Director of Online Marketing at Internet Brands: An Interview with Steve Blanks

As the Director of Marketing at Internet Brands, I get to explore the intersection of marketing and technology every day. In my role, I’m responsible for overseeing our inbound marketing strategy across all platforms—from SEO and content to social media and email marketing—working with internal teams and vendors to shape and deploy the most effective digital marketing campaigns possible.

Technology is always expanding, changing, and evolving to fit new needs and new users. But with the expansion of online marketing, the role of the community manager has become more significant. A community manager is responsible for building, leading, and engaging with online communities around various topics or products. Simply put, a community manager helps to drive traffic to a website or channel.

As search trends, social media, and email marketing evolve and expand to meet the demands of modern marketing, the role of the community manager grows along with it.

The Evolution of Online Marketing

In the early 2000s, the term “online marketing” might have meant getting a website up and running. But today, it’s more fitting to define online marketing as the process of driving people to a website or channel via email, social media, or a search engine. Inbound marketing is all about attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business organically.

In the past, marketing departments often focused on advertising and spreading the word about a brand to attract customers. But with the increased reliance on data and technology, marketing has become less about just selling a product and more about understanding a customer’s journey, engaging with them to drive business growth, and making them feel recognized and appreciated for who they are.

According to HubSpot Blogs research, 68% of businesses consider themselves to be early adopters of digital marketing, while 28% are considered to be traditionalists. So it would seem that, as a whole, organizations are more inclined to use today’s technologies to drive marketing efforts than they are to simply rely on marketing departments to do it for them. This trend will continue as businesses become more accustomed to, and reliant on, digital marketing to grow their enterprises.

The Rise Of Social Media And Marketing Automation

While traditional forms of marketing such as TV ads, radio ads, and billboards might still exist, traditional media channels have become less effective, and more companies are looking for ways to engage with potential customers and gain valuable marketing insights along the way.

Email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing have become foundational components of any robust digital marketing strategy. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 65% of business leaders consider SEO to be an essential part of their marketing strategy, while only 14% consider it a nice-to-have. This shows the continued importance and the expanding role of SEO in today’s digital marketing world.

Email marketing and content marketing are also important parts of any inbound marketing strategy, as shown in the research as well. Companies are relying on these tactics as proven vehicles to attract, engage, and delight customers. As a result, marketing automation platforms and digital marketing tools have become essential to successful marketing and business growth.

Why Marketing Automation And Integration Is Key

To effectively market a product or service, you need to have solid marketing automation and integration strategies in place. When used effectively, marketing automation and digital marketing tools can help businesses gain customer insights, follow up with the right people, and automate repetitive tasks—leading to increased productivity, lower operational costs, and ultimately better financial performance.

Many businesses think that setting up a standalone marketing automation platform is the key to achieving these goals. However, using a standalone platform might be optimal for specific tasks involving email marketing and content creation. But for large and growing businesses, integrating multiple platforms and tools can be more effective and efficient.

For example, if you have a sales team that interacts with customers via email, you might want to consider using an email marketing platform like HubSpot to build and manage your email campaigns. And if you already have a website, you might want to integrate that site with your social media accounts to attract potential customers. If your website also includes an eCommerce component, you might want to consider using a digital marketing platform like HubSpot to manage your online store—ensuring that your customers can find what they’re looking for, navigate the site easily, and make purchases with confidence.

One of the big appeals of a standalone platform is that you can set it and forget it. However, if you want to maximize your marketing efforts and get the best possible return on your investment, you need to put in the time to learn how to use multiple platforms and tools effectively—and how to integrate them for maximum impact.