Nearbound Marketing: A Trust-Driven Path in the Who Economy

Nearbound Marketing: A Trust-Driven Path in the Who Economy

Logan Lyles 12 min

In this article you’ll learn to: 

  • Identify your ICP for your Nearbound marketing strategy

  • Develop your point of view and a strategic narrative

  • Build the best Nearbound team

  • Activate your network of evangelists 

  • Scale your Nearbound marketing strategy

Is your marketing strategy not working as it was 5 years ago?


Think about it from the buyer’s perspective; Americans alone see up to 10,000 ad impressions per day. They are overwhelmed with options and information and are tuning out.


Imagine trying to choose a marketing platform and find out that there are more than 10,000 options available. 


What do you do next? Which one would you choose? How to make sure to choose the right one? 


That’s why your buyers are no longer asking “How do I do X?”. They need help to make the best purchase decisions. They want to know who can help them with that. They are going to people, companies, and experts that have solved the same problems. 


This is why you need to shift from "marketing TO" to "marketing WITH" in order to fix your declining strategy. In today’s world of information overload, it’s not just reaching ideal buyers, but tapping into WHO helps you reach them.

We call this the Who Economy, and it requires you to surround your prospects with trust, not interruptions.



WTF is Nearbound Marketing? 

Nearbound marketing is about leveraging your network (your brand evangelists). 


Nearbound is not about overhauling your current processes; it’s about layering Nearbound into your inbound and outbound strategies to help you surround them with trust. You still need to follow your usual marketing playbook, Nearbound is just adding value to it.



Nearbound is focused on leveraging existing relationships to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time to give to get the highest value from your network. 



The 5 phases of Nearbound marketing

In this new Who Economy, everything you do revolves around trust and building relationships. 


It’s okay if you’re not the one your buyers trust, you can easily fix that, the only thing you need to do is partner with their source of trust. 


We’re living in an era where the best network wins. Because in the end, all you have to do is leverage the brand advocates they identify with. 


We recently sat down with Logan Lyles, Evangelism and Content Marketing at, in two of our Nearbound at Work sessions to lay out the 5 steps you need to follow to boost your marketing strategy by leveraging Nearbound. 

Let’s get started. 



Phase one: Identify your ICP

At business school, or even high school, they teach us that defining our target market should evolve around demographics and psychographic data, but that’s not enough anymore.


You need to go narrower if you really want to send a message through these nodes of trust and evangelists that you’re going to activate in your Nearbound marketing motion. So, start gathering revenue and technographic data. 



Using these three types of data—quick, lasting, and advocacy-driven—will lead to an ICP like this: 


“Top accounts that have the highest LTV, are sticking around the longest, that have more than 100 employees, in the HR industry, located in France, Germany, and Spain, and that are using at least one PRM and a Nearbound Revenue Platform.” 


This analysis will help you understand if it’s worth it to build an integration with that tech stack that your ICP is using, launch a strategic partnership, or even propose account mapping with them. 


Logan explains some of the benefits of narrowing down your ICP: 


Phase two: Develop your point of view and strategic narrative

Marketers always get excited with things like, “Let’s build the best strategic narrative”, “Let’s build the best category”, or “Let’s replicate the best sales deck.” 


But the truth is that building a strategic narrative is not as easy as it sounds. It needs to be true (not forced), derived from your market, and talk about real shifts or challenges. 


The best way to achieve this is to establish a documented POV(s). You don’t need to start your narrative right away, just start with the building blocks and construct everything else from there. 


Here are some examples of how Reveal, PartnerHacker, and HubSpot started their POV(s):



While shaping your POV, make sure you’re learning out loud and living in the market, because that is the best way to test your approach and see if your buyers and those your buyers trust resonate with it. 


The steps to building your strategic narrative should include: 



  1. Name a big and relevant change in the world. Here’s where you state your POV.

  2. Show there will be winners and losers. Here you have to show what will happen to those who adapt to the change you’re stating. It’s like Blockbuster vs Netflix. 

  3. Tease the promised land. Share what’s the outcome, the benefit, and what it looks like to win. 

  4. Introduce features as “magic gifts” for overcoming obstacles to the promised land. Here you need to be clear that your product is not the hero of the story, but the enabler that will help your prospects get to the promised land. 

  5. Offer evidence that you can make the story come true. Paint the picture of how other people reached the promised land with the help of your product. Make sure those stories come from people your buyer already trusts—someone who has the same problems as them. 



Phase three: Assemble your Nearbound Marketing team

If your strategy is changing, your team should too. And no, we don’t mean you need to fire everyone and start from scratch. But you should adapt your team for the Who Economy, where you surround your prospect with evangelists. 



