harmony |ˈhärmənē| noun ( pl. harmonies )

  • the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect: four-part harmony in the barbershop style | the note played on the fourth beat anticipates the harmony of the following bar.
  • the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole: delightful cities where old and new blend in harmony.

After more than five years of implementing inbound marketing strategies, you would think that the newness of all this would have worn off by now. Back when I started, social media was still in its infancy, blogging was reserved for a brave group of pioneers, ROI was just being tracked and realized, most of the technology used today hadn’t been invented yet, and the blank stares and silence remained after any conversation or speech I gave on the topic.

Looking back on the evolution that has happened, it is easy to see that it is truly an exciting time to be in the marketing business. So much has been tested and proved (or trashed quickly), and the days of trying to convince organizations that inbound is ‘the way’ is over (see my recent blog on This is How B2B Marketing Works).

While most of what stumped companies five years ago is easily implemented today, such as a social media presence, there is still a lingering problem plaguing companies who want to get social or do inbound – they aren’t creating harmony amongst all of their resources.

Almost every company that approaches us states that they want to get better results from their online marketing efforts and they know they have to do something better in order to achieve that. These companies usually come to us with preconceived ideas of what they need to do to accomplish their goals. Often it is doing better on social media, blogging or updating their website. While these are all important, they are simply pieces in a much bigger puzzle.

In order for any B2B company to do inbound right, they have to create an atmosphere of harmony in which all of their resources are working together to accomplish the same goal – whatever that goal is. Just like a barbershop quartet, their Four Core Marketing Services and all of the pieces involved should be working together to create perfect harmony.

Four Core Marketing Services

What, you ask, are the four core marketing services?

1. Traffic Generation

The first piece of your marketing quartet should be focused on brining people to your website. This can be accomplished via an optimized Blogging strategy, solid social media publishing, search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing. The goal is to have all of these working together to increase your traffic month over month (you should have a specific goal for traffic in mind in order to measure your effectiveness).

2. Lead Generation

Now that you are hopefully getting more and more traffic to your site, the next step is to create ways to turn your traffic into qualified leads. This is done through premium content like whitepapers, eBooks, and other tools. When you put these content assets behind landing pages with conversion forms, you turn visitors into leads and can use the information you gather through those forms to continue to market to your leads (after all, there is no point in generating more traffic if you don’t have a way to capture information on those visitors!).

3. Convert Leads into Customers

Once you have information on who your visitors are, the next task is to identify your true opportunities – those qualified leads that are worth pursuing. A lead nurturing campaign and workflows will allow you to bring your leads through the sales funnel while providing them with relevant and timely information. As this automated process brings them further and further down the funnel, you will be able to identify and target the ‘low hanging fruit’ (workflows and list segmentation are great ways for you to work smarter).

4. ROI Analysis

One of the best lessons I learned in business school was if you can’t measure it, then don’t do it.

Most companies set a goal and then then throw ideas and resources out there expecting it all to just work out. That is like setting a goal of running a marathon and then running whenever you feel like it. In order to complete the goal of finishing a distance race, a timeline needs to be set, elements such as nutrition, sleep, other areas of fitness, etc. need to be determined; and consistent monitoring in order to adjust and refine your plan is crucial. The same goes for your marketing efforts. Marketing is a science, not an art. Without consistent data and adjustments, you are putting your results to chance!

As I said at the beginning, the inbound process still excites me. The reason is that I see the results on a daily basis. Not only do we get tremendous results for ourselves, but our clients do as well, and that is very satisfying. This inbound marketing magic happens when all of the pieces of the inbound process are working together. Working in silos or trying different pieces does not work.

Inbound marketing is not a theory, it is the way B2B Marketing Works.