CMO Guide to Inbound Marketing

Now more than ever, companies are utilizing inbound marketing to build their online audience and increase exposure resulting in quality lead generation. For successful implementation, CMOs are tasked with ensuring the strategy aligns with their company goals, gauging the success of the marketing efforts and tracking ROI. Of the CMOs who use social media as a strategy for inbound marketing, only 14% are utilizing financial metrics to track ROI.
Building a case on whether to hire an inbound marketing agency can be a challenge without ROI. Raka Interactive, a marketing and advertising agency based in New Hampshire advocates hiring an agency based on a simple concept. They underscore the technological expertise as well as the multi-faceted services an agency can offer toward marketing efforts. In comparing the cost to hire an agency in lieu of hiring several marketing professionals to acheive what one agency can do saves both time and money.
On the other hand, IMPACT, a digital agency based in North Dakota believes no one can create better content than in-house employees. They believe companies who take control of their own content yield the greatest returns. They suggest that project-specific initiatives are appropriate for the hiring of an agency.

Below are questions to contemplate when hiring an inbound marketing agency or and inbound marketing employee based on several industry opinions.

Questions To Ask An Inbound Marketing Agency

  • How do you improve the visitor to lead conversion rate? – Visitor to lead conversion is the most important aspect of an inbound marketers job. Generating quality leads is the objective made possible by SEO/content optimization, as well as with the use of an effective social media strategy and solid funnels and landing pages.
  • What happens if goals are not met or revisions are needed? – To avoid unanticipated costs and disappointment, the marketing experts at Lean Labs, suggest that business objectives should be measurable and expectations be set from the start.
  • How do you approach and produce the best content? – Content is a critical aspect of inbound marketing and should offer something fresh and of great value to the customer. 68% of consumers look for content online.
  • How do you help brands differentiate themselves from their competitors? – With increasing competition and a sea of information/content, it is important to a present a unique and personalized positioning to stand out among the rest.
  • What kind of ROI can I expect? What kind of results and when? – An inbound marketing agency should make use of analytics to track ROI. They should also have examples from past analysis to show a track record of success.
  • What are the agency’s strengths and/or limitations? Some agencies are niche specific and can add great strategic insight to a specific need, but can settle into a monotonous way of doing things. Other agencies work with a broad range of industries and will need time to learn about the company, the target consumer as well as specific challenges. However, they have the potential to present a fresh take on marketing ideas.
  • How strong is their online presence? – Perhaps it is prudent to consider how strong the agency’s online presence and strategy is before considering them for a partnership. If they are successful marketing themselves, it is likely they can do the same for their clients.
  • How much will it cost? Are services scalable? – With financial considerations at heart, it is good to inquire if a month to month option is possible. Or, does the contract require a large upfront cost? Are the services tied up in a lengthy contract? Are varied services provided as the company grows?

Questions to Ask When Hiring An Inbound Marketing Employee

  • What are some successful strategies that worked in the past? – This question offers the opportunity for the prospect to share their skills and experience as well as give examples and share ideas to convey competency and build confidence they can handle the task at hand.
  • How comfortable are you with analyzing and interpreting metrics? – An inbound marketing employee should be comfortable obtaining and interpreting analytics in order to communicate ROI and to determine what times of tweaks or changes should be implemented to stay on top of the game.
  • How successful are you at creating content? – Lean Labs highlights some important factors when looking for a inbound marketing employee. They suggest inquiring if the prospect is a good writer and if they research to obtain solid evergreen content to effectively teach and engage an audience? They also recommend seeing if they have examples of their work to share.
  • Are they familiar with the unique details about the business or industry? – Understanding the specific needs and nuances of the industry will enable them to create effective marketing campaigns that stand out against the competitors.
  • What is your lead nurturing strategy? Businesses that nurture leads close 50% more deals and spend 33% less than with leads that are not nurtured.
  • CoSchedule, a marketing company out of North Dakota lists a plethora of marketing interview questions to hire the ideal team. It provides a good baseline as to the variety of questions a company might ask a candidate.

Metrics And Considerations

  • CMOs utilize agencies for 25% of their social media activities and are poised to spend more on social media marketing over the next few years. By 2024, social media is anticipated to represent 20% of a company’s marketing budget.
  • According to a Gartner CMO Spend Survey, CMOs are spending 29% of their marketing budgets on marketing technology.
  • 36% of CMOs had a difficult time proving the ROI of marketing spend. Articulating ROI is one of the largest challenges marketers have when communicating with C-level executives.
  • When marketing to Chief Marketing Officers, it is important to understand their company’s business development performance in order to gauge what efforts will provide the best solution from the inbound marketing agency. A Weirdert blog post highlights five areas in which to focus a conversation when marketing to a C-level executive:
    • Growth-Inbound marketing utilizes content that will attract quality leads at a lower cost than traditional marketing efforts. Sales efforts around quality leads results in a higher closing rate. Marketing automation results in more qualified leads through constant nurturing.
    • Predictability- Evergreen content continuously attracts leads.
    • Risk management – Results are immediately measurable, any necessary modifications can be implemented right away.
    • Sustainability – Evergreen content creates ongoing lead generation. Opportunities for improvement can be readily identified and implemented as the team learns.
    • Solvency -Results are tangible in a year to a year and a half. Return on investment is easily identified with an increased customer lifetime value (CLV).
  • Any disconnects between the marketing team and C-level executives should be addressed. In 2017, the CEO of HubSpot, Brian Halligan says “Executives need a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges employees face, and employees need to communicate more clearly the roadblocks in the way of success.” While 69% of C-level executives believe their marketing strategy is effective, only 55% of their marketing employees agree. 31% of C-level executives believe their sales and marketing teams are closely aligned; only 17% of the managers agree.
  • Another blog post lists ten questions every CMO or VP of Marketing should ask before starting a marketing initiative. They emphasize the importance of strategy to kick start a successful initiative. A few questions are; Identifying the “why”, the business objectives and goals, what differentiates them from the competitors, what’s not working, which competitors should be a focus, and where have there been challenges and/or success in relation to branding and marketing.
  • Arcs and Curves, a digital inbound marketing agency in Dubai cites eight metrics imperative to inbound marketing. They are: leads from website traffic, the effectiveness of organic search, leads and traffic from social media, conversion rates from landing pages, sales conversion from qualified leads, the cost to acquire a customer, CLV and total revenue generated from inbound marketing.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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