I recently heard a joke about Microsoft.

Two men are flying in a balloon above Seattle - but the pilot is lost. Drifting over a building the pilot draws a sign and holds it up. The sign says “WHERE AM I?” in large letters.

People looking out of the buildings windows quickly respond to the pilot by holding up a sign that says

“YOU'RE IN A BALLOON!”

The pilot smiles, waves, takes a look at his map and steers a course to his destination.

After their safe landing the passenger asks the pilot how the sign helped him figure out where they were.The pilot looks him square in the eye and says “I knew that we had to be over a Microsoft building because the response they gave me was technically correct - but completely useless.

The information was useless because it had no context. Accurate yes, in any context? Not so much. This is the state of outbound marketing today.

Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers through the creation of targeted and compelling rewards customers with content that drives customer interaction and draws targeted (and sometimes localized) customers to the Website.

Inbound Marketing content, content created and distributed by you, must be produced based upon the metrics that you've acquired - contextual data that leads to personalized, dynamic knowledge about your targets and what they are looking to you for.

Once you've induced a click you must then learn how your customers interact with your channels and then integrate CRM and other tracking data to add more context.

This approach, combining “targeted content and context” is the secret sauce that will make your Inbound Marketing efforts successful.