Inbound Marketing for SaaS: A Perfect Mutual Fit

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

Remember the days before the Internet? Well if you were born in the pre-Internet era, you might have blurred memories wrapped into your collective psyche on how marketing was back then. Those were the fanciful days before Google, websites, and social media.

As marketing evolved, brands found themselves in a dire need for a low-cost customer acquisition engine. Inbound marketing is that digital marketing model that specializes in attracting website visitors, turning them into leads and nurturing them well enough to convert them into happy customers and further into brand promoters or evangelists.

Setting up your SaaS company for success would call for your attention to both quick wins and long-haul strategies. As a SaaS marketer, you need to implement targeted marketing strategies for highest online conversions.

The SaaS Challenge

Gartner report forecasts SaaS to be at $75.7bn by 2020. This gigantic increase equates to massive competition for SaaS startups, and that adds to the need for your brand to edge out the competition and acquire new customers, while reducing the churn and attaining long-term profits. Further, a Compass study shows that SaaS is growing nearly 3X as fast as software as a whole, and that 72% of all SaaS startups are at least partially funded.

The success of your SaaS company would depend on:

  • Whether you’re able to adopt a low-cost customer acquisition model effectively from the early stages
  • Ability to retain customers over a long span
  • Ability to upsell to customers over time

Now, let’s get to the heart of the SaaS challenge. Most SaaS CEOs cite “cash flow gap” as a grave challenge. Inbound marketing works well to combat this challenge for the SaaS startups. The good news is that inbound marketing has quickly emerged as the right playbook for SaaS companies that rely on a user’s relationship with the software for success (or failure).

A good number of brands like ShopifyBufferKissmetricsAnswerDashZenDesk, to name a few, have attained success with it. However apart from the previously mentioned challenge, I also see some other challenges that obstruct SaaS companies to do marketing right.

  • Not believing in what they’re doing
  • Hiring mediocre talent
  • Being too self-promotional and brand centric
  • Directly targeting the BoFU with free trials/demos, etc.
  • Insufficient time and effort investment into analytics

The Secret Sauce for SaaS Companies

The answer is plain simple – complete focus on customer happiness right from the first touch point until the last to fetch both – revenues and profitability. And, inbound marketing just does that. It helps you find qualified leads, patch them with the sales rep-cum-consultants, convert them into customers and retain them over a long term – a challenge inherent in the SaaS business model. As a result, close rates go up and cost per lead comes down.

The SaaS long game and Inbound Fit

Life Time Value (LTV) = ARPA (Average Revenue Per Account)*% Gross Margin / % Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

The SaaS industry is often abuzz with the discussions around customer lifetime value (LTV).

The longer the customer stays with you, the more is the LTV. It’s a long game, indeed. And, the same holds true for inbound marketing too.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

The best SaaS marketers do, indeed, love to play a good long game. Even when they get off to a sluggish start, they do not retreat. In fact, they multiply their efforts. In fact, Sebastian Gutierrez (a member of HubSpot’s nonprofit team) says, “Becoming a trusted authority doesn’t happen with one banner ad or annual report. Succeeding with inbound marketing takes consistent effort over the long haul. Inbound really is the only marketing that’s proven to be cost-effective, yet it takes time to see results.”

The SaaS Inbound Journey

Clement Vouillon has remarkably captured a “typical” Inbound Marketing journey that an early stage SaaS company might experience.

Stage 1: Preparation / Beginning Phase

Most SaaS startups often kick start inbound marketing with limited resources, with founders as the blog authors, who love to talk about their babies (I mean products here!). That’s a classical mistake indeed. Your blog is out there to help your target audience and not for blowing your own trumpet (though it might sound tempting or obvious). Inbound marketing is all about being helpful through content. It ought to be customer centric.

Stage 2: Disappointment

You’ve pulled the content gear but you don’t yet see traffic increasing, and it’s natural to feel that your inbound marketing efforts are not working out. It’s time to actually chart out an effective plan to content distribution and then implement it efficiently.

