The Immaculate Lead – A Christmas Story of Inbound Marketing

Jen Saunders

Written by Andrew Copeland & Jen Saunders. Happy holidays!

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Part 1 – In Which Mary Receives a Visit from a Thought Leader

Once upon a time, there was a naive young business woman named Mary. She and herbusiness partner Joseph found themselves in a bind one evening when they realized they had foolishly spent the last of their start-up money on inventory costs, leaving themselves with no money to market their business. The two searched far and wide for an agency to partner with, but with such a minuscule budget, they received the same response wherever they went:

“It seems like a great fit, but we are at capacity right now. We would love to reconnect in six months and see where we are both at.”

Having poured her entire savings into this business only to foolishly blow the entire budget on inventory she had no way of selling, Mary began to resign herself to her fate as a lowly mid-level corporate employee. But then, one night, her favorite industry thought leader appeared to her in a vision:

“Greetings. You are highly favored. The market is with you!”

These words stunned Mary. She stood frozen.

“Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with your market. And behold, you will attract and close your first lead. He will be great and he will carry your business to new levels of profitability that will have no end!”

And so the following Monday, when Mary entered the office, her soul filled with dread and uncertainty, she found Joseph at his desk, beaming, for a notification had landed in his inbox.

“We got a lead!” he shouted, “Somebody filled out the Contact Us form!”

Frightened and speechless, Mary struggled to come up with a response.

“But…but…how? Where did it come from?” Mary questioned “We don’t have a marketing budget and I certainly haven’t been using any black hat tactics. This is impossible.”

“It’s not impossible,” Joseph proclaimed “It’s a miracle!”

And so with no marketing budget, no facebook page, and only a skeleton of a website, the two business owners found themselves with a new contact; one brought forth from the market itself; an immaculate lead!

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Part Two – In which Three Wise Marketers Come Bearing Gifts of e-books, Webinars, and Blog Posts.

And lo, the Google star from Bethlehem shined bright in the search engine’s sky prophisizing, as the King of Judea predicted, that the immaculate lead was born. The business owners placed the lead into a manger, which was really just a marketing funnel covered in hay and lamb feces.

“Mary, now what do we do with this immaculate lead, for our site is barren like my loins and no angel on high is trumpeting its existence”?

Mary lifted up the hem of her blue robe smeared with mud and lead-afterbirth and, with much trepidation, walked to the window where she gazed up into the navy nothingness.

“Our buyers are up there, somewhere. We need blessings and guidance, as I can already feel the glorious glimmer of my halo fading with every missed sales opportunity”.

Joseph approached Mary and rested his hand on her shoulder as he glanced out the window. Suddenly, his look of bewilderment took on the light of hope.

“There”, Joseph cried, “in the distance…do you see them? Three wise marketers approach from the East”!

Joseph and Mary ran to the door and held it open for the three wise marketers. With great reverence they traipsed in by means of a magnificent single file–a line symbolic of the marketing funnel the immaculate lead would soon consume. They took a seat around the lead, next to several sheep and goats, and gazed at the Virgin entrepreneur. Then Mary spoke:

“You are the three wise marketers foretold by the inbound prophet Micah. The shining light of Google has guided you to this holy lead that came forth from the Contact Us form foretold by King David, the ruler of growth marketing”!

“Yay, for thou art partially right Virgin Marketer; it was not the shining star of Google misinterpreted by the algorithm chasers of Judea, but the star of HubSpot–a marketing automation software solution favored by the Hebrews.”

“Thine lead dost wax hot for engagement”, spoke another wise marketer, “for we have been following the star of HubSpot to this immaculate lead, and we bring gifts to help it take on its role as the Savior of Sales Growth. Behold, we bring you e-books, webinars, and blog posts”.

The three wise marketers opened their brass Magi boxes thus revealing a blinding light known only to the celestial fields of angels in Heaven. The Virgin marketer and her business partner Joseph looked upon these gifts with blinded awe. They dropped to their knees and wept as they made the sign of the cross, followed by the sign of one clicking “Send” on a drip marketing campaign.

“Oh wise marketers from the east, how do we use these precious gifts to nurture this lead into a sale”?

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Part 3 – Glimpse Into the Future and I Will Make You Fishers of Men…Men Who Convert  into Buyers

And so the three Wise Marketers from the East Coast asked Joseph to reveal his dongle so theycould connect their laptop and display the holy marketing plan. Then into the bright, navy blue sky they projected a PowerPoint presentation which would enlighten all who observed. It laid out the most complex drip marketing campaign that had ever been conceived and was filled with dozens – if not almost one hundred! – if/then scenarios. The Marketers spent all night workshopping with Mary and Joseph so the two business owners could close on this immaculate lead without fail!

“I…I just don’t know.” Mary worried aloud “There are so many variables to this plan. What if he just doesn’t want the e-book?

“Calm thine fears, Mary.” Spoke one of the Wise Marketers “You are in favor with the Market. All will be taken care of. You need only to follow It’s plan, which is laid out before you among the stars.”

“In nine months’ time,” spoke another Marketer “the sales cycle will have completed, and a new customer will be born into your database; one who has come to you from the will of the Market and who will become the savior of your bottom line.”

“And he will lead the charge.” The third Wise Marketer chimed, “Soon, others will follow in his example and the entire industry will be transformed! The stock market will take notice and new startups will begin to appear and all will follow in your model!”

“Behold, the bondslave of the Market; be it done to me according to your word.” Mary shouted!

And with the sudden realization of their new fate, Mary and Joseph began to nurture their new lead for nine long months while they worked in Joseph’s mom’s garage after getting evicted from their office building. When the deal finally closed and their revenue source had been secured, the two business partners emerged from hiding and purchased a new fancy office back in Downtown Jerusalem where they could have regular meetings with their new customer. As the relationship matured, the new customer quickly became an advocate for their business and attracted investors from all over the land.

But then one day the bubble burst and the immaculate lead was literally crucified by a group of investors who had followed his advice and lost their entire fortunes. SAD!

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Our Christmas Inbound Story has a Fashion of it’s Own. Did it Inspire You to Accept Inbound as YourMarketing Savior?

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Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.