Peter Gracey

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

Direct marketing has traditionally been an outbound business: Send offers via mail, email, TV, telephone, etc., take orders from the percentage who convert, repeat. Inbound marketing turns that on its ear by using online tactics like content creation, social media and search marketing to make the company very easy for potential customers to find when they're looking to learn more about your industry, to trust and, ultimately, to buy.

It's a reasonable assumption that most marketing organizations have some form of marketing automation technology in play to support their lead generation efforts. It's also likely that it's working well and generating a healthy level of inbound traffic and leads for your sales organization. Implementing an effective marketing automation tool is not always easy, but implementation is only the first step. … Inbound leads are fantastic, but only if you've got a regimented cleansing and appending process in place to triage them before they get to your teleprospecting team.

In today's marketing world, you simply can't turn a prospect into a customer without email. And with each passing day, electronic communication becomes the most common way prospects first respond to a prospector. The telephone will always play a crucial part, but a well-crafted email strategy will go a long way toward making that dialogue happen.

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