Many marketers have been observed not investing efforts in content promotion. They seem to harbor a misconception that only writing remarkable content will do the job and that they can relax after production. It’s to be remembered that distributing or promoting the content is equally important for your useful content assets to be discovered by your target audience on their preferred choice of platforms.

Stage 3: Growth

You’re thorough with all the best practices, tips and hacks on content production and distribution. It’s time to adapt to each of the platforms where you intend to promote your content and invest your efforts in getting more people to see your content. Slowly, you start getting to see the increasing number of views, likes, share or comments in response to your posts across different platforms. The key to magic is here to be creative and bold. Don’t fear from being experimental.

Stage 4: Stagnation

You will see increased traffic to your website, content assets and social media posts; however, the conversions might suck and do not seem to improve over time. That’s when fatigue might set in your team to see what strategy worked for you some time ago is no longer effective now. Your inspiration well also might start to dry up. This is a signal to take a step back, deliberate before you burn out and tweak your inbound marketing strategy

Stage 5: Strategy reboot

By the time you reach this stage, you would have acquired good amount of knowledge about your customers and industry as a whole, and you’d be infusing all your knowledge into your marketing game but still not seeing the desired results. It’s time to reboot your marketing strategy and consider:

  • Sending your corporate newsletter
  • Collect more feedback through emails/blogs
  • Investing more on the SEO front for the long-term gains
  • Devising and implementing more customer-centric campaigns
  • Repurpose your most valuable content assets in different digestible formats
  • Participate and add value on different social media groups and forums
  • Nurture your leads with value-added content
  • Hire skilled and adaptable generalists and specialists

Stage 6: Growth

If by now you have learned from your past mistakes, organized your affairs again and pulled the inbound gears again in the right direction, you will again witness the spur in growth. Enjoy the success!

With this, it’s time to look at these two SaaS inbound marketing myths that I feel the need to bust here:

Myth 1: Inbound marketing is free

Agreed. You can produce and publish content, optimize content to boost traffic and conversions with little investment. However, creating a long-term, solid inbound marketing strategy and roadmap is NOT free. You need to manage and maintain your website, you need resources (team and tools) to connect and engage with your target audience. All this won’t be free.

Myth 2: One person can do all inbound marketing

It’s not uncommon to see many CEOs getting pumped up about inbound marketing to grow their businesses. But here’s the shocker! One marketing hire to do it all. Inbound marketing is basically a culmination of different skill sets – content writing, SEO, social media, website design and development, analytics, video marketing, etc., – all rolled into one. It’s practically impossible to find one person adept at all of these skill sets. You need a team. A real good one to rock the inbound marketing stage.

What other tips or feedback would you add to this post? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!


How to Choose a Digital Marketing Training Course?

Do you miss attending your school? I certainly do.

It’s not like we don’t learn much stuff at work – because we absolutely do. But there are times, one misses listening to a lecture, compiling notes and most of all, learning boatloads of new skills.

Given the pace at which new technologies are disrupting the marketing space, it can sometimes feel overwhelming for marketers to try to keep abreast their knowledge by only subscribing to online resources. That’s where classroom learning comes in.

I realized that you, my dear readers, might have a few skill gaps that need to be closed to attain these feats on a daily basis. So, I wanted to share a few tips on choosing a digital marketing course in this blog post.

Why take up a Digital Marketing Course?

There is a rising demand for digital marketing experts, who can transform the online businesses and formulate smart digital strategies to connect and engage with customers effectively and show some significant ROI on their marketing investments.

Learning new digital marketing concepts and selecting the best digital marketing course might be a bit tough process. Since professional digital marketing courses can help marketers learn better, plan and execute better, while advancing their careers, it’s important to take up a Digital marketing course. Whether you are a beginner or an ace digital marketing professional, taking up a digital marketing course:

  • Gives you a competitive edge over other digital marketing professionals.
  • Boosts your market value to attract employers looking for marketing magicians.
  • Strengthens your core concepts in marketing.
  • Improves your overall personality and confidence level at work.


