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2 Truths & A Lie: Inbound Marketing Edition

Blog / 2 Truths & A Lie: Inbound Marketing Edition
by Megan Marling on


Every Monday afternoon we have a team meeting. And at the start of every meeting, we have an “ice breaker” question. (You’ve likely heard this term before—an ice breaker is usually just a simple question asked to a group of people to get "break the ice," or get the conversation started.) During this time, we each take a few minutes to answer the question, learn a little more about one another, and have some fun.

A few weeks back, our ice breaker was a little different. Instead of a typical question, we played “two truths and a lie.” If you haven’t ever heard of the game, here’s how it’s played. You think of three things things about yourself that may be interesting, funny, absurd, or hard to believe. Two of them are true—and one of them is a bold-faced lie. The group you are playing the game with then guesses which of your three statements is a lie.

During this particular game, we found out some pretty interesting things about our team:

  • Esther has met the Queen of England.
  • Emily is one-sixteenth Chippewa.
  • Lance was once locked behind bars.
  • My great grandmother was pen pals with Eleanor Roosevelt.

(Yes, those are all true!)

We also discovered that:

  • Tiffany has never been to Phoenix, AZ.
  • Traci wasn’t stranded at an airport in Mexico City.
  • Henry hates Fig Newtons.
  • Marisa cannot drive a stick-shift.

We learned a lot (and had a lot of fun) determining which answers were truthful and which were not. And that got me thinking: there are so many misconceptions, truths, and falsities out there about marketing. So why not have a little fun dispelling those rumors to help everyone understand inbound a little bit better?

So, welcome to “2 Truths & A Lie: Inbound Marketing Edition”! The next 10 rounds will test your knowledge of the industry. The print beneath each “round” gives away the answer, but if you want to take the quiz first, I’ve also printed the answers at the bottom of the page! Let’s find out how much you know.

2 Truths & A Lie: Inbound Marketing Edition

Round 1: Inbound Marketing Commitment

  1. You have to fully commit to inbound marketing to see good results.
  2. Inbound marketing works when it’s only done halfway.
  3. You’ll need to spend at least 40 hours a month for your inbound marketing to be successful.

The lie is… B! Inbound marketing does not work if you only do it “halfway.” You will need to spend far more than a few hours on your inbound marketing for it to be successful. In fact (per one of our truths), you’ll likely need to spend at least 40 hours per month on inbound marketing for it to be successful. So, you really do have to fully commit, either by allocating time and resources internally to your inbound plan, or hiring out to an agency.

Round 2: Keyword Research

  1. Keyword research isn’t all that important—just write about anything.
  2. Keyword research is an integral part of inbound marketing.
  3. Targeting the right keywords helps you drive the right traffic to your site.

The lie is… A! Keyword research is very important. “Writing a blog post” on any ol’ topic may attract traffic to your website, but it’s probably not going to be the kind of traffic you want. If you become well-versed in good keyword research practices, you’ll likely be able draw your ideal customer to your website and delight them with the gobs of valuable content you’ve created.

Round 3: Content Creation

  1. Your blog shouldn’t be siloed from the rest of your website to get the best value.
  2. Inbound content creators are skilled writers.
  3. Anyone can write great inbound marketing content.

The lie is… C! The fact of the matter is, writing inbound marketing content is no easy task, as some assume. There is a lot of research and skill that goes into crafting each post. Inbound content creators have zeroed in on a way to become subject matter experts in the field they’re writing for, without obtaining the necessary degree or spending months researching the topics. Sure, you can hire your great aunt Lucy to write your website copy, or your nephew Bob to write a blog post for you. But without practice, experience, and a strong working knowledge of inbound marketing principles, they aren’t going to provide you with copy that attracts and converts your target personas to your website.

Round 4: Marketing Agencies

  1. Inbound marketing agencies are all the same.
  2. Many inbound marketing agencies all sound the same.
  3. There are a lot of great inbound marketing agencies.

The lie is… A! Inbound marketing agencies are most definitely not all the same. That being said, it is true that most inbound agencies sound the same. Most use the same language, buzzwords, and shop talk to describe methodology, and most of them promise great results if you decide to go with their organization. (Us included!) The best way to find an agency that really knows what they’re doing is to ask the right questions—be sure to ask these 48 questions to discover which agency is “talking the talk and walking the walk.”

