Inbound marketing and marketing automation are two of the hottest areas in web marketing right now but both still haven’t crossed the chasm and suffer from a lack of mainstream market awareness. On a really simple level you can think of the sales and marketing funnel as follows:
- Top of the funnel – inbound marketing: drive traffic to your site, landing pages, etc through search marketing, blogging, social media, link building, participating in online conversations, and other mechanisms with the goal of generating leads
- Middle of the funnel – marketing automation: convert, nurture, email, track, score, and grade prospects as well as provide insights to sales reps
- Bottom of the funnel – sales: solve prospect problems and turn them into customers
As you might guess, there is some overlap between the top of the funnel and the middle of the funnel, resulting in pieces of duplicated functionality between inbound marketing tools and marketing automation platforms. Will the two eventually converge into one: yes. Right now, there’s so many different features required for each type of product that it’s difficult to do everything well resulting in more specialization with deeper functionality.
Inbound marketing and marketing automation address two different areas of the sales and marketing funnel but provide tremendous business value.
What else? What other thoughts do you have comparing inbound marketing and marketing automation?