I've been thinking a lot lately about how to talk to an executive who does not naturally grasp the impact that inbound marketing could have on their business.

Imagine my delight when I checked out Marketing Charts the other day for the first time. I spent a good hour checking out the charts they publish - especially made for us marketing data geeks. 

Here are a few that I found which are worthy of sharing, that I thought might help an executive understand the importance of social media marketing. 

How much time do people spend on social media marketing?  

48% of the same survey sample generated qualified leads from their social media activity and 35% said it helped them close business .

And most interestingly, 28% of the survey sample is "just getting started" with social media ! (Have they been living under a rock?)

It amazes me the number of smart business people who haven't embraced this stuff yet. We've been producing data and graphs like this for a while now. For example, check out the State of Inbound Marketing , The State of the Twittersphere and the HubSpot marketing ROI study .  Plus, we have an article with ideas and a PPT template download on How to Convince a CEO to Start Inbound Marketing .

I have a customer who has been seeing moderate success for her efforts: generating about 40 leads/month after 6 months worth of blogging and social media marketing. It's just her effort and it's only a small part of what she does. She's a natural and I'm confident by the end of the year, she'd be generating 100s of leads per month if she kept it up.

The executives at her company, however, decided to shut down her blog and make her stop using Twitter and Facebook. 

She's certainly upset about it. We're dumbfounded by it.  But, how do we convince people that inbound marketing is the future? That engaging with prospective customers by publishing valuable educational content on the web and by having conversations through social media sites and blogs ... is the future driver of business growth?

If graphs like these don't show the potential, how do you prove it? Don't graphs like these scare executives that they're missing the boat? That their competitors are going to get a big head start? That their missing sales opportunities? That whatever initiative they're funding now isn't as important as getting on this inbound marketing train? 

Originally published Apr 17, 2009 8:31:00 AM, updated July 28 2017