Nashville-based PR and marketing firm embraces ‘inbound marketing’
Local public relations and marketing company The Bradford Group has been named a certified agency partner with HubSpot, the Cambridge, Mass-based company that two MIT classmates founded in 2006 and has since grown to approximately $30 million in annual revenue.
The Bradford Group is the first full-service public relations and marketing shop in the region that is certified by HubSpot, which supplies partners with a marketing software platform that allows for integration of blogging, search engine optimization, social media monitoring, lead nurturing, content management, content personalization and analytics reporting.
“HubSpot equips us with the data and analysis tools we need to serve our clients in the age of big data,” said Jeff Bradford (pictured), president and CEO of The Bradford Group. “It keeps us on the cutting edge of marketing.”
Bradford said the 13-year-old firm has already signed on a handful of new clients based on the HubSpot connection.
In the past decade, HubSpot has become heavily associated with the term ‘inbound marketing,’ which typically refers to marketing that attracts visitors to webpages, converts visitors into leads, nurtures leads into sales and then continuously analyzes each step to find opportunities for improvement.
Outbound marketing is typically associated with ad buys and story placement in broadcast and print advertising, billboards, telemarketing and direct mail.
The crux of inbound marketing — and what sets it apart from traditional public relations and marketing — is that practitioners can often demonstrate return on investment for clients. Access to detailed technical data has not been traditionally associated with public relations and marketing – until now.
Bradford defines inbound marketing as the practice of generating specific search-engine optimized content on your company website through blogs, whitepapers, etc. to attract your ideal customers directly to your website.
“From there, you lead them down a content-specific sales funnel,” he said. “The process allows you to capture potential customers’ information and discover what pages they’re clicking on, what content they’re going back to, so you can develop more of it to eventually lead them to buy.”
Thomas Scott, CEO of Brand Journalists, a Nashville-based niche public relations and marketing firm that specializes in inbound marketing for the franchise industry, said HubSpot is an effective tool, but adds that in recent years competitors such as Marketo, Engage 121 and Hootsuite have emerged. He said Brand Journalists uses WordPress websites and custom analytics to design inbound marketing campaigns for clients.
Scott acknowledged that inbound marketing is a powerful trend and said PR and marketing firms that grasp it in a comprehensive way are still rare.
“Marketing this way is important because it gives buyers and customer the information they want in the format they want it in — usually detailed articles that answer common questions,” Scott said. “We like to say inbound marketing is marketing in a way consistent with the way people buy. Most companies want higher sales, more customers and increased business. They want leads.”
Hubspot also contends that inbound marketing is less expensive than more traditional forms of marketing. The company published a detailed 2012 study that found inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 61 percent lower cost per lead than organizations that predominately leverage outbound marketing.
The move towards inbound marketing at The Bradford Group doesn’t preclude the agency’s other offerings in outbound marketing and traditional public relations services such as crisis management, media relations and event management, Bradford said.
Note: This article was originally published in the Nashville Post.