April 6, 2011 at 6:51 PM
Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot and Author of The B2B Social Media Book
The final bill for SEO, blogging and tweeting is not $0. It costs SOMETHING to have an employee do this work. It costs more if you hire a consultant such as HubSpot to help you with this work. Plain facts of life here...
the real cost of inbound marketing is the opportunity cost. What happens if you ignore it? That sucking sound is all your prospects going to the folks who have been listening to the transformation of how people buy today
# of people with a twitter account: 10,000. # of people actually generating revenue from twitter: 4
Great cartoon. If you are a startup company or small business, the way to hold down costs is to use inbound marketing. As for Brian Lang's comment, I think the characters depicted are business owners, since they are the ones paying the bills in the end. Hence the point is, the low cost of entry for inbound marketing. (If you want to get technical, both owners have labor costs; the outbound owner would have to pay his employee to stuff envelopes, etc. too.) But the difference in the end there are no ads to buy, trade show fees, travel bills, etc.
@Peter Douglas: I get it. But there is SOME cost, not ZERO cost.
Inbound Marketing cost is not $0. I think that's too sensationalist and nobody can sell this concept by saying it's basically 0 cost. Anything that's 0 investment has 0 return. Also, it's prudent to say that some ad costs or some events are not necessary and a marketer can replace them by IM actions. But, say that you shouldn't do anything is kind of radical because people are still going to places to develop relationships and acquire knowledge as well as watching TV. I'm defending and pushing IMkt in Brazil but I worked for many years with Outbound mkt. It can have a reduced result in some areas but it's not dead completely. TV for example still plays a lot of influence on people, so easy there. Also there are several types of businesses that need to have mind share because they are based on impulse and need buy, like beverages for instance. I think that any wise marketer needs to learn how to combine both methods investing money in the Inbound area that's badly used in the outbound area. Also, some folks "born in the web era" often ignore the existence and power of real life relationships. That's my humble opinion. Rgds//
Folks here are right, the cost is not $0. That's kinda like the federal government not factoring in the cost of food or fuel into their inflation cost. While the feds are just being deceptive you are just being overly simplistic. Love your posts though, keep them coming.
Our owner recognizes the importance of Inbound Mktg to a certain extent but that lack of obvious price tag has him questioning the value. My time (and by proxy the pricetag of my salary) has a greater ROI (in his opinion) on projects with more immediate gratification.
Reminds me of those mastercard ads. Priceless...
Hmmmm....Jake, Twitter is responsible for a recent $200K hardware sale and LinkedIn a $500K prospect yet to close. People purchase, computers don't.
I don't know about you, but my time is not worth $0/hr!
Let's look it this way. You hire an advertising agency. Spend time with them telling your side of you business. Then they tell their ideas and you have to spend again time asking yourself if the campaign is something you want go further. You might even want to check out on many different ad agencys and start spending more and more time with looking out different options. After a few weeks you have a campaign ready and it either gives you results or no results. So in this case you are spending on the choosing process and finding the right ad agency, their consultations, their creative work and ad costs. AND all this contains your own time spent with checking out different options and campaigns what to use on adverticing, while you could be doing inbound marketing and using your own time for that marketing since the cost is pretty much the same... So you have to pay for your time also on out outbound marketing, don't forget that.
One more log for the fire: Outbound marketing is a one-time, disposable cost. You print your mailers, pay for your tradeshow booth, or your ad placements—and once the show/mailing/ad run is over, it's over. With inbound marketing, you're creating an asset that continues to work for you. In fact, it becomes MORE valuable over time as you rise in page rank, grow the # of inbound links, etc. Food for thought ;)
Economist Milton Friedman said, "There is no such thing as a free lunch" and he was right! Even a free lunch takes up your time so it has an opportunity cost associated with it. Having said that inbound marketing is a lot less costly to undertake and in the long-term can provide continued and better returns.
Brian, wouldn't you already be paying said employee to do your outbound marketing? The point is, inbound marketing poses no extra cost to the company, as all of the tools are free. And actually, most companies could snag an intern to do their inbound marketing, once a plan is drawn up. I used to do contract work for a marketing company, and we had an intern in college helping me with all of my social media clients. I created the schedule, and she followed it. Interns are potential employees, too, but also great PR, because your company can place itself as one involved with the community.
I agree that inbound marketing does not cost $0 - however - there are a lot more long lasting marketing effects of inbound marketing than there are for outbound marketing - :) better ROI!!
Jez, oh so bored with the cynical, smart-asses reminding HubSpot that SEO and inbound stuff has costs too. No sh*t, it all has costs! Move on. (A), You get it and (b) so does the author, so now that we've seen how big yours is, can we move on the friggin' point being espoused in this post? SEO and social media marketing has many costs that step outside the conventional paradigm. HubSpot is merely asserting that the conventional paradigm needs, now more than ever, to be taken to task. Is it really such a chore to ask readers to glean what's being said between what's actually being written? Does this post need read like ^&%$#@ stereo instructions to scratch that itch of yours? I find this urgency to pick apart this particular hole in this particular message to be the worst kind of all kinds of conversational opportunism. Say something original or just maybe politely and humbly listen. Eventually, says Hemmingway, listening will give way to real opportunity, not this flagrant and shameless to pissing in someone else's rosebush. Man this annoys me. Sorry HubSpot about the rant. Change nothing.
Inbound Marketing versus Outbound Marketing share at least one common trait...it's all in HOW IT'S DONE. You can have the greatest blog in the world but if your potential customers or people who can refer potential customers aren't reading it then it's nothing more than a vanity plate. Trade shows are not completely worthless if you're at the right one and talking to the right people. Are they cost effective? It depends. Our greatest asset is our relationship with realtors (that being said is there anyone who can recommend a great real estate blog?) and we've originated more of those relationships by attending Realtor Association functions and Realtor oriented trade shows than we've created with our facebook page. Linked In is looking more and more interesting for nuturing these networks after the initial meet and greet has been handled at a face-to-face function.
Sure, one's time is worth something, but we're talking about bills that need to be paid, not one's time -- an important distinction with a small business owner. A blog costs nothing to start. Opening a Twitter account is free. Selecting keywords has no cost, either. How is that not true? Very effective comparison and cartoon!
The inbound marketing is really helpful in many ways. Not only save the cost, but also connect to more people.
I've enjoyed the passion behind a lot of these postings! It seems to me however, that what's missing from these conversations is the value of integrating these two approaches to a common end (more leads and sales) and the strategic creativity it takes to figure out how to get a "just right" balance of inbound and outbound tactics to reach and motivate suspects to action. In the niche that I serve (professional services)I would never do a lead gen campaign that is solely dependent upon just one approach - it's a certainty that I would not get the reach I need to fill the sales funnel.
most companies could snag an intern to do their inbound marketing, once a plan is drawn up. I used to do contract work for a marketing company, and we had an intern in college helping me with all of my social media clients! www.vpillbayi.com www.vpillsbayi.gen.tr www.altincilekzayiflama.web.tr www.orjinalaltincilek.web.tr www.sigarabirakma.web.tr
Before we starting inbound marketing, we were getting very few visitors to our website. Now, since we launched our inbound campaign, we're getting tons of traffic to our site. I definitely think inbound marketing is the way to go.
I run a direct mail and variable data printing business. I am very aware of outbound marketing and the costs associated with it. However, saying that inbound marketing costs nothing is ridiculous. The costs associated with inbound marketing can sometimes be greater than outbound marketing. Consider the cost of website development and SEO. And while there are instances where people can develop their own website and do their own SEO, there is still an enormous amount of time that is involved. And you know the old addage "time is money."