"In" is in, "out" is out.

By Jeff Elder

Technology forever changed the way consumers-both B2C and B2B-shop. Traditional outbound marketing is proving less effective. To reach consumers, companies must transform their marketing to an approach that's "in."

It's called inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is defined as a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing that attracts individuals to a brand and converts them into lasting customers.

A recent study shows that three out of every four marketers worldwide are shifting to an inbound approach. The study also reveals that 80 percent of small businesses are predominantly using inbound marketing, and as a result, are likely to see three times higher ROI (The State of Inbound 2015, HubSpot).

For companies not already employing inbound marketing, consider these benefits.

It's relevant to how people buy today.

What makes inbound marketing different? It replaces a mass marketing ideology with a methodology that empowers companies to strategically be found by today's savvy consumers who are already online researching and shopping for their types of products or services. The key is creating high-quality, educational content and leveraging powerful analytics.

Data drives smarter marketing decisions.

Outbound marketing typically lacks data. Without sufficient data, it can be hard to not only measure what's working, but it's harder to track ROI. Inbound marketing lives and breathes in data, and with marketing automation software, it's easier than ever to get the data needed to make marketing more targeted and cost effective.

Using this marketing software, companies can track website visits, lead conversion, and close rates. Perhaps the most powerful data gathered is acquisition flow metrics. Companies can measure which content is attracting and closing the most visitors and from which marketing channel. This saves the company from investing in channels that don't produce results. It also allows for better content creation, as the data shows which content is resonating with the audience.

Better alignment between sales and marketing.

Inbound marketing brings marketing and sales into alignment. Data allows sales and marketing to have conversations around facts and not just opinion. The data drives their decision making and provides another layer of accountability.

It works. The TAS Group reports that when sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36 percent higher customer retention and 38 percent higher win rates.

Improved ROI and more sales.

Inbound marketing is all about sales and lead generation. Because inbound tactics address the changing behavior of today's buyer, companies that employ an inbound marketing strategy see more sales and higher ROI. As companies produce more, high-quality content and take advantage of blogging, social media and email marketing, they begin seeing an increase in leads, and in turn and increase in sales.

The numbers are impressive. According to HubSpot's State of Inbound 2015 report, Companies using the inbound technique achieve a:

92.34 percent increase their web traffic,

92.7 percent increase their lead generation,

42.2 percent increase their lead-to-sale conversion rate,

49.7 percent increase sales within 7 months,

and are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI through prioritized blogging.

Organizations that don't evolve their marketing strategy will not survive. The benefits that inbound marketing brings to the table should make it an easy decision to embrace this new way of reaching people in this digital age.

Jeff Elder is the founder and owner of Sync Three, an inbound marketing agency. He can be reached at (614) 468-3051, jelder@syncthree.com, and through Twitter @jeldera.