Round 5: Cost

  1. Inbound marketing will likely cost less if I do it internally.
  2. Agencies are a waste of money.
  3. Inbound is less expensive—or similar in cost—when compared to traditional marketing.

The lie is… B! Yes, inbound marketing will most likely cost less if you do it internally. Based on our research, it will cost you between $48,000 and $120,000 to hire an inbound agency for one year. The costs for doing inbound internally vary, depending on who you already have on staff. To successfully do inbound, you’ll need a marketing manager, an editor, a designer, someone to handle technical aspects like SEO, HTML, email marketing, and the like, and a content creator. If you already have these positions staffed—or you only need to hire for one or two of these positions—that’s probably the most cost effective method. But, if you don’t have employees or contractors on your team with these skills, or they don’t have the time to devote to all of the effort inbound marketing takes, hiring an agency is your best bet.

Round 6: Inbound Marketing Knowledge

  1. You need to have some knowledge about inbound marketing to do it well.
  2. You have to completely understand inbound to do it well.
  3. Someone on your team needs to be an inbound marketing expert to do well at it.

The lie is… B. You do not need to completely understand inbound marketing in order to be successful with it. But here’s the catch (since A and C are both true): someone on your team—who plans on being intimately involved in the marketing process—needs to have at least a base knowledge of inbound marketing to get started. This person doesn’t need to be an expert, because that’s what an agency (or in-house marketing team) is for. But, this person—often reffered to by B2B marketers as a “point of contact”—needs to have at least a foundational understanding of inbound marketing principles. If you’re not sure where to start building this base, check out our 19,000-word, step-by-step inbound marketing plan; it’ll give you a detailed (and easily digestible) explanation.

Round 7: HubSpot

  1. You don’t have to use HubSpot to do inbound marketing well.
  2. HubSpot makes inbound marketing easier.
  3. HubSpot and inbound marketing are the same thing.

The lie is… C! It’s important to understand that HubSpot and inbound marketing are not synonymous. This misconception has been largely dispelled, but it’s still a frequently asked question. To be fair, HubSpot has largely pioneered the inbound marketing movement. In fact, HubSpot’s CEO and co-founder Brian Halligan coined the term “inbound marketing” in 2005. And while HubSpot is a phenomenal marketing tool, it isn’t a be-all, end-all solution.

Round 8: Return On Investment (ROI)

  1. It’s hard to measure ROI with inbound marketing.
  2. Inbound marketing ROI can be measured easily.
  3. Marketers rely on programs like Google Analytics and HubSpot to track return on investment by source.

The lie is… A! Measuring your inbound marketing return on investment is simple. All of the reporting tools out there do a good job of tracking visits, leads, and customers by source and campaign. That way, for example, you can see that you’ve generated one thousand visits from Google, and turned that into 30 leads, and two customers this month.

Round 9: Inbound Vs. Other Marketing Methods

  1. Traditional marketing is still a viable option for many companies.
  2. Inbound marketing is a phase the industry is going through.
  3. You can benefit from a hybrid of traditional and inbound marketing methods.

The lie is… B! Here’s the thing: Inbound marketing isn’t going anywhere. It’s not a fad or a trend. How am I able to say this with confidence? Because inbound marketing is about converting visitors into leads by providing them with interesting, helpful content. It’s like good customer service, marketing style—and will good customer service ever be branded as a “phase” or a “trend”? Nope. I like to think of inbound as “marketing with manners”—and manners will never go out of style. (If you want a longer, jargon-free explanation of inbound marketing, check out this article.)

Round 10: Inbound Marketing Effectiveness

  1. All businesses will benefit from inbound marketing.
  2. Some businesses will benefit more from inbound marketing than others based on their industry.
  3. There are some businesses that won’t ever benefit from inbound marketing.

The lie is… C! In my opinion (and in those opinions of other Nectafy team members), inbound marketing efforts can make a difference for every business. Now, that’s not to say that every single business in every single industry will have similar results. If a number of your competitors are also doing inbound marketing, it will be harder to get the results you’re looking for. But every kind of business will see some degree of success when they start doling out helpful information to their target audience.

Answer Key: 1. B, 2. A, 3. C, 4. A, 5. B, 6. B, 7. C, 8. A, 9. B, 10. C

Did you get all 10 right? If not, which of the “lies” did you guess wrong? Tell us in a comment below.

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