Over the last few years, there has been quite a battle between Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing. Those in the Inbound Marketing camp say that it’s the ONLY way of marketing with the shift in information from the seller to the buyer. Those in the Content Marketing camp say that Inbound will only get you to a certain point, and then you’ll stop short of your goals. You can read some Inbound Marketing propaganda here and here to get a sense of what that camp is feeling. And here is a piece from the Content Marketing camp for your reading enjoyment. Which is correct? We’ll do our best to help sort this out.
To be completely transparent, here at Vitamin D, we’re a marketing agency that uses inbound strategies to help grow businesses. The Inbound Methodology is perfect for that. It’s perfect because more often than not, most business are not using their digital real estate in an effective manner to attract quality, targeted leads. Once the leads are in the funnel, the Inbound Methodology lays out the tactics to be used to nurture the lead through the sales funnel to become a customer. After the customer conversion happens, then everyone is happy. When measuring for success, the numbers won’t lie. They will show growth.
On the flip side, Content Marketing is practiced to stretch beyond the customer conversion and into ongoing customer communication. “Content Marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.” That is a direct quote from the linked article above, written by Joe Pulizzi. He’s the founder of CMI (Content Marketing Institute) and the author of “Epic Content Marketing”. This statement is 100% correct and I’m a big fan of Joe and the stuff he puts out.
So where does that put us in this debate? I believe that Inbound and Content Marketing overlap in many places. Content Marketing includes a number of marketing tools. Videos, blogs, emails, eBooks, whitepapers are just a few examples. Inbound Marketing provides the methodology or the context of how and when to deploy those tools. One thing to remember is that anyone looking into these marketing concepts need to know that both Inbound and Content Marketing is for the long game. Not the quick, down and dirty tactics to try to move the needle, yesterday. Content Marketing is in fact, a large part of Inbound Marketing. In fact, we could not run an effective inbound campaign without content.
Which camp is correct? Well quite frankly, they’re both right. Here at Vitamin D, although we use inbound strategies, we also take a holistic marketing approach to achieve the goals of our clients. Similar to fitness, there’s always someone touting a new diet that “is the game changer”. Marketers will always be in search of that “game changer” tool to help their brand. At the end of the day, there is no ONE thing that will fix ALL problems. We need to be smarter and use the right tools, at the right time to “change the game” for our brands or clients.
What are your thoughts on Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing?