Before the world implodes on itself because the title reads “Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Work,” make sure you read to the end. If you are a TLDR (too long didn’t read) type of person, this post is not for you, move along.

The truth is though that the term “inbound marketing” and everything it encompasses simply can not work as a sustainable marketing strategy. It’s fact. I like to think of it in my mind with a fictitious story:

The wagon wheels on Reggie’s caravan were splintering and his ox was tired… the hope of making it to California was dwindling like the time left on his life. You see, Reggie has a gambling problem and he owes some very unsavory men a large amount of money. Why these men have not already taken his life is a miracle in and of itself. Reggie has a plan though. There is a gold rush in California and he has developed a new method and has a new invention that will allow him to prospect for gold in a way that no one ever had. This would be his saving grace.

As the Ox fell to its knees in exhaustion, Reggie peered down the dusty road ahead and saw all he needed to encourage his trusty ox to continue on with supplies in tow, a sign labeled, “Welcome to California.” He had done it, there was no doubt in his mind that the toughest part of the journey was over.

Reggie picked a spot and set up his contraption and went to prospecting like a man out of his mind. People gathered to watch as this behemoth of a machine unloaded the silt and mud from the bottom of the river bed with ruthless efficiency. It dropped through a sifter the size of a locomotive and into a massive vault that looked to be stolen from a federal bank. This vault was to protect the gold that would pay Reggie’s debts. It was certainly something to behold. There was no doubt in Reggie’s mind that the vault would be full of lifesaving gold by the end of the day!

As the sun began to set, Reggie was standing back admiring his genius when a sharp blow to the back of the head crumpled him like a deck of cards. Reggie turned over, hand on head, blood seeping through his fingers to find himself staring down the barrel of a colt .45. Had it been any other time, he would have marveled at the beauty of the ivory handled pistol but all Reggie could see was its owner, a man he owed an enormous amount of money to, Sten Myers. For Sten, himself to be here was not a good sign. Sten was the ruthless leader of the gang that Reggie was indebted to. Reggie’s time was out.

Sten peered down at Reggie and spoke, “You have three seconds to tell me where my money is. 1…” Reggie, panic-stricken, yelled and pointed at his machine, “It’s there, it’s in there!” Sten took a confused look at Reggie’s monstrous machine, looked back at Reggie and replied, “Show me.” Reggie slowly climbed to his feet, blood dripping from his head to the ground like sand from an hourglass. He began the meticulous process of opening the ironclad safe with Sten’s patience reaching its limits. Finally, the machine clicked with an oddly quiet and peaceful sound for a machine that had been so loud and boisterous just a few moments ago. Reggie flung open the door and stood back with his hands up, “It’s all yours”, he exclaimed. Sten instructed Reggie to step back as he inspected the inside of the vault. Reggie’s fears and trepidation began to reside as Sten pulled out a small handful of gold nuggets and flakes. “See, I told you, you can have it all. What’s in your hand and the rest in that giant vault.” Reggie said. Sten scowled, “This is all that’s in there.” He cocked his gun back with a wrath that shook Reggie to his core.

So did you put it all together? Inbound was Reggie’s machine. It was efficient and got him tons of leads (mud and silt). However, at the end of the day, Reggie did not need mud, he needed gold. Inbound, his machine, only got him a handful. Reggie’s machine only focused on quantity, not quality. It also only focused on one portion of the job that is prospecting or the customer life cycle/ funnel.

With that said, make sure your strategy as a marketing department is focused on the FULL funnel and has tools supporting every aspect of the funnel. Not just the top of the funnel where inbound resides.