At Bowery Capital, we meet almost daily with the next generation of marketing and technology executives working in the Fortune 500. We care a lot about hearing their problems and needs, and try and help as much as we can as it relates to conveying our understanding of where technology is headed and how they should be thinking about growth. Something that has been interesting to us over the past year around our CMO bucket of investing has been the explosion of new marketing executives that are using inbound marketing as a strategy for success.
While inbound marketing may be obvious to many entrepreneurs, we are still in the early days of this as part of the Fortune 500 CMO’s quiver. For the next generation of CMOs that are thinking of using inbound marketing as a strategy, below are 4 key tips that we’ve learned over the past year that the best of the best use to succeed with inbound marketing:
1. Replace Budget vs. Add Budget — Oftentimes the most intelligent Fortune 500 CMOs we speak with use existing budget to kickstart their inbound marketing efforts. They don’t try and convince the CEO or the other executives of the value of inbound marketing midway through the year. They use a slice of their events budget, their paid marketing budget, or other less performing components of the marketing budget to get inbound marketing going. Provided the replacement is not within a performing area, this is a very easy way to get started with inbound marketing.
2. Inbound Marketing Takes Time — The best of the best that we meet are truly thinking about making the long term investment and know that inbound marketing rarely has quick wins. These CMOs actively vocalize the length of time it will take to see results and showcase to their team and other executives the benefits of earned and shared media like inbound marketing over paid media like spending dollars on PPC or retargeting. After all, inbound marketing doesn’t go away after you stop spending money like a PPC campaign. It is memorialized for all to see and stays online until you decide you want it to come down.
3. Shotgun Content Strategies That Seem to Work — This point was a bit surprising to us but many of the CMOs we speak with take a bit of a shotgun type of content creation strategy when it comes to inbound marketing. While they may spend some time on resource allocation and ensuring they can actually handle inbound marketing, they don’t spend a lot of time on the “what are we going to create” side of the house. Sure, they may have some buyer personas in house already but many just hit the ground running and develop a quick cadence of blog posts, eBooks, Webinars, etc. They test and iterate quickly and figure out what works and what doesn’t within the first couple of months and only then narrow in on what is working from a creation standpoint.
4. Content Ideas Come From the Full Org — CMOs currently have a lot of latitude within their organization and they use it to their advantage to generate content ideas for inbound marketing efforts. There is so much gold coming out of the sales, marketing, operations, and customer service business units in any of these companies that the best CMOs and their teams speak daily with line of business employees to generate inbound marketing ideas. Your customers are constantly having a question about a specific topic? Add it to the inbound marketing strategy! Your sales team is saying they are having trouble articulating a feature to a customer? Add it to the inbound marketing strategy! This is such low hanging fruit, and the best CMOs use it to their advantage.
Mike Brown Jr. is the Founder and a General Partner at New York-based Bowery Capital, an early stage venture capital firm. Prior to Bowery Capital, Brown cofounded AOL Ventures and led investments in over 30 companies primarily focused around the next generation of marketing and technology spend. Before AOL Ventures, Mike worked for the investment arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, helping to invest capital in early stage business software companies.