When we first started getting involved in Inbound Marketing, we debated the question: “What process should be implemented first: Inbound Marketing or Voice of the Customer?” The answer we came to is a resounding BOTH. The truth is, inbound marketing and voice of the customer should be viewed as a closed loop system feeding off of each other and benefiting both your company and your customers. Efficiently functioning inbound marketing gives you many of the tools necessary to maintain an appropriate voice of the customer strategy; a well developed voice of the customer strategy springboards effective inbound marketing.

Marketing’s goal should ultimately be customer advocacy. If the last few years have taught us anything, we know that many of the old outbound tactics used to support the short-term view of immediate return on marketing investment is completely contrary to what actually gives customers incentive to buy. “New marketing” has proven that complete transparency, allowing prospects/customers to draw their own conclusions, and active responses to feedback provide the greatest foundation for trust and long-term relationships – and don’t depend on price!

I love the definition of inbound marketing on B2B Marketing Confidential’s blog from Andy Hasselwander, “Inbound Marketing: the voice of the customer manifested inside the company, that acts as an empowered advocate for customer needs across all company functions, gathered through the ever-increasing digital interactions and channels available.” It’s definitely a mouthful but illustrates how inbound marketing and voice of the customer strategies work hand-in-hand to meet customer needs, and provide companies with the greatest ROI. I’d even take this a step further to say that inbound marketing allows companies to use their VoC learning to craft and communicate key message takeaways for their customers.

This chart aligns VoC and IM components to demonstrate the complete integration of the two.

Voice of Consumer

Bottom line: voice of the customer tells you exactly what your customers want and need. Inbound marketing gives you the tools to use that information to your benefit most efficiently to grow your sales funnel. Both are effective alone but together they create a self-feeding loop of opportunity.