In retrospect, this may have sounded a tiny bit self-important, or like an effort to hide the fact I do nothing all day. But it’s true, I think. You don’t have to spend long on Google to find that many clever and articulate marketers have written blogs about what an inbound strategist is supposed to do, and not all of them - to me, at least - manage to hit the nail on the head.
For starters, it’s possible to make the role of an inbound strategist sound like project or account management. Yes, there’s some overlap, but I’m ill at ease with the comparison because I know there are things in the account management skillset that aren’t in mine (and vice versa).
At the same time, my job isn’t just about the practical implementation of inbound marketing campaigns - there’s holistic and commercial thinking involved, too.
So what does an inbound strategist do? Here’s my attempt at a quick definition.
1. Translates business objectives into inbound marketing tactics
I said in my last blog that an inbound strategist needs to be capable of “both big-picture thinking and obsessive attention to detail”.
Why? Well, because an inbound strategist needs to take big-picture business objectives (“we need to sell X to Y”, “we need to convert more website visitors into meetings”) and translate them into concrete, quantifiable tactics and moving parts that support them. They need to understand the client’s business, but also what high-performing creative work looks like - and, most importantly, understand how one has an impact on the other.
So yes, I’m involved in practical implementation. But the fun part, for me, is providing the intellectual justification for that work - and then watching it make an impact.
2. Diagnoses problems and provides solutions
Another big part of my day is analysis. I spend a hell of a lot of time poking around in HubSpot and other reporting tools so I have an up-to-the-minute idea of how our clients’ websites are performing. This also means I’m often the first to know when something isn’t working as well as it could be - and, a lot of the time, the person who dives in to fix it.
3. Plans and priorities for success
Finally, the ability to plan and prioritise based on predicted outcomes is a massively important skill for an inbound strategist to have.
While it’s a lot of fun to have so many different weapons in my arsenal, from blogs to video to chatbots to email, this can make it tough to figure out how we can create the most value the fastest. Some quick wins in inbound marketing are obvious, but others require a bit more contextual knowledge, past experience or creative thinking to uncover.
So there you have it - that’s my brief (OK, not that brief) summary of what an inbound strategist does. The only other thing I’ll add is that there’s plenty of learning and growing, too - not least at an inbound marketing agency like Six & Flow, where everyone has a drive to stay ahead of the curve and embrace the latest tools and tactics that’ll give us and our clients an edge.
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