How to choose Between a Beginners Level and Advanced Level of Courses?

Modern-day digital marketers are expected to be well versed in a bunch of skills, including content writing, social media marketing, marketing and sales alignment, analytics, and more. But unless you’re ready to put in quite a few years of your life earning a degree in each discipline, you need a much quicker and more effective route to fix your skill gap and keep you relevant in the market.

Beginner’s Level: If you’re simply kick starting your digital marketing career, you need a professional digital marketing course that gives you a basic primer and familiarity covering introductory digital marketing, search engine marketing, search advertising, display advertising, mobile, social, analytics, and video marketing.

Advanced Level: If you’ve spent a few years in the digital marketing industry and now want to advance your career and become a T-shaped marketer (a term commonly used by Rand Fishkin of Moz), you need an advanced level of professional course in digital marketing that helps you specialize in one or two particular skills such as SEO or analytics or Copywriting.

3 Easy Ways to Royally Screw Up Your Marketing

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

We’ve all heard it a million times: “We’re a customer-focused company.” Or “We aim to accomplish customer-led growth.” Most companies claim they’re consistently delivering superior customer experience across all touch points. Really? Then how come you and I (as consumers when at home) are wary of brands hammering out mute marketing and advertising messages at us even when we don’t want it. The Wolf of Wall Streetmentality still persists in the market. And, we all hate that but most of us still do it when at work.

Ever wondered how many advertising messages a mere mortal gets exposed to every day? More than 5,000. Yes…that’s true!

Now let’s talk a bit about customer experience. Take a look at this graph below.

One of the key reasons contributing to this delivery gap is the reluctance of brands to invest their time, money or resources in building relationships with the potential customers/customers. With consumer behavior changing incredibly fast, a large number of brands are either not able to keep pace or establish the right dialogue with the customers. And it’s not going to get any easier in the future.

So what’s the differentiator between those brands that are super successful in marketing or getting ready to be ones and those that are prepping up to fail miserably? Of course, it’s the willingness to invest in learning more about customers and executing some lovable marketing campaigns.

Over a professional career of more than a decade now, I’ve met and worked with, spoken to many marketers offline and online from across the world. Based on those interactions and my professional experience too, let’s face it – it’s not uncommon to see plain bad marketing. In fact, marketing that sucks, that’s far from lovable.

So if you are looking for some easy ways to create marketing that sucks, look nowhere. Keep reading.

3 Easy Ways You Can Easily Botch Your Marketing

1)  Hire mediocre marketing talent 

Often times, bad marketing is a reflection of the poor hiring approach. And, poor hiring is usually the outcome of a clear vision about the role, metrics, and the business objectives, and more importantly rash decision-making.

The widening gap between brands delivering awesome customer experience and ones that lag behind stems from the stark reality that there is a fierce race going on in the industry today to hire mediocre marketing talent and keep putting that on/off the marketing vehicle, without even knowing which direction the vehicle is steering toward.

On the hiring advertisement banner of most companies, we often find this “We hire only the best” Here’s an excerpt from one of the finest articles (written by DHH, Founder at BaseCamp) about the “delusion” created by many companies that say the above.

“How many times have you heard a company claim that they only hire the best? The top of the top. The crème de la crème. Most of them, by sheer necessity of math, are delusional. There just aren’t that many “the best” to go around. What these companies generally mean is that they hired “the best” of the candidates that applied. Whoopty fucking doo. That’s what all companies generally do (the special ones hire for best team, not just best candidates). Failing to see the difference between “best candidates who applied” and “the best in the business” is exactly the kind of Dunning-Kruger thinking that deludes companies into these grandiose proclamations.” (Read full article here)

Another example.

