2 min read

How to Explain Inbound Marketing to Your Friends & Family

At every birthday party, every family get-together, every holiday dinner we’re all asked the same question over and over again; there are so many people who just want to know, what do you do? As an Inbound Marketer at a HubSpot Platinum Certified Partner Agency I have fumbled over that question more than once. Sure, people know what traditional (outbound) marketing and advertising is, but most people don’t understand what INBOUND marketing is … or HubSpot.



First, let's start with actual definitions straight from the source:

Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t want, inbound marketing forms connections they’re looking for and solves problems they already have (HubSpot, 2019).

HubSpot: HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing, sales and service platform that is built to help you implement inbound and grow better. It’s all powered by the same database, so everyone in your organization — Marketing, Sales & Services — is working off the same system of records. This allows for a smoother hand-off between Marketing, Sales & Services, and a more delightful experience for your customers (HubSpot, 2019).

So, what’s the simplest way to explain this to an inbound marketing outsider? I like to use car shopping to explain it.

You have decided it’s time to get a new car and you are super excited to visit some dealerships, look at cars and start narrowing down your options. You pull up to the dealership, step out of the car and stretch your arms; ahhh, so many options, so much potential! But wait — who’s that guy who’s bee-lining toward you at a breakneck pace? OH. It’s the not-so-elusive car salesman in his natural habitat. He’s there to harass you before you’ve even looked at your first option. He’s ready to wheel and deal and push and pressure you; he’s here to SELL. Once you leave, he’s following up with you via email, text and calls incessantly, INTERRUPTING your day.

This is like outgoing, interruptive marketing. Marketing that interrupts you to try and sell you something that you may or may not be interested in.

So what’s your alternative option for car hunting in peace? The internet. You take to Google and search for things that will lead you down the right car-buying path. Things like best cars for commuting, which cars have a good resell value, most fuel-efficient or best full-size SUV, car-payment calculating tools, things to consider when buying a car, etc. You research. You find blogs that have tips and valuable information, reports where cars have been tested and rated, people talking about their own personal car-buying experience, Blue Book value listings, online dealership reviews, car comparison tools — all the answers to your car-buying questions so you can start narrowing down to focus on what you need/want. The information you find online is helpful and you begin to realize what you want and need, and what you can do without. Equipped with that information, you begin to narrow down your search to a specific make or model. THEN you go to the dealership to test drive and eventually make the purchase. THAT is inbound marketing. The creation of valuable content to help guide the buyer through each stage of the buyer's journey — from awareness, to consideration, to decision making — and HubSpot is the platform that helps you best accomplish your inbound goals.

So at your next social event or family function, when someone undoubtedly asks you, “What do you do?” you can use the car-buying analogy so that everyone has a full understanding of what you do.