During the talks that I give I'm often asked "what is Inbound Marketing". Well, simply it's a combination of elements woven together into a system, a contextual marketing system, that is data-driven and produces superior ROI (Return on Investment). That's the short and easy answer.

I think that the term "Inbound Marketing" is misleading - and outdated. What we are really talking about here is "contextual marketing", a data-driven marketing system that turns traditional marketing on its head. It's a system that earns us customers by providing content that is relevant, important and compelling to them - it's content that solves a customer's problem.

What we are talking about here is understanding the context of the environment that we market into and gain deep insight into our customers. It's essential to understand our customer and what they are looking for from us prior to the creation of any content and then understanding the context in which our users are using our content.

The good news is that we have the capability to understand these things now. Using a combination of the readily available (and free or inexpensive) tools that are available to us today each of us has the ability to turn our own marketing departments and efforts into powerful machines that produce more qualified leads, a vast reduction in customer acquisition costs and superior ROI. More good news; Contextual Inbound Marketing is scalable. Anyone, or any business of any scope or size can and must do it.

Understanding what our customers are looking for, and then giving it to them, and then discerning what they do with the content we provide them are the "keys to the kingdom".