This past week Suzanne Carawan and I hosted the first Inbound Lunch Bunch at ASAE Headquarters in Washington, DC. It was a huge success and I can draw five observations from the event:
1. Momentum is Building for Inbound Marketing
The initial concept of the Inbound Lunch Bunch was to gather a handful of association marketing peeps to talk all things inbound. We wanted to swap ideas and share successes (and failures). So it was jaw dropping when 150 association marketers registered for the event. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised (given the power of the inbound methodology) but I’m pumped to see the momentum building. If you’re interested in learning more about inbound marketing check out my post The Biggest Problem with Association Marketing and How You Can Fix It.
2. The Large Majority of People Are New to Inbound
During the session I surveyed the room asking people to rate their level of expertise with inbound marketing. Roughly 75% were beginners with the remaining 25% intermediate (including myself). No one raised their hand when I asked for advanced level. Just like the momentum for inbound marketing, however, the level of expertise will change rapidly in the coming months.
3. When People See Inbound in Action They Get It
The inbound methodology alone is interesting but it is heady and takes time to digest. When presenting it you need strong examples. I know this applies to most learning experiences but it is especially true with inbound. However, once people see it in action the lightbulbs go off. Faces light up. Questions are asked. Old paradigms are challenged. Excitement builds.
4. Inbound is a Complex, Brainy Discipline That Requires Smart People
I can’t sugar coat it. Inbound is a complex new world. It is part science and part art. It requires a creative and an analytical mind. It requires marketing technologists. The range of knowledge is broad and putting it into practice can be daunting. Associations need smart marketing people to embrace inbound. And they’ll need help to get it up and running. It requires $$ to make it happen. Or it will take longer to find success. At ERA, we have shifted significant dollars away from yell and sell marketing to inbound activities. For example, we decided not to mail an attendee brochure for our annual convention and put $15,000 into content development. That’s a major shift!
5. Inbound is More Than Content Marketing. It’s Technology, Science and Content
This concept has been crystallizing for me over the past few months. It’s clearer to me now that I’ve got some inbound under my belt. People that say inbound is the same as content marketing miss the technology and science side of inbound. Inbound is about developing relevant content for your members and prospects. But it’s also about blogging, SEO, keywords, landing pages, forms, personas, social media, integrations, marketing automation and learning how to tie it all together. The results come when the technology, science and the content all come together!
Thank you to Suzanne Carawan and HighRoad Solution for making Inbound Lunch Bunch a reality! I look forward to the next Inbound Lunch Bunch on Wednesday, May 14, 2015 at ASAE Headquarters in DC. See you there!!