International Inbound Marketing - the Key Ingredient

Dave Kaupp | Jul 25, 2012
This is the third in a 3 part "mini-series" on international marketing - one of the most fundamental elements of and international business development initiative.  In part two, Dave Kaupp, an experienced international marketing expert and international business consultant discusses the importance of international inbound marketing. (read part 1 & part 2)

Whose job is it?

If you sell through channel you probably have some sort of clause in your contract that primarily obligates your channel partner to generate their leads and create their own projects.  You probably provide sales support materials, own trademarks, and conduct some general marketing - agreeing to pass to them leads which happen to come through you.

How's that work?

If you situation is like most, it honestly doesn't work very well.  Your partners may participate in an occasional local trade show; they'll probably introduced your product to their current customers; and they certainly await the miraculous phone call when a local prospect jumps up and begs to be shown your solution.  But they don't generate many of their own leads and therefore project creation is generally anemic.

But it's a local issue, and needs a local solution, right?

Not necessarily.  I would argue that a carefully conceived and properly localized international inbound marketing campaign would allow you to proactively drive much of the local lead generation.  You won't want to let your channel off the hook.  Of course they should be networking and leveraging their local relationships and intimate local market knowledge.  But think of how your business would benefit if you had a stream of qualified local leads - you'd help grow your business globally and simultaneously strengthen your channel relationships.  Channel prefers to spend time working where the smallest investment in their resources yields the greatest return.  Here's a perfect way to make your product / company an indispensable part of their portfolio!

But your still skeptical.  Probably because you haven't completely bought into the idea of focused inbound marketing for your domestic business - much less undertake to apply it in pursuit of international sales.  I understand.  And realistically it has to happen in that order - to succeed at international inbound marketing, you first must succeed domestically.

What is inbound marketing?

inbound marketingThanks for asking.  you know other readers had the same question but hesitated to ask.  It's not a silly question.  Marketing is evolving so quickly (what pace of change qualifies as a revolution?) that without external expertise most companies can't keep up.  And inbound is often incorrectly defined to the detriment of those who might otherwise consider it. 

Inbound marketing is not simply:
  • tweeting (or other social media)
  • blogging SEO (on and/or off-page)
  • a sexy website
Actually it is all those and more - but those tools are incorporated into a strategy.  In short "Inbound marketing is all about getting found and in turn, turning those visitors into leads, and then leads into sales in the most efficient, cost-effective manner. The most successful campaigns are highly integrated, blending data analysis, content marketing, social media, email, mobile, technical know-how, and more."

A recent blog post at the Collaborative Growth Network had a great distillation of the premise and execution of inbound marketing which you'll find at the bottom of this post.

The bottom line?  If you are intent on growing your business (regardless of global scope) this is a key strategy which you must embrace.  And the beauty of it?  It is about the cheapest marketing initiative you'll undertake.  Bang for the buck, inbound marketing is a "no brainer."

Taking it international

Once you've established your program domestically, then you need to expand it and localize it in support of your international marketing initiatives.  Sure there's work to do.  (check out our international marketing localization prezi here)  But the payoff will be substantial.  And I'm pretty confident you (and your senior executives) will be amazed at the effectiveness.

You're already short staffed and this will require skills and expertise which are understandably not part of your skill set or anyone in your "in house agency."  That's precisely where an international business development consultant can prove particularly valuable.

Consilium provides assistance with the creation of international inbound marketing programs, but also works with companies to establish a solid domestic inbound marketing program first.  Contact us to discuss how we can help you implement this bargain marketing program.

Want to learn more about international marketing in general?  Download our free whitepaper below.

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Excerpt follows from Collaborative Growth Network
"The marketing industry is changing, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. As Paul Roetzer points out in his book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint, this evolution stems from:

  • Change Velocity: Technology has changed the way that people access and consume information (e.g. mobile devices, social networks, etc.). It also provides marketers with more channels to engage target audiences.
  • Selective Consumption: The core concept behind inbound marketing, selective consumption simply means that buyers are now in control—choosing when and where they want to interact with brands.
  • Success Factors: A greater focus needs to be placed on outcomes, not outputs. With the sophistication of today’s tracking and analytic systems, marketers can tie campaigns to bottom-line results.

These factors are demanding marketers to reevaluate how they approach campaigns, and commit to activities that drive real business results—mainly leads and sales. Instead of relying strictly on old-fashioned marketing tactics (such as direct mailers and ads), which are increasingly ignored by consumers, it’s time for marketers to go inbound.

Inbound Marketing for the Complete Buying Cycle

It’s common for B2B companies to have buying cycles that span weeks, months or even a full year. So, how do you keep these people interested and engaged all the way through purchase? Effective inbound marketing:

  • Fills the top of the sales funnel with leads from search engines, content and social networks.
  • Nurtures leads in the middle of the funnel through targeted content and automated follow up based on each lead’s interests and behaviors.
  • Works closely with sales to improve lead quality, relay key lead details and ensure a smooth handoff.

Analyzes everything to optimize campaigns and prove ROI."