How many times at marketing conferences, webinars and anywhere on the Web, have you heard any or all of these concepts/phrases: “Content is King”, consumer behavior, customer experience, personalization, and yadda yadda yadda? We all know, content is the lifeblood of marketing engine and is integral to delivering a great customer experience across all digital touch points. Agree?

Here comes a startling revelation!

Statistics on the state of Content Marketing in Asia Pacific in 2016 reveal that the key issues with managing content marketing in this region are the creation of quality content and developing a strategy.

So let’s talk about this critical marketing role – Content Creator / Content Strategist. If the market has multitudes of good storytellers aka digital content creators that companies hire claiming to be “only the best”, why does such a gap exist in terms of quality? Not saying there are not good content creators in this region, but very few in the number who’ve mastered the art of storytelling, and are digital, analytical with an outstanding reach to amplify the content that they write.

My start-up friends, mentors, peers – we all discuss the content bit of marketing, and the ever increasing challenge of content quality is one of the most commonly discussed topics. I’ve interacted with some “experienced” content creators working for giant corporations/big startups with zilch or little knowledge about the dynamic modern marketing (or content) industry trends (such as story telling), tools, hacks and even basic modern marketing terminology. These interactions are a reason that I can totally relate to the latest HubSpot content marketing report statistics.

Such content hires are a bit scary for two reasons:

  • These do not exhibit core behavioral traits (inquisitiveness or adaptability) and key marketing skills (incredible writing/learning, product knowledge, or analytical skills)
  • Such lack of passion for their job roles can have a drastic impact on the juniors within the team. This role, in particular, requires a person who can be a great mentor to the interns/junior team members.

A slide from the presentation of @dharmesh (CTO, HubSpot) at @EshipMIT

Coming back to the point, it’s all about hiring few but only exceptionally smart, hyper-rational, adaptable and decisive marketers. A brand has to be awesome at recruiting the right marketing talent for delivering superior customer experience. It won’t work any other way.

2)  Adaptability is not your game.

You have a fixed mindset. Good.

You have marketing leaders who do not invest time in studying your industry and consumer psychographics. Even better.

You have a marketing team that does not challenge the status quo. Nothing beats this.

You can truly be a rock star in screwing up your marketing.

Now let’s talk about an approach that can blur your dream of botching up your marketing. The amazingly fast-changing marketing landscape and dynamic consumer needs have created a serious need for the marketing function to be adaptable to the changes and take decisions in real time. But wait. This does not call for rash decision making but decisiveness.

Marketers meet surprises at work every day. The most passionately executed marketing campaigns might underperform or a simple tweet might go viral. Good marketers know how to adapt and react to the changes quickly. The ability to react and act on signals is one of the top skills a marketer needs to possess today for competitive advantage.

With the Internet-induced transparency in the marketplace, these signals are evenly available to you and your competitors. Adaptive companies with sharp and analytical marketing function can apply advanced data mining principles to identify signals and leverage the capabilities for faster adaptation. The 21st century marketers’ adaptability trait can bring them back into the game despite so frequent algorithm updates by Google.

Many companies still rely on the customers’ demographical data sets available to them for executing their marketing campaigns; however, it’s important to understand that this information only scrapes off the surface-level insights. Behavioral data forms the core of adaptive marketing. It gives a deep understanding to the marketer about the likes, dislikes, preferences, motivations, goals, challenges and interaction with the brands. These future-forward insights help marketers devise relevant marketing campaigns likely to drive conversions.

In lack of adaptability, your marketing function is most likely to push into a futile cycle of strategizing and executing, without yielding any significant results. Adaptability can help your brand build a sustainable and meaningful relationship with your potential customers and customers.

3)     You love falling into plotholes.

If you want to ruin your marketing, one of the best approaches is to get your strategy as much lip service as you can. There are good numbers of marketers today, who look at marketing strategy as a laundry list of wishes, goals or objectives.

Getting 3X leads isn’t a strategy but an outcome or a goal. It’s not any strategy. How you aim or plan to achieve those goals is what marketing strategy is.

