Four lessons we’ve learnt from our three years as Spitfire Inbound

Posted by Alison Leishman

There is so much to learn when doing inbound marketing that we’ve boiled it down to four lessons every inbound marketer should take with them.

Spitfire Inbound has been in the inbound marketing game for three years now and we’ve certainly learnt a lot - both new team members and us golden oldies. As the Strategic Director for Spitfire Inbound, I’ve been doing inbound marketing for quite some time and have learnt and re-learnt many lessons along the way. It’s always enlightening and really positive to see the lessons our new (and older) employees learn that allow them to grow.

There were four themes that came out when Tumi, our brand journalist sat down and asked some of our staff to share their learnings:

  1. Data-driven marketing and sales
  2. Application of personas
  3. Using your available tools to their capacity - the right tool for the right job
  4. Nothing is ‘set it and forget it’

1. Data-driven marketing

Marketing director of Emarsys, Lindsay Tjepkema, gives this wonderful definition of data-driven marketing, “Data-driven marketing refers to strategies built on insights pulled from the analysis of big data, collected through consumer interactions and engagements, to form predictions about future behaviors.” Data-driven marketing means using the data you collect as the foundation of the marketing strategies you create for your clients. As a passionate supporter of data driven decision making for strategic alignment, It was really great to see that our team loves data too!

Having implemented many marketing strategies, Marlize Laubscher, Senior Inbound Marketing Strategist and Inbound Events Specialist, says, “Data is invaluable when it comes to measuring the ROI on events.  Through setting up campaigns in HubSpot to measure all the touch points of your events you are able to measure the impact that your events have on deals and ultimately customers. And this allows you to run events that will create more leads and deepen client relationships.”  

Our Inbound Marketing Assistant, Reo Monareng, couldn’t agree more with Marlize. He says, “Through the inbound methodology, I've learned how to tie in all of the technical skills that I've learned through HubSpot with customer-centric marketing which has allowed me to get a better view of all the processes that are needed when crafting truly engaging strategies

This has really changed the way that I looked at digital marketing. I now see it as a growing industry that is still going to change greatly as new technologies, as well as highly sophisticated AI, allow us to create highly customised experiences for users that are less invasive and are backed up by data and algorithms.”

At Spitfire Inbound we discuss data extensively and an important note to highlight at this point - don’t allow yourself to drown in the data.  Make sure that you identify the meaningful data which allows you to create better experiences for your customers. Personalisation is key to spinning the inbound flywheel.

2. Application of personas

Buyer personas are a crucial part of inbound marketing, and that includes social media.  It also includes inbound sales and services. Using buyer personas in your marketing, sales and services efforts means creating personalised experiences. HubSpot’s famous line that it’s “all about the right content to the right person at the right time,” is what we always keep in mind at Spitfire Inbound.

Our Social Media Specialist, Maricelle Gouws, says, “The way I view social media analytics and where contacts from social come from has changed over the past three years. When we look at buyer personas, specifically, I've made it my mission to really keep the client's personas in mind when doing targeted ads across social media platforms. This has all been because of HubSpot.”

Marlize Laubscher, is very familiar with the power of buyer personas and says, “HubSpot has shown me how to simplify digital marketing through using personas.  It has helped me to know how and when to best communicate with people in different stages of the buyer's journey. It guides me on how to use the information to make insightful decisions on changes to your website, blogs, proposals and emails.”

3. Using your available tools to their capacity - the right tool for the right job

HubSpot has been the right tool for us for sometime now and it’s wonderful to see new employees who haven’t encountered it before fall in love with it the same way I have.

Our fairly new Social Media and Digital Content Creator, Shoko Sepoloane, says, “HubSpot has offered great insights and convenience especially publishing posts across platforms, it makes it easier to measure which posts are doing well and which to improve on, although I would love an Instagram functionality where posting can be made right from HubSpot, it's still a great software regarding marketing and return on investment. There's so much innovation happening around HubSpot itself and how to make it better.”

Fellow Inbound Marketing Strategist, Gugu Kheswa, agrees and says, “The SEO tool on HubSpot has helped me understand how to optimise content and create a powerful SEO strategy. I like the way it is designed to help you optimise all your articles and, coupled with the features built into the blog functionality, it is really effective.”

Nicole Sengers, our Principal Inbound Marketing Strategist and HubSpot specialist says, “One of the techniques that I love that changed my thinking on inbound marketing is the clever use of pop up forms. Traditionally pop-ups may have been seen as interruptive but a well set up, clever use of pop-ups can add value on a web page. We use pop-ups to deliver related content to users on product pages. Consider a pop up offering you a recipe on a shop page for a health food product, this would add value to the visitor and actually improve their perceived value of the product.”

Having an awesome tool like HubSpot is fantastic but only when you know how to use it correctly. The more you use your marketing tools, the better you’ll learn how to use them.  

Using HubSpot to its full potential requires dedicated resources to ensuring that you are up to date with the technology as well as ensuring that you are using the data to align your strategy with the changing needs and behaviour of your personas.  At Spitfire Inbound we have a free Portal healthcheck that you can take to gauge whether you are using HubSpot to it its full potential.

4. Nothing is ‘set it and forget it’

Content Director, Samantha Steele, knows that when it comes to content marketing, something that inbound marketing relies heavily on,  remaining agile and realigning your efforts and strategy is important. She says, “Strategy is agile! I've truly learnt that there's no such thing as a ‘set it and forget it’ strategy. With the rapid pace of the world, the growth of our clients and the ever-changing world of content and digital behaviour, your strategy needs to keep up with the world it's happening in! This means being responsive, but also constantly researching what's happening in the world around you and making sure your content stays up to date.”

Trevor van Rensburg, our Commercial Director agrees with her. Trevor says, “ Our MD put it quite nicely in a meeting once by saying that your website was created to market your business and your business is never static so your website should also keep up with the changes. Just like shop front window displays are regularly changed to attract potential shoppers, so more online visitors who fit your ideal customer profile should be attracted to your website.”

Sarah Mills, Senior Inbound Marketing Strategist, shared that to her “Inbound is so much more than marketing in its traditional form. Inbound is (or should be) taking business strategy to the next level. It should facilitate the business in its goals and the approach to reach them. The impact that a successful inbound strategy and process has is far wider than just the marketing metrics - it's the greater business success and its achievements as a whole.”

Reviewing the insights that Tumi obtained through talking to our team really highlighted the importance of data and strategy - and having the right technology to deliver and measure this.  It also highlighted for me that we have an amazing team of lifelong learners who are curious and always looking for the insights - and combining these great people together results in exceptional results for our clients. Looking forward to the next three years.

If you’re ready to apply these lessons to your marketing game, you can contact us for assistance with both full inbound strategies and HubSpot training.

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