Demi-review: Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
Posted by The Marketing Intern on February 20, 2010
So I just started reading Inbound Marketing: Get found using Google, social media, and blogs, and I have to say that even having only read four chapters (which go by far too quickly for my wordophile inclinations) I am struck by how poignant this book is.
Of course, nothing I’ve read so far is groundbreaking. I am a religious reader of the Hubspot blog and inbound.org forums, and I try to participate on hubspot.tv on Twitter every week (much to the chagrin of Mike Volpe who, it must be said, is a champ for putting up with me). But as I read this book, I am reminded of the scene from The Boondock Saints where Willem Dafoe finds himself in a confessional booth after stumbling out of a gay bar. The scene concludes with Dafoe delivering the only poorly-delivered line in the movie: “Yes, I was thinking that. No, I was feeling it. I just needed to hear you say it.”
Inbound Marketing was clearly written for marketers who are too… experienced for the “digital native” tag. But as a digital native (a term which, for the record, I dislike intensely and only use for its ubiquity) I’m finding value in the sense that the book points out aspects of the Web that I take for granted. Yes, Twitter and Facebook are great and all, but to us young guns they’re really just social tools. Because these apps (Facebook moreso than Twitter) are straddling the line between primary and secondary modes of communication, it makes sense to leverage them for the purposes of marketing — if, that is, you are trying to market to a younger, Web-savvy crowd.
Sounds silly, but that’s the kind of thing that digital natives take for granted. At the age of 14 I was the proud owner of a tragically pathetic Xanga blog where I posted rants about the pitfalls of mainstream America — not quite goth, but riddled with bad angsty poetry nonetheless. Blogs were public online diaries back then, and very little else. But what I was blind to was the fact that blogs were online communities — my angsty poetry inspired the angsty poetry of someone else, and then a third, then dozens, all of us encouraging the other to keep going, to keep up the good work. (In retrospect, all that positive encouragement was terribly ironic.) We were all writing about the same kind of thing, and we all found and interacted with each other organically. We didn’t think about it; that’s just how that kind of thing was done.
Because Mssrs. Halligan and Shah point out the community inherent in the nature of blogs, my perspective on corporate (read: grown-up) blogging has shifted. I’m now finding myself reverting to my old ways of interacting with people on the Internet — encouraging the development of ideas and engaging organically with people I might have otherwise ignored.
See, blogging and social media aren’t necessarily about being found. They’re about the conversation. I certainly never believed my angsty Xanga blog was going to become an online phenomenon (and thankfully it never did). But it mattered to people that I was contributing, and that I was helping them to contribute, too. There is the value of social media: providing value to others in the hopes that they might someday return the favor.
I’ll give you my final impressions when I’m done with the book (which at this rate should be by the end of the weekend). Cheers!