April 11, 2013

What's In A Name: Inbound Marketing Consultant

Published: 11 April 2013 

In Rand Fishkin's predicative blog post citing assumed 2013 inbound marketing trends he indicated that he believes going forward that SEOs will abandon calling themselves SEOs in favour of the less maligned and more mysterious title of "inbound marketer" or "inbound marketing consultant." In this post I will be looking at the actual effectiveness of your job title in digital marketing and whether changing it is actually necessary.

Should SEOs Call Themselves Inbound Marketers?

My first reaction is no. Unless you are engaging in actual inbound marketing you shouldn't be calling yourself an inbound marketing consultant. I am already seeing Rand's predictions come to fruition and not just in job titles but in blog themes and website URLs and it's having the affect of diluting the meaning of inbound marketing.

Calling yourself an SEO consultant is vague enough when you consider that under that job title you could be a link builder, a sales rep or a technical SEO but once you begin referring to SEO as inbound marketing you are being even less vague about what you are. As an inbound marketing consultant, you should be doing inbound marketing, plain and simple. If you aren't engaged in an inbound marketing campaign don't call yourself that.

If your reason for changing your job title is to disassociate yourself from the term SEO you are doing your industry damage. Not only are you vilifying your actual job by admitting that it's bad and abandoning it but you are potentially damaging the credibility of inbound marketing as a job title.

How Do We Define Inbound Marketing When Citing It As A Job Title?

Since inbound marketing is such a fresh concept, there is certainly going to be a continued evolution of the field. The division of roles within it is unclear and inconsistent. There are strategists, technical writers and content producers but should we be calling ourselves "inbound marketing consultants" or should we be calling ourselves "inbound marketing strategists," "technical inbound consultants" or "inbound marketing content producers"? It varies from office to office how the staff are titled and there appears to be no industry standard. Since the talents that it takes to make up an inbound marketing team are pre-existing talents, should we be simply referring to the staff as "marketing consultants," "copywriters," and "web developers"?

Is it a trap? Who is actually out there calling themselves an inbound marketing consultant when the elements that make up an inbound campaign are already so clearly defined?

Is Calling Yourself An SEO That Bad?

At Matter Solutions we call ourselves SEO consultants and do plenty of inbound. The lashback is minimal if non-existant. As an industry we would be better served re-defining the term rather than abandoning it. Engaging in white-hat practices and improving the reputation in the general public of SEO as an industry would mean no need to relabel yourself and risk damaging the reputation of valid, ethical inbound marketing consultants.

Edit: The irony of me now having inbound in my job title is not lost on me.

Ben Maden

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