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Content and the customer: inbound ad strategies gain traction

Kevin Lehnert (Department of Marketing, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA)
Sarah Goupil (Grand Valley State University, Seidman College of Business, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)
Pete Brand (Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 6 May 2020

Issue publication date: 4 January 2021




Marketing has radically changed in the past few years. With the rise of digital marketing, search technology, blogging and podcasts, consumer access to information and content has exploded. This paper aims to provide a critical look at one aspect of this change, inbound marketing and the creation of content to drive engagement. Inbound marketing differs from traditional marketing by pulling customers to the firm, as opposed to reaching out through traditional advertising.


This study provides an overview of inbound marketing and illustrate three views of inbound marketing: digital, social and content marketing.


The study highlights the importance of consumer personae, critical content creation and customer strategies.

Practical implications

The study concludes with a look to the future of inbound marketing and clear guidelines for developing an inbound strategy, including understanding the buyer personas, strategic analysis and a formulized plan for inbound content creation.


This work combines traditional theoretical research and analysis to provide a comprehensive and clear illustration of what inbound marketing is and where it can be used in both business strategy and academic research.



Lehnert, K., Goupil, S. and Brand, P. (2021), "Content and the customer: inbound ad strategies gain traction", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 3-12.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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