Many organizations during their brainstorming session (if any) or review meeting(s) – in which some nice (sounding), high-level ideas are bounced off – get pretty excited about some new trends or concepts and instantly jump into execution. That’s falling into plothole leading to a pothole. It’s not surprising to see many campaigns belly flopping when you’ve marketing managers, who knowingly or unknowingly steer the team into executing a campaign without setting goals and a plan to accomplish those goals, leave alone the most important aspect of aligning different team members or even functions around that campaign. That’s nearsightedness of the leadership in marketing.

With that said, strategic planning is not every manager’s cup of tea. It calls for a vision – that of a leader, who can chart out new horizons of growth. Marketing is no different. It’s not about hawking your products/services at customers or doing a monolog It’s about delivering experiences – that can make a difference to the lives of the people your business is out there for. And delivering experiences isn’t cakewalk. It requires an in-depth understanding of the customers, their pain points, goals followed by meticulous strategic planning that leads to seamless execution and finally delivering those personalized experiences to your potential customers/customers.

Apple’s return to glory

When Apple was fighting its survival battle against the tough competitors like IBM and Microsoft in personal computing, it turned back to its founder – Steve Jobs – who had faced an unceremonious ouster from the company a decade back. It was the sheer strategic brilliance of this visionary that went into devising amazing tech and marketing planning that took Apple from bankruptcy to billions is mere 13 years. It’s the greatest corporate comeback story of all times.

He had realized that it was the apt time for Apple to stop competing in the personal computing space and transition into high-end consumer electronics selling at premium prices. He launched the Think Different advertisement campaign and re-connected the brand back to its novel values and mission.

This new dawn at Apple (that marked the advent of iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, AppStore, retail strategy, etc.) also shed lights on three aspects:

  • A clear vision
  • Superlative execution
  • Reductionist stance that entailed selling only their simplest, most aesthetic offering

Keep these tips in mind if you want to ruin all the hard work you put into building the marketing function of your business.

I’m sure you’ve toiled hard to building a good product. So, do not let it go to waste simply because you now know the 3 easy ways to royally screw up your marketing.

How else do you think people mess up their marketing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


No or Incorrect Buyer Personas = Failed Marketing. Really?

Marketing Segmentation

You already know it. Powered by the interactive technologies, the buying process has completely changed and the power has shifted toward the buyer.  The marketer-centric, one-way marketing tactics that focus on pushing out mute marketing messages in the face of the potential customers are increasingly becoming ineffective and more expensive.

The rules have changed. Those of us, who are still confused about the path ahead, it’s time to bid adieu to the “four P’s” of our traditional marketing education and unlearn what marketing tactics used to work a decade or two ago. The modern marketing and sales gyrate only around your Buyer. He’s the hero of the story. No brainer there!

Buyer persona is therefore the key to transform your vague marketing into valuable marketing.

Love this tweet by:

Buyer personas form an indispensable part of the inbound marketing strategy. Without the complete understanding of your buyer persona, marketing team can never create remarkable and tailored content for the buyers in the different stages of the buying process. Basically, the non-existence or buyer personas or the use of an incorrect persona (if at all it’s there) leads to a plothole (as rightly mentioned in the tweet above). And with such a plothole, it’s hard to imagine favorable marketing outcomes.

How no or incorrect buyer personas equal doomed marketing?

  • No/Wrong Buyer personas = Failed Content Strategy

Marketing isn’t art but science. Its success is more rooted in logic than luck. By now, most organizations are convinced about the power of content in marketing today but it still is a top challenge for many marketers. In dearth of documented buyer personas or incorrect buyer personas in place, creating useful and engaging content can be daunting.

These correct personas (entailing the demographics, goals, behavior patterns, motivations, challenges, etc.) and buyer’s journey both are critical tools to ensure that the content produced is relevant to them in their roles and considering the stage of the buying process they’re in. This indeed is a great reason to invest time, resources and effort into researching, identifying patterns and creating compelling personal stories.

