A long time ago…back when I was something of a younger version of myself, I would take a Lindbergh- ride to NYC and plant myself loosely in the corner barstool of my favorite hangout. Sweet Basil’s was a Blues & Jazz club in NYC on Seventh Avenue, just down from Bleecker Street. The music warmed and cooked this smoke-filled room. I loved how I could lose myself in the musical stories told by some of the great, often forgotten artists of yesterday, obscured by time and textured by life.

Special nights bookmark my memories. Like the night Big Joe Turner sauntered in after midnight, a young blonde on each arm — their names must have been tight and tighter — and was shown to the center table, which sat not 10 feet from the small stage to hear Jimmy Witherspoon do his thing. “Spoon” waved and as his song ended…turned to his sidemen and nodded. They smoothly swung into an intro, as “Spoon” leaned over Big Joe took the mic on cue and laid into “Hound Dog” like I’d never heard it before. The place went crazy and I stopped drinking. Here were two artists, both careers diminished by Rock & Roll, but still working and getting it done. As the music scene continued to change, Rock & Roll took over and blues shrank to hold onto a smaller piece of the market.  The new music sold the records, while the blues genre complemented it to round things out so all of music worked for everyone. Big Joe Turner passed in ’85. “Spoon” went back to Paris to sing awhile and passed in ’97. Sweet Basil never accepted Rock and died in 2001.

Me? Well, I had to go to work in the morning. So, I shook off my blues and bourbon hangover and trucked myself back to corporate life. Lotsa blues…not a lot of music.

My career was always in Sales and Marketing. I’ve watched these past several years as Marketing has begun to take over some of my company’s traditional Sales functions, replacing things like cold calling (which every sales person just loves), telemarketing and information dumping proposals. Technology and 9/11 coupled with our changing culture are mostly to blame.

And, just as Rock & Roll nudged out the Blues, I’m seeing the advent of Inbound Marketing replace much of the traditional Outbound Marketing functions. The brochure-like Website greets visitors with not only the complete history of your company but also everything about who you are and what you do, wrapped in a ribbon touting how great you and your team are. This type of website is being replaced with Inbound content that is designed to provide information responsive to the questions and issues that bring visitors to your site in the first place.

An Inbound Website, an updated Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program, an integrated Social Media Marketing Program and a well-designed E-mail marketing campaign will actually work for you as it enhances your company’s brand awareness.  Most importantly, Inbound Marketing delivers sales leads that can be nurtured and turned into sales revenue. Outbound still lives….it’s just moving to a quieter neighborhood.

A great marketing plan is a core and ring approach and will result in a robust and successful marketing strategy. This means that Inbound Marketing should be at the core of your strategy, surrounded by a ring of some focused Outbound Marketing. This is how companies are alive and thriving today; getting the most out of their resources with a successful online presence that works for them. Manage your company to embrace the new and change with the times. “Spoon” and Big Joe’s music live on.  But, One Sweet Basil is enough.