In its infancy the World Wide Web was blissfully free of advertising, largely because traditional marketers were adverse to taking financial risks on an unproven medium. The days of interruption free browsing are long gone. As pop-up ads, spam and false links developed, so did software, often free, to combat their increasingly odious presence.

At the same time caller ID became ubiquitous, as did voice mail and the ability to both block calls at home and subscribe to national no-call lists. TiVo and DVR allows television to be viewed while ignoring the seemingly endless commercial breaks. Direct mail, usually referred to as junk mail, goes straight to the trash, or possibly the recycle bin for the eco-enlightened. The result is a nightmare for marketing departments eager to get their message to a consumer increasingly hostile to the unwanted imposition on his time and attention.

The rise of social media and the dominance of Google as the web browser of choice presents an alternative to the traditional method of marketing by interruption, and Inbound Marketing describes, in detail and with working examples, how to exploit it successfully. Its thesis is simple, getting found is better than pursuing potential customers. How to get found is the message, and where to position oneself to achieve it is its message.


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In its infancy the World Wide Web was blissfully free of advertising, largely because traditional marketers were adverse to taking financial risks on an unproven medium. The days of interruption free browsing are long gone. As pop-up ads, spam and false links developed, so did software, often free, to combat their increasingly odious presence.

At the same time caller ID became ubiquitous, as did voice mail and the ability to both block calls at home and subscribe to national no-call lists. TiVo and DVR allows television to be viewed while ignoring the seemingly endless commercial breaks. Direct mail, usually referred to as junk mail, goes straight to the trash, or possibly the recycle bin for the eco-enlightened. The result is a nightmare for marketing departments eager to get their message to a consumer increasingly hostile to the unwanted imposition on his time and attention.

The rise of social media and the dominance of Google as the web browser of choice presents an alternative to the traditional method of marketing by interruption, and Inbound Marketing describes, in detail and with working examples, how to exploit it successfully. Its thesis is simple, getting found is better than pursuing potential customers. How to get found is the message, and where to position oneself to achieve it is its message.

Halligan and Shah ask the entrepreneur to ask first if what is being offered is worthy of being found and, if so, how to ensure that it will. By exposing a service or product via quality blogs, interactive marketing techniques, independent reviews and discussion on social media, and keywords that ensure hits during web searches, Halligan and Shah demonstrate how customers will be pulled to the savvy entrepreneurs website, rather than repelled by obnoxiously repetitive advertising.

Formatted in a style resembling a seminar with experienced web developers and entrepreneurs, Inbound Marketing is not an in-depth dissertation in the traditional marketing sense. Indeed it recommends hiring criteria for marketers that is not in line with those of most existing business schools and practices. In that sense it is not revolutionary, but warns of the revolution taking place and how those who recognize the fact and position themselves to take advantage of it will derive the greatest benefit.

Inbound Marketing is not simply about writing website content and blogs. It discusses how to convert visitors to leads and leads to customers, how to hire the best people for the new way of marketing and how to install systems to monitor progress and success.

There are discussions on tracking the competition and how to monitor the inevitable changes that are coming as new marketing techniques continue to evolve. Inbound Marketing offers advice to exasperated marketing managers faced with limited and shrinking budgets struggling to find ways to adapt and maintain websites that become outdated almost as soon as they appear. It is written for the entrepreneur with a new idea or product, with a limited budget and the pressures of time, but it can be used by savvy managers willing to surrender to new ideas and business realities.

For those born after 1980, the world without the World Wide Web is inconceivable. Just as cell phones, in less than two decades have largely rendered pay phones, (and to an extent, hone based land lines) obsolete, so the social media dominating today’s web are eliminating the ways of advertising depicted in the nostalgic Mad Men. Getting products and services to consumers is and will always be the lifeblood of any business. Many businesses consider themselves to big to fail, for them the lessons and arguments presented by Inbound Marketing will be dismissed.

Digital cameras eliminated the need for film, Kodak and Fuji have felt the pinch. Newspapers around the world are shrinking to the point of being unrecognizable as digital content replaces them. Even the Personal Computer, barely thirty years old, is feeling pressure from tablets and smartphones.

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