One important thing to note here is that if not enough time in invested into creating the buyer persons, this can wreak havoc in the form of incorrect or incomplete profile stories (that are not based on actual data but incorrect assumptions) that can lead to a faulty content strategy.

As per The Changing Face of B2B Marketing study published by Google and Millward Brown Digital in 2015, almost half of all B2B researchers are millennials. Hence, it becomes imperative to give them the content to this young brigade of online researchers where and only when they need it. And, not at the convenience of the marketers. This can only happen when the content developers and marketers have a thorough understanding of their buyer personas.

After spending a decade in the marketing industry and interacting with fellow marketers working at other companies, I find that not many organizations are enthusiastic or are investing in this extremely important exercise. Even after having a full-fledged content team, many companies are still juggling to produce relevant content for their target audience.

Only product-centric collaterals and approach to help sales teams in selling the product at the first few customer interactions are the recipes to disaster. Such marketing is bound to get doomed. Isn’t it?

  •  No/Incorrect Buyer personas = Marketing & Sales Teams Disharmony

One of the most common myths is that creating and consuming buyer personas holds significance only for the marketing team. Only creating buyer persona won’t suffice for the marketing success. Using it across the complete funnel strategy and getting the sales team onboard for using it as soon as you have created can work wonders for your business goals.

Many businesses still face the age old challenge of their marketing and sales teams not getting along, and hence fail to drive meaningful results. In such a scenario, something that can truly drive a successful relationship between the two departments is the buyer persona. The marketing team should be completely aware to whom they’re marketing and the sales department must know to whom they’re selling their products. Only when the two teams are on the same page on this crucial component of the business strategy, can the two teams collaborate meaningfully to drive results that matter.

However, not many organizations take this methodical approach and dive straight into executing the marketing campaigns (focusing on spray and pray approach – email blasts, buying databases, etc.) to support sales teams in their crazy, deals-closing spree. Hence we often get to hear about the huge volumes of irrelevant leads getting passed on to the sales teams by the marketing team. As a result, very often, friction surfaces between the two teams, and there begins the blame game, which is not good for the business as a whole.

  •  No/Incorrect Buyer personas = Poor Targeting

Poor targeting is one of the marketing’s deadly sins.

Segmenting your database is critical to sending tailored messages to your contacts. Though it seems like a tough exercise that involves taking into account too many variables, this is one area that buyer personas can easily simplify. These detailed profile stories offer cues as to what, when and how the messages should be sent to the database. Each persona has a different behavior pattern, the language they use and varied goals and challenges. Hence, each communication should be dealt differently.

If you don’t have that buyer personas developed or have an incorrect one, you fall prey to sending everyone the same thing. Thousands of marketers today do these repeated email blasts, hoping the message would resonate with at least some of them and that they would buy the product. And, the amount of time, resources and effort you put into this interruptive marketing can be counterproductive with your contacts getting annoyed and taking a decision never to engage with your brand.

It’s time to bring it all together with the Buyer Personas

Let’s aspire to be good marketers – marketers who understand their customers and needs. Let’s avoid the hard-sell approach and be helpful to them. Let’s take all the time it needs to build great personas and regularly update as these can change our marketing game – redefine our content and email strategy, the educational topics we can write on and solve their challenges through our remarkable content. If done right, it’s a win-win for everyone within the organization.

The Differences Between Outbound Marketing and Inbound Marketing: In a Nutshell


My job is to do inbound marketing.

With so much hullabaloo around changing consumer behavior (powered by rapid technology adoption) and the advent of smart ways using which they’re becoming quite adept at blocking interruptive marketing messages, it becomes important to understand how has the marketing evolved and the basic differences between traditional (outbound) marketing and inbound marketing.

The Internet is inundated with articles on this subject. However, most of them say the same story in different words. Having gained a lot of knowledge through different MOOCs and blogs from marketing giants like Seth Godin, HubSpot, Brian Solis, I have successfully added another value to my character – the zeal to empower fellow marketers or anyone who is just starting out as a marketer. After
all, inbound is all about helping people online.

I’ve attempted to highlight the key differences between Outbound Marketing and Inbound Marketing in a ready reckoner format.

S.No. Outbound Marketing Inbound Marketing
1 Interruption Marketing Permission-based Marketing
2 Marketer-centric Customer-centric
3 Involves Push Mechanism Involves Pull Mechanism
4 Focus on building Hype Focus on Helping and Empowering prospects/customers
5 Focus on finding customers Focus on getting found
6 One-way communication (Monologue) Two-way communication (Dialogue)
7 Outbound marketers have to “buy, beg or bug their way in” Inbound marketers “earn their way in”
8 Offers little or no value Delivers value
9 More expensive Less expensive
10 Less effective More effective
11 Paid search ads Organic search rankings
12            Examples :            Examples :
(a) Telemarketing Blogs
(b) Direct Emails Ebooks/Whitepapers
( c ) Blast to Paid/Rented Email lists Personalized emails to Opt-in Email lists
(d) Tradeshows SEO
( e) Cold calling Social Media
(f) TV ads / Radio ads Webinars/Podcasts
(g) Print advertising Online Videos

Do you have suggestions to add to this table? Please put them in the comments section here.

Modern Consumer’s Buying Behavior Has Changed: Has Your Marketing?

pre roll ads

5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … Skip Ad > >

I so hate this drill, especially when I hop on to YouTube to watch a Tom Cruise video. I literally despise these pre-roll ads. These ads are so annoyingly right in my face.

I didn’t log in to YouTube to watch a father scolding his son for losing his laptop and then the son buying a refurbished laptop from a popular ecommerce website (Ad Name: “As Good as New”). Though I’m an online shopaholic but at my own convenience and desired time. I mean I don’t love that shopping portal enough to come in between Tom Cruise (virtually) and me and hamper my video-watching experience like that.

I hate such brands that do NOT seek my permission and expose me to their marketing messages hundred times a day. This triggers a barrage of questions in my mind about their marketing strategy (and their marketers in particular!).

I feel so fortunate as a marketer in my career to have seen traditional marketing getting redundant and less effective in the last decade and subsequently wiped out by permission-based marketing in last 2-3 years. According to an Adobe study, marketing has changed more in the last 2 years than in the last 50 years.

As marketers, we need to acknowledge and respect the fact that with technology adoption gaining pace with each passing day, people are are getting better at blocking out these interruptions.

  • TV ads…We’ve TiVO/DVRs to skip advertisements. I so love Netflix’s House of Cards, free of advertising.
  • Radio ads…Users have XM/Sirius Radio/Pandora/Spotify to cut their advertising reach
  • Unsolicited (cold calls)…Fortunately, we’ve national Do Not Call Registry.
  • Spammy emails ….I routinely employ spam filters.

As a matter of fact, a large number of organizations are still not convinced about the merits of permission-based marketing for two reasons:

  • Their otherwise expensive outbound methods have fetched results for them so far. So new approach means new risk to revenues. And, not many are risk takers.
  • Permission-based marketing requires investment in terms of resources, effort, time and money. And, most of all, PATIENCE for long-term rewards.

So, such brands resort to “spray and pray approach” and thus still do “batch and blast” email campaigns and pray for leads online. And when the results do not pour in, it feels like as depicted in the picture below.


I love this brilliant quote from Dharmesh Shah, cofounder HubSpot

The bottom line is that people are now wary of traditional outbound marketing messages and adept at blocking outbound marketers out. Netizens now learn about and shop from brands in a new way – through search engines, blogosphere and social media sites.

To be successful in today’s times, we need to match our marketing mannerisms to the way our prospects gather information and shop for our products.


Generate leads through #Inbound marketing and target customers with relevance marketing.


Options for marketers: