How to Build a Center of Excellence for Customer Engagement — Part I

This is Part 1 of a two-part posting on how to create and organize a center of excellence for demand generation and customer engagement. Different definitions for a center of excellence, or CoE, have circulated for some time.

This is Part 1 of a two-part posting on how to create and organize a center of excellence for demand generation and customer engagement.

Different definitions for a center of excellence, or CoE, have circulated for some time:

  • In academia, where the phrase was coined, CoEs are sometimes called a “competency center” or “capability center.” A CoE brings together people from different disciplines and provides shared facilities/resources.
  • Business CoEs are sometimes defined as a team that leads others in the organization in a particular area of expertise; whether that be technology, skill or discipline — providing leadership, best practices, research, support and/or training.
  • Additionally, if leaders don’t define “excellence” with KPIs and output metrics, then it’s not a Marketing Center of Excellence, it’s just a skilled group.

Gartner defines a CoE as “a physical or virtual center of knowledge, concentrating existing expertise and resources in a discipline or capability to attain and sustain world-class performance and value.” Gartner then proceeds to state that this breaks down into four elements. Let me paraphrase those here:

  1. CoEs need to focus on a tight scope, defined around a specific capability
  2. Define the location of the CoE (physical vs. virtual)
  3. CoEs should optimize and leverage resources internal to the organization, not external vendors or agencies
  4. Have a focus on pushing beyond standard performance norms. (i.e., Drive toward excellence in the chosen capabilities.)

This is a good list, but it feels a little incomplete. We need to further differentiate a CoE from a simple organization chart department, or managed services group, or council. What are the characteristics of a Revenue Marketing CoE?

  1. The Revenue Marketing CoE is based on a set of related capabilities. What is a capability? “A capability is a unique bundling of skills, knowledge, and resources that facilitate the execution of business processes, and are what ultimately contribute to sustainable competitive advantage and superior performance.” (Day, 1994, opens as a PDF).
  2. The CoE has a clearly defined mission and charter
  3. The CoE has a defined structure and borders — i.e., what are the inputs and the outputs. And related to this, there needs to be a definition for how the broader organization interoperates with the CoE
  4. The CoE is chartered to drive for continuous improvement and curation of best practices; thereby, achieving excellence
  5. The CoE has a significant impact on the competiveness of the organization, and a strong ROI

Capabilities

Let’s start with the capabilities, what should be in the Customer Engagement CoE, and remember — just because you move a capability in here, doesn’t mean that it can’t also exist outside the CoE … content creation, for example. To build a CoE for customer engagement, you will benefit from the following set of capabilities, at a minimum:

  • Demand management
  • Program management
  • Campaign management (inbound and outbound)
  • Best practices management
  • Customer journey and persona management
  • Operational outcome reporting
  • Customer experience management

There are other capabilities that could optionally be added:

  • Campaign content operations
  • Marketing technology operations (i.e., the folks who build inbound and outbound campaigns)
  • Data analysis and analytics/reporting

So, at a minimum, you might have job titles like these in the COE:

  1. Demand Generation Managers; AKA, program/campaign strategists
  2. Power users for all channels (email, social, paid media, events, etc.)
  3. Customer data tzar, possibly also good for reporting analysis and segmentation
  4. Content creative and copy writing
  5. Content strategist
  6. Inbound admin/guru and MAP/CRM admin/guru, especially for config and reporting
  7. Campaign Managers; AKA, project managers for campaign design/execution
  8. Traffic managers for handling all the asset production and workflows

You may choose to implement a customer engagement CoE that extends beyond the walls of marketing and, in doing so, needs to include representatives from sales and support. When you consider that a focus on customer experience is a company-wide mandate and cannot be executed by marketing alone, then creating a customer engagement CoE that can serve the broader organization makes sense.

Hopefully, this discussion on capabilities in the CoE got you thinking, and you are asking yourself:

“Whoa, would I put content/creative types in there?”

“Would I put social, paid media folks in there?”

“ Would I put the campaign strategists/designers in there? I mean, what if I have field marketing?”

“Jeez, Kevin, keep it simple. Why not simply make a CoE out of the Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) power users, put them in HQ, call them a CoE, stick it under Marketing Ops and call it good?”

Not so fast. Is the latter really a CoE? Do they represent one or more capabilities in the way we defined capabilities above? No. Are they in one location, yes. Can they strive for excellence in building, sure. But they cannot measure their results based on the business outcomes, because so much is out of their control: the quality of the design, the offers, the data, the metrics. So, they make it on three of the four Gartner criteria, but fail on No. 1. Do they represent one or more capabilities? You could argue that this is semantics and that “MAP usage” is a capability. Not so fast (again). Remember Day’s definition of a capability?

“A unique bundling of skills, knowledge, and resources that facilitate the execution of business processes…”

Does building a campaign all by itself rise to the level of “facilitates execution of a business process”? No. Nor will it “contribute to a sustainable competitive advantage.” But it is part of the customer engagement process where we can hope to gain competitive advantage. And now we get to the crux of the discussion: We cannot determine if a CoE is right for our organization until we have agreement on what the required capabilities might be.

A COE is the right way to organize a team and, thereby, increase marketing effectiveness, when these conditions exist relative to the capabilities and people:

  • Capabilities:
    • Specific Revenue Marketing capabilities can be provided by a small or modest-sized group
    • Grouping these capabilities and the individuals together will be synergistic
    • The returned value to the organization in driving to excellence in these capabilities is high
  • People:
    • A modest-sized group of specialists, who may be skilled in completely different areas, and all share common goals or business outcomes for their skills, can be grouped together under one leader.
    • This group can be united as one and manically pursue excellence in the delivery of those business outcomes.
    • The team is empowered, embraces innovation, has a bias for action, and operates in an agile fashion

There are, of course, other criteria to consider before electing to invest more and create a CoE, instead of simply organizing as a group. They include a detailed specification of the CoE inputs and outputs, what driving for excellence actually means in practice, and having a well-defined mission and charter. All this and more will come next month in Part 2 of this blog post.

Why Capabilities Trump Skills in Digital Transformation

There are hundreds of skills a marketing department could need. The real question is, “What capabilities do we need in order to do digital marketing effectively?” By considering capabilities instead of unique skills, we turn digital transformation into 10 or 20 capabilities we must acquire instead of 200 skills. For CMOs this is the best approach for building the organization.

A CMO embarking on the digital transformation of their marketing department recently asked me to prioritize what skills they needed for their fast-growing company. The question reminded me of the time I asked my friend Dan Wolff, some 35 years ago, where exactly on a mogul (front, back, sides or top) I should be skiing in order to master the skill of mogul skiing. His answer was simple. “You are asking the wrong question.”

There are hundreds of skills a marketing department could need, from copy-writing for blogs, video editing, podcasting, data analysis, budget management and public relations all the way to campaign design. The answer would not have been apposite. The real question is, “What marketing capabilities do we need to acquire in order to do digital marketing effectively?”

“A capability is a unique bundling of skills, knowledge, and resources that facilitate the execution of business processes, and are what ultimately contribute to sustainable competitive advantage and superior performance.” (Day, 1994, link downloads the pdf). By considering capabilities instead of unique skills we can think about the problem in terms of 10 or 20 capabilities we must acquire instead of 200 skills. For CMOs this is the best approach for building the organization.

The Technology Capabilities You Need for Digital Transformation

For the sake of brevity let’s narrow the list of capabilities down to those related to technology, and ignore strategy, reporting and analytics, customer, content, people and process related capabilities. We will tackle more of the capabilities for building an effective marketing organization in future posts. Here are five core technology capabilities marketing will benefit from acquiring:

  1. Technology awareness is a marketing capability that identifies current and emerging technology that will help marketing achieve its objectives. It involves defining clear organizational needs, matching potential technology, educating team members as to potential benefits and formalizing a role to own this process.
  2. Revenue Marketing Architecture is the capability that defines the collection of software components that are combined into a service-oriented reference architecture that support marketing in achieving its objectives. It includes the proper integration and optimization of the components, enterprise process and workflow, and overall system governance.
  3. Planning, Selection and Implementation is the capability that defines the process for planning, selecting and implementing a Revenue Marketing Architecture. It includes conducting a proper evaluation and needs analysis, developing use cases and measuring performance.
  4. Vendor Management is the capability that maximizes vendor relationships and enables organizations to control costs, optimize technology, increase performance, drive service excellence and mitigate risks.
  5. Technology Adoption is the capability that ensures the adoption or acceptance of a Revenue Marketing Architecture that drives business results.   It includes communication, strategic planning, senior leadership commitment, project management, training and education and business process re-engineering.

Some might debate if these particular capabilities should live in marketing operations or in IT. There is no simple answer to this. For large organizations, where IT is focused on large initiatives, security, governance, data architecture at a corporate level, then it behooves marketing and sales to acquire their own technology capabilities. Keeping it close to marketing will enable the team to fully understand the business requirements and move with the agility that marketing requires. It does not obviate the need to work with IT on the integrations into other corporate systems and in adherence to defined standards for data, security, vendor selection, licensing terms etc.

Delivering on each of these capabilities requires certain skills, knowledge and experience. It may require multiple people just to deliver on a single capability and in other cases a single individual may bring two or more capabilities. The key is to focus on capability acquisition, and not simply hire people because they have desired skills. Contemplating digital transformation at the capability level also facilitates discussions around what to in-source versus what to out-source.

5 Steps to Acquire the Technical Capabilities

Steps to digital transformation by technology capability acquisition:

  1. Examine what you want to accomplish in becoming more proficient at digital marketing.
  2. Document the capabilities that this will take in technology, content creation, demand generation and reporting at a minimum.
  3. Consider if you can educate existing staff to help them provide these capabilities.
  4. If time or focus is of the essence, determine which capabilities can be outsourced temporarily or even permanently.
  5. Write the job descriptions and goals for the individuals in terms of the outcomes that will be delivered once the capability is in place. Look for people who have delivered these capabilities and outcomes before.

On a final note, I did learn to mogul ski. Dan’s advice that day stuck with me. He shared that the secret was to be able to ski anywhere and everywhere on a mogul. That skill enabled you to make each turn when it was due, regardless of where you were on a mogul. And isn’t that what agile marketing is all about, making rapid turns when they are due, because you have an effective capability to execute regardless of the environment?

CMO Accountability: What’s the Time Horizon?

What are CMOs held accountable for at the end of the year? Let’s say we invest 5 percent of revenues in a given year in marketing, what do the CEO and the board of directors expect in return?

What are CMOs held accountable for at the end of the year? Let’s say we invest 5 percent of revenues in a given year in marketing, what do the CEO and the board of directors expect in return?

  1. Incremental sales to the tune of 20x their investment?
  2. Incremental market share or new market penetration?
  3. Incremental profits?
  4. Incremental customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and customer value?
  5. Increasing shareholder value?
  6. All of the above?

Whereas sales representatives may have a one quarter horizon, can the CMO afford to invest in marketing functions with such a short time horizon in mind? In our post last month, we discussed these six major functions for which marketing is responsible, presumably so that they can deliver on the list above:

  1. Gather customer requirements, defining markets and the product/service sets
  2. Help create and retain customers with demand generation programs, content marketing, events, social, etc.
  3. Increase brand equity
  4. Channel marketing and technology partner management
  5. Empower the sales channels with market data, prospect data, competitive data and sales tools & collateral
  6. Participate in the support and delivery of the “whole product” to customers

Reconciling the investments in each of the latter six functions with the results described in the former list of six outcomes is a herculean task. So, let’s focus on just one aspect: Which marketing functions require the CMO to have a longer time horizon than one year?

  1. Defining the markets, and defining the products/services required to successfully penetrate those markets are tasks usually associated with product management (PMM). But the final decision-making requires participation from representatives in nearly every function in the company. The ROI period for these efforts could be three to five years or more. What share of the marketing budget should go to PMM knowing that it is a long-term investment? Most firms tie this to market share changes and revenue/profits that the PMM forecasts over a multi-year period.
  2. If the sales cycle is six months or less, it is conceivable that the ROI for demand generation could be viewed as a near-term investment. As a result, many marketing organizations focus their ROI reporting solely on their promotion and content budgets and ignore ROI calculations on many of the other marketing investments.
  3. Increases in brand equity can be measured, but it is definitely a long-term investment. The benefits are obvious to most: increased brand awareness, brand loyalty, perceived quality, and clearly defined brand attributes improve lead acquisition, increased loyalty, and lower cost of acquiring new business.
  4. In many cases the management and nurturing of channel partners, resellers and VARs lean on marketing to support these players with educational materials, training, and product information. Ie the Partner Managers are in marketing. Additionally, if products or services from an OEM are an integral part of the product or solution sold, those relationships are also managed in marketing by product marketing managers. The ROI for investments in these relationships is near term and can be measured.
  5. Sales enablement with tools, content, templates, training, competitive data target, customer and prospect data and market data is a requirement, and in most cases the ROI is both near and long term. The return is an increase in productivity in the sales teams and sales channels. It is easy to measure, but difficult to allocate how much credit falls to marketing initiatives. Also, much of the tools and content (but not all) will be accounted for in No. 2 above.
  6. How do you do an ROI on marketing’s role as part of the product or service delivery? If marketing is doing follow-up communications with new customers to ensure adoption and satisfaction how are the benefits measured? If marketing owns the e-commerce platform an ROI is easy. How about marketing communications around support contract renewals?

The long-term investments for marketing, at a minimum, are product marketing/management, brand equity and of course any infrastructure investments (technology, data and process). Brand equity investments are usually rolled up under promotion and demand generation efforts as if they were near-term investments. Investing in infrastructure is usually accounted for by tying it to increasing marketing productivity, enabling marketing to be more competitive, or improving customer experience (leading to greater acquisition and loyalty presumably).

The conclusion here is that the CMO is accountable for a portfolio of investments, related to different functions and with both near and long-term return horizons. The methods for measuring these returns vary, and the outcomes for the business from these investments also vary. The CMO has to rebalance the portfolio quarterly and they must adopt an “agile” approach without taking their eyes off the goals. Although for sales, this may be the most important quarter in the company’s history, the CMO has too many long-term investments to have a short time horizon.

A Revenue Marketing Journey: The Conclusion

Sixteen months ago, we started the revenue marketing journey together. We defined revenue marketing as the combined set of strategies, processes, people, technologies, content and result measurements across marketing and sales.

Sixteen months ago, we started the revenue marketing journey together. We defined revenue marketing as the combined set of strategies, processes, people, technologies, content and result measurements across marketing and sales.

What followed was a series of articles that chronicled the major tasks fundamental to transforming your marketing organization to one that influences revenue in a predictable, scalable way. We covered, in the following order, the organization structure, the processes, content, channels, technology and analytics. Links to all 16 posts are provided below.

  1. First Steps in the Revenue Marketing Journey
  2. An Organizational Structure for Modern Marketing Success
  3. Marketing Operations Grows Up: Why Unicorns Rule
  4. Driving Demand Generation: Who Belongs on That Bus?
  5. The Digital and Content Team: Is Splintering a Verb?
  6. 5 Core Marketing Operations Processes to Master
  7. 7 Outrageous Lead Management Errors and How to Fix Them
  8. Is Data-Driven Decision-Making (3D) at the Heart of Your Marketing Organization?
  9. Add Data Operations to Accelerate Your Revenue Marketing Journey
  10. WARNING Don’t Wing Campaign Development: 6 Steps to a Flawless Rollout
  11. Are You Drowning in Content Chaos?
  12. Brilliant Marketing: Why Thomas Edison Was Light-Years Ahead of His Time
  13. How to Formulate Your 2018 Content Marketing Strategy
  14. Your Prospects Are Multichannel. Are You?
  15. How Marketing Operations Chooses Wisely Between Bright, Shiny Objects
  16. Get Revenue Marketing Analytics Right for 2018

Now that we have covered the fundamentals of revenue marketing, it is time to discuss how we operationalize a response to the big challenges facing marketing today using our revenue marketing capabilities. How do we help marketing become even more accountable, fully execute a digital transformation, and embrace the customer experience as the dominant competitive battlefield?

Next month, we will start with accountability and how to shape those quarterly and annual goals of the marketing organization.

Get Revenue Marketing Analytics Right for 2018

Here’s a trap many marketers fall into in the early part of the journey: The marketing VP received additional marketing budget, but the price is that she has to report marketing numbers to the CEO each month. How do you start? Here are your best bets for initiating revenue marketing reporting this year

Last month on our revenue marketing journey, we discussed how to develop use cases as a way of teasing out specific technology requirements for marketing. This month, we turn our attention to revenue marketing analytics and, more importantly, how to choose the right metrics for where you are in your revenue marketing journey.

Here’s a trap many marketers fall into in the early part of the journey: The marketing VP received additional marketing budget, but the price is that she has to report marketing numbers to the CEO each month. So the organization is turned upside down attempting to create marketing results reports for the first time.

How do they start? Marketing ROI analysis, or marketing influenced revenue, or, harder still, predictive reports? The outcome is predictable.

6 Steps to Accurate Revenue Marketing Analytics

If you are in the lead generation stage of your Revenue Marketing journey, moving into demand generation, and recently acquired marketing automation technology, here are your best bets for initiating revenue marketing reporting this year:

1. Avoid Ego Metrics for 6 Months

Marketing ROI and marketing influenced revenue. These require a lot of pieces to be in place and working and are simply not a good place to start. We recognize that they are important, but don’t try to start here. Avoid creating the ego metrics the first six months.

2. Define the Decisions

Start by defining what decisions the demand generation and content teams are making weekly and monthly and asking what reporting related information they need to make better investment decisions. Create those reports for them first. Good examples are:

  • Weekly database engagement by campaign, content, channel, region, product interest, and contact type. Are they a prospect or a customer? Engagement means they downloaded or clicked on an offer, registered for something or visited one of your digital properties. It also includes engagement on the social channels (likes, replies, forwards, clicks). It does NOT include email opens.
  • Form completion rates (or the converse, form abandonment rates).
  • Net new leads by region, product interest, lead source and content/asset that attracted them.
  • MQLs and SQLs by lead source, region and product interest.
  • Cost per MQL from inbound sources.
  • Funnel conversion rates, by contact type, region and product interest.
  • Funnel age in stage (qualitative measure of the funnel), by region and product interest.

3. Fix the Errors

Reports like these will reveal all sorts of issues with your data and with the processes that update your data. You will spend months fixing these process issues and amending the data. You will probably also find that your data has serious omissions precluding you from reporting the way you want and a data enrichment project may be initiated.

4. Take Your Time, Before Sharing

Do not share the initial reports throughout the organization because it is likely that they are wrong. There will be errors from simply not having enough good data to be a representative sample to incorrect data to faulty report configuration.

If you share the early reports widely and the errors are uncovered by the recipients, it may take a while to recover your credibility. Take your time, validate your early reporting and gradually start to share them more broadly.

5. Are the Initial Reports Helping?

Sit in with the demand gen teams and content teams and see how they are using these initial reports. Are they useful for making decisions on a weekly or monthly basis? I.e. is the reporting cadence aligned with the required decision-making cadence? Are they getting the detail they need? Is there drill down required?

Modify your reports to fully satisfy this audience before you move to the next audience.

Add Data Operations to Accelerate Your Revenue Marketing Journey

In last month’s blog post, we discussed the second of the five core marketing processes essential to effective and efficient marketing operations — the reporting and analytics process. We ended by asking if you were a data-driven decision-making organization. So it is timely that this month we discuss the marketing process as it relates to data.

If content is the fuel of your revenue marketing journey, data is the wheels.
If content is the fuel of your revenue marketing journey, data is the wheels.

In last month’s blog post, we discussed the second of the five core marketing processes essential to effective and efficient marketing operations — the reporting and analytics process. We ended by asking if you were a data-driven decision-making organization. So it is timely that this month we discuss the marketing process as it relates to data.

On your revenue marketing journey, if content is the fuel, and analytics is your dashboard, then data are surely the wheels and tires on your marketing vehicle. There’s an adage in auto racing that races are won in the pits, and the tire changes that happen there affect the race strategy and must be suited to the course. Similarly, your data will dictate where you can go, and how fast you can get there. It will be impossible to become a data-driven decision making organization if the data quality or richness is poor. Having a resource in marketing who is responsible for data operations is becoming a requirement for successful marketing.

Marketing data is fragmented and getting more so every day Research by Experian uncovered that 84 percent of organizations are experiencing data quality issues. During the same period Gartner predicted that by 2017 89 percent of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. Compounding these issues is the explosion in marketing technologies, which further fragments data. In addition, Lyris tells us that 25 percent to 33 percent of email addresses in a house database will become outdated every year. “Houston, we have a problem.” So the importance of clean data is increasing while at the same time only 16 percent of organizations think their data is clean. Clearly, marketing organizations need to act. You need a data strategy and the resources to execute on it.

Setting Goals for Data Operations

We all want to improve the customer experience, improve engagement with customers through many channels, improve business intelligence and streamline operations, but we cannot reach these goals without addressing data challenges.

This breaks down into a few simple goals:

  • Manage the quality of the data more effectively
  • Develop a single customer view for marketing (customer data platform or CDP)
  • Formalize and manage the data architecture that binds together the many sales and marketing technologies
  • Enrich our database and acquire third-party data to boost overall contact database quality and marketing potential
  • Develop processes and plans to establish governance and use of marketing and sales data

These challenges can be summed up in a single, overarching need that stems from five critical questions:

5 critical questions for data quality.
5 critical questions for data quality.

Steps to Manage High-quality Data Operations

  • Step 1: Complete a full data audit
  • Step 2: Define a data strategy
  • Step 3: Establish data quality management as a primary function of a marketing data operations group.
  • Step 4: Leverage marketing intelligence operations to report on data quality

What is data operations for marketing you ask? What are all the pieces, and what does marketing own versus what does IT own when it comes to data?Data Operations for Marketing

In larger organizations marketing operations will likely have a data operations resource. Their responsibilities include:

  • data quality management
  • CDP
  • database operations
  • marketing intelligence
  • data architecture management
  • data acquisition and enrichment

This resource will not need to address the areas covered by the broader IT organization:

  • business intelligence system deployment
  • master data management (MDM)
  • data security management
  • document and content management
  • data storage management

At a very tactical level the data operations person will own the data import and enrichment processes. They will be responsible for the right data being available in the right marketing system, which will ensure effective marketing execution and great customer experience with marketing digital properties.

Next month we will discuss the campaign development process and the distinctive requirements of a campaign manager and traffic manager.

Please feel free to share your experiences with marketing data operations and other insights on the above topics in the comments section below or email me at kevin@pedowitzgroup.com.

Driving Demand Generation: Who Belongs on That Bus?

In last month’s blog post, I discussed the ideal marketing operations structure — the why and how to centralize this vital function. In this post, we explore the demand generation function. What should be part of this function and how should you reconcile it with having a “shared services” team?

Revenue Marketing RoadmapIn last month’s blog post, I discussed the ideal marketing operations (MO) structure — the why and how to centralize this vital function. In this post, we explore the demand generation function.

What should be part of this function and how to reconcile it with having a “shared services” team in MO? How would you go about centralizing all demand generation into this one group if you currently have an outbound team and a separate inbound team under different directors?

Demand Generation Group Structure

The charter of a demand generation group looks like this:

Responsible for driving revenue results and optimizing interactions with all global buyers across the revenue cycle to accelerate predictable revenue growth.

Consequently, in larger organizations you are likely to see the following functions in this group:

Demand generation group functions
Demand generation group functions.

If that chart doesn’t scream a set of questions for you, its time for another cup of coffee!

Program managers, top-level business managers for marketing investment in demand generation, provide direction to the content team, and ultimately own the number: marketing influenced revenue.

Campaign managers take direction from the program managers. They are probably the same person in smaller firms. Campaign managers may specialize in one or more channels, but since campaigns are becoming omnichannel you are better off having them focused by target market segment. Their campaigns are grouped by stages of the buying cycle by segment — awareness, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, customer loyalty, advocacy etc.

The martech power users, QA and best practices management functions could alternatively be executed in a marketing operations department. Keeping them in demand generation means they continue to operate close to the program and campaign management team. On the other hand, if your MO function is well developed, putting them in the shared services group in MO means they are close to analytics and project management. This means this team will probably have a more streamlined relationship with the field marketing team, i.e. the “HQ” region is less likely to dominate the global campaign calendar unless the revenue goals merit it.

Tele-qualification is often both in marketing and sales. If the line is blurry, that’s good. It should be, because the function is squarely on the line between the two organizations. If you use them to sell smaller deals, renew contracts, etc, then they probably belong in sales, and are rightfully described as an inside sales function. But if the function is strictly to provide higher quality leads to sales, driving up sales’ productivity, then keep them in marketing.

An Inbound vs. Outbound Digression

There are more internet battles on inbound versus outbound than about Kirk versus Picard! Some say inbound is less expensive than outbound for lead generation or that outbound is marketing to the masses (TV commercials, radio, email blasts, trade shows). Is inbound just content marketing using SEO, and paid traffic through online channels? By all means add your comments below, but here is my perspective: It is not news that the two are merging so marketers need to move past these debates, unite these teams, and start designing and executing omnichannel campaigns.