Tectonic shifts in marketing continue to occur as more companies embrace inbound. A recent example is the rebranding of SEOmoz to simply “Moz” as the company broadens its focus to an inbound approach after nearly a decade of thought leadership in SEO.

Organizations of all sizes are recognizing the magnetic qualities of content that’s too awesome not to share – content that provides real value in answering our questions and helping us solve real-life problems. Inbound Social-Media-Buzz-Iconmarketing budgets have grown nearly 50 percent, while some 58 percent of surveyed marketers said their organizations do some form of inbound marketing, according to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing report.

While it’s amazing to witness the growth of inbound, it’s also important to remember the pioneers who helped get us to this point over the past decade. This post will give you a brief history of inbound marketing by examining some of the thought leaders who have paved the way.

Permission marketing

Seth Godin wrote a blog post back in 2008 called “Permission Marketing” that has had profound effects on the way that many of us think about marketing.

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them,” Godin wrote in the post. “It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.”

Contrast permission marketing with Interruption Marketing, those irritating marketing tactics like display ads that interrupt us when we’re visiting a website, reading a newspaper or watching a television show. So the Godin model offers something of true value to the consumer instead of inundating them with unwanted sales pitches and product offers.

Halligan and Shah

Two executives at the Boston-based marketing software company HubSpot are also pioneers in inbound: CEO and co-founder Brian Halligan and CTO Dharmesh Shah.

Halligan describes the contrast between inbound and outbound marketing – cold calling, seminars, email blasts to purchased lists and outsourced telemarketing – in a 2010 blog post.

“Rather than doing outbound marketing to the masses of people who are trying to block you out,” Halligan wrote, “I advocate doing ‘inbound marketing’ where you help yourself ‘get found’ by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.”

Last year, Halligan told Forbes he expects traditional marketing to get “obliterated” over the next 10 years as the “massive shift” in the relationship between consumers and brands continues to evolve.

Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott, a marketing executive, public speaker and HubSpot advisor, is another thought leader in the inbound space. Scott wrote an influential book called “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” that’s sold more than 250,000 copies. He also introduced the concept of “newsjacking,” which he defines as “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself and your business.”

Newsjacking can work because we live in an age that’s saturated with 24/7 news where people will often search for more information about the latest development. That’s where newsjacked content can reach an interested audience with a fresh take on a timely topic.

Marketing magnets in the Golden Age

As inbound comes of age, we’ll continue to see more announcements like the Moz rebranding. Slingshot SEO has gone through a similar journey with the launch of our sister brand, digitalrelevance™, as we focus on delivering inbound marketing campaigns that market like a magnet.

We’re described this era as the Golden Age of Marketing because inbound marketing leaders are well positioned for the opportunities that come as more and more people tire of outdated outbound tactics. We’ll continue to write about inbound marketing on this blog, but here are a few other resources for learning more about inbound:

Inbound.org: A partnership between Moz and HubSpot, this site serves up hundreds of articles and discussions about trends in inbound.

The Moz blog: This will be a blog to watch as Moz continues to make its presence felt in inbound.

Our Inbound Resources: This section of the digitalrelevance site has The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media, The Enterprise Blog Post Optimization Guide and more helpful resources.

The HubSpot blog: Described as “All inbound marketing, all the time,” HubSpot’s blog covers all things inbound.

So, what are your thoughts about the development of inbound marketing? Who do you feel have been the most influential personalities in the movement and what are your expectations for inbound’s future?

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