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Is Your Business The Exception For Inbound Marketing?

January 26th, 2016 | 5 min. read

By Darin "Doc" Berntson

Is Your Business The Exception For Inbound Marketing?

HubSpot's Marketing Is Crap!

I was recently told this by a prospect I was meeting with. It has to be one of my favorite "objections" / uneducated responses that I have received in months. 

We were discussing HubSpot, the general idea behind Inbound Marketing, lead generation, the buyer's journey, and types of content marketing they could be doing for each stage.

Why is HubSpot crap? I was curious, so I asked him. He admitted that when he was on the HubSpot site, he really didn't know what HubSpot is or does, and I explained why that is so brilliant.

At the core, HubSpot is in the software business, but they close deals thanks to their incredible education process. They focus their content on helping marketers and business owners understand how they can do inbound marketing for their business to increase net new leads, increase sales efficiencies, and increase revenue (among other things).

Everything they teach can be done with or without the HubSpot software, but they just so happen to have an awesome platform to help a business succeed with an all-in-one solution.

To be fair, he was introduced to HubSpot just recently and was not familiar with inbound marketing. He was not anywhere at all in my buyer's journey, nor he was not really looking for a solution. It was a warm lead, but I think he wasn't as receptive and had his guard up, maybe feeling like I was the next huckster trying to take his money. But that's not how I roll. I never have any intention to force a sale. I am here to educate. If there is a fit, we do business. If not, we part as friends.

On with the story...

At the end of the day, how HubSpot markets obviously works.

They are solving for the customer in all stages of the buyer's journey, whether they are a HubSpot customer or not. Oh, and by the way:

  • they are a public company with a stock that's performing very well compared to the competition
  • they have 15,000+ customers around the globe
  • they have 900+ employees and can't seem to hire enough
  • they are expanding to other countries like Japan, Ireland, Singapore, and Australia.

Yeah, how they market is not working at all. Obviously. =)

It May Work For Them, But Not For Me. My Target Customers Are Different

This is another favorite response I got from him. Have heard it from many others in the past.

He discussed how different his prospects are from any other business, and that he knows his audience better than I do. And to that, I agreed. I don't dare to understand his customer better than him.

This_is_not_the_content_you_are_looking_for.jpgBut at the end of the day, a prospect wants to be educated, not sold.

They want to be able to come to a website and learn on their own terms, not just have traditional marketing drivel presented to them that they either have to wade through or hit the back button on the browser to find the information they are looking for elsewhere.

We discussed my pal Marcus Sheridan, what he did for his pool business, and how he addressed any and all questions on his site as a blog post, video, ebook, or whatever.

We talked about doing:

  • vs posts that would compare him to his competitors
  • Review posts that could compare his competitors in a side-by-side article (leaving himself out of the comparison)
  • Addressing pricing on the site

But no matter what I said, he wouldn't have it. He is not a pool company. He''s different. Sigh.

Being Honest & Objective Can Be Scary, But It's Rewarded Ten-Fold

As we discussed this type of content marketing approach, he felt that it wouldn't be suited for his own website, but rather have that kind of content on an external website that is not branded as his business. He wanted the content to feel like it was objective.

While that can be all fine and good, the questions you always need to ask yourself are:

  • How will this piece of content solve a challenge for my prospect or customer
  • Is the customer experience the best it can be?

If you can't answer yes to both of those questions, rethink your approach.

Having another website that you maintain, just to be the objective voice of your industry will eventually show off as being sponsored by you. Your prospects will sniff that out real quick. That will make you look like you are trying to scam them. Trick them. From a prospective buyer's perspective, why would you want to land on this objective site, and then have nowhere to go, or nobody to call to help? Control the visitor experience.

Solve The Challenge Of Your Prospective Buyer... Always

Let's go back to the example I used a couple of posts ago, talking about fireplace retailers and content marketing ideas.

If I was a consumer searching for a new fireplace for my home, I may go to Google and search "Gas Fireplaces Salt Lake City". From there I would see the standard search results. Bleh... the battle of the localization keyword search begins. BORING!

But let's say I know what I want, and I know what brands I like and I search "Heat & Glo vs Napoleon Gas Fireplaces", and I want to see reviews of what people think of each brand.

These results can either show up on a review site, or maybe a manufacturing site, but wouldn't it be better served on an actual fireplace retailer's site? If I was a Heat & Glo retailer and I published a vs. post comparing Heat & Glo to Napoleon, the result and user visit would come to my site where I control the visitor experience.

Heat & Glo vs Napoleon Gas FireplacesFor giggles, let's take a look at the actual results of the search on Google.

  • NOT one of them is even addressing this question.
  • Napoleon is going the lazy route and just running a PPC ad that is directing the user to a page talking about furnaces, NOT fireplaces.
  • #1 organic result is, and it is a forum post where oddly enough no one answered his question.
  • There is not ONE retailer site listed in this search result where a retailer is answering this question. Sad. Missed opportunity!

Seems to me that this would be an excellent piece of very targeted content that would address the question of the consumer. This is a person possibly ready to buy. Am I right, or #AMIRIGHT?

Of course, the article must absolutely be 100% non-biased. Why? Because no matter what you sell, you are not always the right fit for the consumer. Being honest with a prospect on a review or comparison blog post will make you stand out as the thought leader and a trusted advisor.

Here is a great example on the HubSpot site that shows up #1 organically for HubSpot vs Marketo. Not only is the post hosted on the HubSpot site, but it's a point-by-point comparison that also has great social proof towards the bottom with a case study, testimonial, and links to the review site G2Crowd.

concrete_vs_fiberglass_pools.pngKeeping up with Marcus Sheridan as an example, here is the search query for concrete vs fiberglass pools.

At the writing of this post, he owns the top three organic Google results.

One of these posts, if I recall the most recent stat from Marcus, generated in the neighborhood of $3.5Million dollars in revenue. 

Yeah, apparently Inbound and content marketing does NOT work. =)

Inbound Marketing Is NOT For Every Business, But It Is For Every Human

I'm the first to admit that HubSpot is not a fit for every business, but the theory and methodology behind Inbound will work for any business. It's how the prospect or customer wants to be treated.

The customer doesn't call this inbound marketing, they call it helpful, educational, and being there when they need you!

The marketing you do for your business isn't for or about you. It must be predicated on solving for your customer. Period. End of story. 

As for the prospect. We are still talking about how we can help his business become the best educator in what they do. In the meantime, all I can do is continue educating them. =)

Until next time,


Darin "Doc" Berntson

Owner/Head Coach @ Bernco Media. Digital sales & marketing since 1997. Passion for teaching companies to be the most trusted voice in their space. They Ask, You Answer Certified Coach & HubSpot Certified Partner & Trainer. Reversed Type 2 Diabetes doing KETO. Wears Mickey Mouse Daily. Daydreaming of next Disneyland Trip.