** Note: For the purposes of this post, outbound lead generation refers to paid digital media, such as purchasing leads from content syndication, email and social publishers who capture and deliver prospect data via their respective channels and owned media**
Prior to Integrate I worked for another rapidly growing marketing software company, HubSpot. I mention this because yesterday a colleague received a response to a prospecting email that read: “Sounds a lot like HubSpot. How is it different?” (which leads me to believe that my colleague’s prospecting emails could use some work).
In any case, while my colleague and I fully understand the vast yet complementary differences between HubSpot and Integrate, it did get me thinking that this would be good opportunity to address how important it is for marketing organizations to implement the same types of efficient and effective technology for their outbound marketing programs as many of them have for their inbound marketing programs.
I’m not going to be “vendor agnostic” here – I’m going to be straightforward and speak about what I personally see as a much-needed development for marketing pros by comparing the values and challenges of inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing.
Today inbound marketing strategies, including SEO, blogging and social, are critical pieces of most companies’ marketing mix — and they should be. After all, prospects are more active in search and social than ever before, and the process to capture a lead and get it into your marketing and sales follow-up processes with an inbound campaign is much more streamlined than most outbound efforts (thanks in large part to automation platforms like Hubspot).
Outbound marketing has its advantages as well. It fulfills many marketing team shortcomings with regard to resources, expertise and audience reach. No matter how sophisticated your inbound marketing software may be, most marketing teams must still supplement inbound efforts via outsourced marketing programs to paid media partners. Outsourcing lead generation ensures a steady flow of prospective customer data to the marketing stack (marketing automation and CRM systems). It also provides extended reach to new audiences that you may not have previously identified or had access to. Most media partners (especially in the content syndication space) have loyal audiences seeking the content you’re trying to promote. Consequently, you’re not only receiving customer data, you actually end up driving new traffic to your owned media.
Outbound efforts do often present challenges, big and small. Managing a portfolio of media partnerscan be daunting (many of our customers at Integrate currently work with 20+, 50+ and even 100 media partners). A typical outbound campaign requires the following:
- Identify qualified media partners
- Send and review RFPs to publisher
- Deliver IOs
- Juggle invoicing and all the accounting
- Communicate with each partner to ensure campaign parameters are clear
- Organize and deliver the right creative assets to the right publishers
- Scrub tens, if not hundreds, of spreadsheets a week of bad/ill-formatted customer data before manually uploading to marketing stack
- Analyze and report on partner performance (while also seeking to understand individual campaign and creative performance)
- Continually take data gathered from marketing automation and CRM systems, while manually communicating findings and required alterations back to each media partner to optimize the program by partner, campaign and program
…these are obviously burdens. But the value of outbound is clearly there, otherwise marketing departments across the world wouldn’t dedicate teams to dealing with these tasks every day. In 2014 an expected $42 Billion will be spent on outbound digital efforts, according to Myers Business Network.
Outbound marketing is a necessary and effective method for engaging new audiences and acquiring new customers. Just as HubSpot has effectively increased the ease with which marketers can operate inbound marketing campaigns, Integrate has spent the last four years striving to perfect a demand marketing platform that delivers the same results for outbound marketing initiatives.
If you’d like to discuss your outbound marketing pains or share any solutions you’ve found to alleviate some of these inefficiencies, I’m happy to connect. Just drop me a line at email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter @BeInLikeFlynn.