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What Marcus Sheridan didn't teach me about inbound marketing

Posted by Murray Sye

on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 @ 09:28 AM

Head_with_smoke_640px-wideOn Thursday, September the eighteenth, I made a last minute decision to attend Marcus Sheridan's breakout session at HubSpot's Inbound14 conference in Boston. For those who don't know Marcus, he's the pool guy who turned his company into one of the largest of its kind, as a result of his inbound marketing efforts. You can check out his story here: TheSalesLion.

The focus of his presentation is what prompted me to rethink everything, but more specifically the direction of our content, the blogs we publish and how we socialize them.

Now I don't want to give you the impression that this was a mind-blowing revelation. What Marcus shared with me that Thursday morning I'd actually known for years. So it wasn't something new. I just needed a little nudge to give me that "ah-ha" moment.

Until now!

As a marketing agency we've spoken to literally hundreds of people about inbound marketing. Folks, maybe just like you, buyers of marketing services, CEO's, presidents, VPs, GMs, marketers from all kinds of businesses, of various shapes, sizes and industries.

Do you know what the one thing that we found to be a common thread shared by them all? They don't get it. They simply don't get how inbound marketing is going to help their company grow. They know of it, they know they need to act on it, but many are confused, don't understand it, and they can't see the potential.

Hey, maybe right about now you're saying, "yup, that's me." Are you one of those marketers wondering how inbound will work for your company? Are you thirsty for answers?

You've come to the right place. Starting now.

Here's your first takeaway from today's post. One of the most important concepts that buyers must accept is that everything has changed. In their book Inbound Marketing, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah explain in great detail why the old sales and marketing model is broken, detailing the major shift that has occurred since the emergence of the Internet.

The change in marketing has displaced the old sales and the marketing model that we grew to depend upon, and that some are still stuck in. This has been replaced as a result of the way your buyers behave in the buying process. Think about your own behavior. In lieu of a good recommendation from a friend, family member or colleague, where's the first place you go to look for a new supplier? Probably a fresh Google page or competing search engine. When in doubt, Google it, right?

Sure you have. 

So what makes you think your prospects are behaving any differently?

Let's face it, you can source anything on the net, which means that your buyers are searching for what you have to offer right now. It's just that they aren't able to find you online. It's a hard lesson for some, but companies must adapt to this new buyer behavior or face the consequences of a shrinking market-share or even (yikes) extinction.

Let's put this into context.

Let's say you have a few retail stores that sell personal and commercial fitness equipment. You showcase a collection of treadmills, weight training and fitness equipment in your retail stores, now all you have to do is get potential customers to know that you exist.

Okay, so how do you reach your target audience?

Using the previous 'traditional outbound techniques,' included a combination of radio, running print ads in local newspapers, distributing direct mail, participating in tradeshows and maybe even some telemarking.

The problem with these traditional techniques is that they have become less effective at spreading the word as people get better at blocking them out. People now use the Internet to shop and gather information through search engines such as Google and Bing. Think about the potential buyer who's interested in purchasing a treadmill for their home. The average shopper will conduct dozens of searches, gathering information about the various types of treadmills, reviewing the store's warranty, their service plan, and do a price comparison.

In order for our fitness equipment retailer to take advantage of this new reality, they'll need to change the way they think about their marketing. Marketing must now match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn and shop. And you do that by generating leads through inbound marketing.

So how do you do that, in an effective, efficient manner? Glad you asked.

Where do we go from here?

Here's our mission: We want to help you make sense of this ever-evolving marketing landscape, by helping to educate and inform. By providing the answers to questions that you may have about inbound marketing, social media marketing, content development, marketing strategies and a truckload more. Answers that will ultimately help your company grow!

As an example, here are a few article titles (maybe you've been looking for answers to these questions):

  • How much does inbound marketing cost?
  • How to I go about hiring a marketing agency?
  • Do you need a marketing strategy to do inbound marketing?
  • Our website looks like hell. How do I redesign it using inbound marketing?
  • Can Twitter really help me grow my business?
  • How do I create content for my blog if I don't know what to write about?
  • Is HubSpot worth the money?

If you've made it this far, I can bet that what you've read is of interest. If that's the case, I encourage you to check back often, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ or better still sign up for our regular blog updates. And, don't be shy. We'd love to hear from you. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments that you'd like to share, we encourage you to write to us below – or better still, call us at
416 449-9559.

In the interim, happy marketing from The Growth Agency.

Free eBook - How to get started with inbound marketing


Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
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