speakers, exhibitors and conversations we had with other folks immersed in the world of inbound marketing, a sort of grand unifying theory if you will. Rather than just coming away with an explosion of chaotic “Hey, that’s really cool” products and tactics, we wanted to come away with some sort of context for using these new insights to help my clients get more visibility, leads, and sales. 

The Ascendency of One-to-One Marketing (for Better or Worse)

The insight we got was that it was time to accelerate my clients’ movement away from one-to-many marketing to one-to-one digital marketing. 

Social advertising. Smart forms. Service Level Agreements. Smart websites. Social conversations. CRMs. Sales enablement tools and technologies. Renewed interest in account based marketing. Sophisticated micro-analytics. And more … 

At the core of this movement is a simple, yet incredibly powerful premise: there is an ever-expanding and rapidly-growing relationship between relevancy and reaction that’s being driven by our prospects. 

The more we can identify the profile and persona of an ideal target, and the more we can reach that prospect with relevant, timely, and personalized communications that they want, the more likely it is that we can accelerate their conversion from a suspect to a client. 

Please bear in mind that we said “accelerate the movement” not “kill one-to-many marketing." That’s an important point, because if brand development is an objective, your firm will still need to invest in “one-to-many” marketing strategies and tactics, that depending upon circumstance, could include print or broadcast advertising, or participating in trade shows, or even sponsoring special events, and so on. 

Ascendancy Comes at a Price

We also thought about the costs of making one-to-one marketing ascendant. Even though all of the sessions and speakers had valuable strategic and tactical information, what was missing from the conversation was an exploration of the tangible and intangible costs of the shift from one-to-many to one-to-one marketing.

Here are just a few of them that you might want to take into consideration:

  • It will require a new approach to strategic planning, focused significantly more on targeted account based marketing.
  • Each targeted account will require its own unique marketing and sales plan, so instead of a plan done at a corporate or niche practice level, you may be faced with developing, executing and managing 20 or 30 “mini-marketing” campaigns.
  • It will require marketers with multi-dimensional marketing skills who can bridge both the one-to-one and one-to-many, and the traditional/digital marketing chasms.
  • Budget development will change as direct or out of pocket marketing costs will go down, while people costs will go up.
  • It will require a significant upsurge in the amount of content necessary and a significant amount of critical marketing thinking about when, why, and where to use that content in your prospect’s journey toward becoming a client.
  • It makes metrics, measurements, and analytics more important than ever before—and at the same time, more complex just in terms of the sheer volume of accounts and campaigns that will require some sort of quantitative insight and analysis.

Our point here is not to discourage you from playing small ball… it’s to make you aware that beyond the sizzle and WOW factors of the new technologies for doing one-to-one marketing, there’s a price to be paid. 

Is 2017 the Year that Your Professional Service Firm Gets It?

In the professional services sandbox that we play in, we would be hard pressed to name more than a handful of firms that have a marketing program firing on all cylinders, and in fact, the jury is still out on whether or not they’ll ever get to that point.

For CPA, staffing and recruiting, consulting, and other professional service firms, one-to-one marketing has always been (and will always be) about word-of-mouth and referrals, and getting the right combination of budget and share of mind to do one-to-many marketing has always been a struggle. As a matter of fact, judging from the conversations we had when we went out to dinner with a number of CPA firms who were at Inbound 2016, it’s not been a very easy lift and will continue to be a struggle. 

My prediction is that more and more firms will “get it” and put a digital one-to-one marketing effort into place. They’ll crawl before they walk and run but nonetheless, they’ll structure an integrated marketing program that complements their legacy marketing strategies and tactics with new digital tactics, tools and technologies that will deliver more visibility, leads and new clients.

Marketing Infrastructure Checklist 

Inbound Marketing Commandment #7: Thou Shalt Create Lead Generation Materials
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LeadG2

Sell Faster. Sell Smarter. Grow your business with inbound marketing and sales enablement.

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