What you can do is find in your existing team, hire someone, or partner with someone that has the following characteristics. They can help you activate evangelists and create a Nearbound marketing motion

  • Journalists: They can unearth the great stories lying in your ecosystem. This will help you live in the market (which is your first filter to find trends), discover what are people saying, and discern the signals from the noise. 

  • Content creators: They can be one of the first sources of trust of your buyers because, usually, content is based on something they’ve experienced firsthand. They can get the market signals which make your content better and help to resonate better with your buyer.  

  • Former buyers: They have the experience of implementing your product and narrative at different organizations. They have been to the promised land. 



Nodes of trust don’t only come from your internal teams, they can also come from outside. As Jay McBain, Chief Analyst at Canalys once said, “We know that the average B2B customer has 28 moments before they make vendor selection, and your company only owns 4.” 


This means there are at least 24 moments in the buyer’s journey where vendors have a shot to gain insight and influence through partnerships. There are external evangelists that can help you gain that trust. 





Phase four: Activate your network of evangelists

Before you start building content, you need to know that this phase is comprised of 5 steps. You won’t activate your evangelists with only step three; you have to follow these 5 steps to get the most out of your external network:  





In this step, you have to look at your network, find who is closest to your market, and identify who your audience already trusts. By doing this, you’re complementing Phase 3 (assembling your Nearbound marketing team). 


There’s a wide variety of people you can choose from (internally or externally): your employees, execs (CEO, founders, etc), advisors, strategic partners, integration partners, agency partners, customers, content creators, and influencers. 

It’s all about marketing with, and not marketing to. Each one of the evangelists you identify has a different view and perspective of the market and a different level of trust with your audience. These people are the ones that will help you influence your deals, so choose wisely. 





Now that you have your list of possible candidates, you need to evaluate who’s the most suitable person for the job. This means, who’s willing to help you, who may want to co-create content on a regular basis, and who can help you distribute this content. 


If you already have a formalized relationship with them and reciprocity is already in place, well, think no more, that’s your evangelist. If not, make sure you evaluate your evangelists with these metrics:

  • Account/audience overlap. You can use Reveal to find that account overlap, and Sparktoro to find who are your buyers following and engaging. 

  • Complementary product and/or narrative. What’s your better-together story?

  • Complementary relationships. Identify if there’s reach you can tap in, and where you can complement each other’s abilities. 

  • Willingness to be personally active on social. Find the ones that want or are willing to activate their personal brands on social. 





Once you have your definite list of evangelists, you can start activating them. But before sending those Linkedin messages or emails, here are some things you need to consider: 

  • How are you going to approach them and pitch them?

  • How are you going to set the expectations? 

  • Which incentives are you putting in place? 

  • What’s the co-creation process? 

  • What’s the encouragement and education process?


One of the best ways to activate your evangelists is through content creation. And the best way to do it is by having a pillar piece of content (like a podcast or a webinar) on a regular basis and then sliding it into micro content for social, your blog, a guide, etc. 



From these interviews, you can get 10 video clips, that could turn into 10 text posts and 10 carousels on LinkedIn. Just do the math: now you have 30 pieces of content from one evangelist. 


Don’t worry if people didn’t attend your webinar, or if they didn’t listen to your podcast. Instead, focus on all the things you can do with that pillar piece of content. 



If you want to deep dive into tactical tips for account-based marketing and co-creating content with potential buyers, watch this Marketing Together episode with Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist at Follow Up Boss:  





Once you have your content, don’t keep it to yourself. Your evangelists are not a channel—you have to distribute with them, not through them.


They are your partners in crime that will help you gain your buyers’ trust. If you’re going to the market together, here are some channels you can use to start building trust: 

  • Organic social. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram…whatever platform works for you. But it’s only worth it if you post on a regular basis. 

  • Paid social. You can set up LinkedIn thought leader ads, and boost those posts just the same way you may boost your company post. 

  • Other channels. Start rolling out content in the form of YouTube shorts, newsletters, and events. Use different channels to leverage that pillar piece of content. 





There’s no doubt that your leadership team will need the success indicators. 


So, while working with evangelists, you may encounter some barriers to getting proof that it works. All you need is evidence.


For the quantitative approach, you need to focus on: 

  • Setting up UTM/Affiliate links to measure organic social traffic, signups, or calls booked.

  • Using SHIELD to identify all LinkedIn analytics across your team: impressions, follower count, etc. 

  • Using LinkedIn campaign manager or HockeyStack to have the paid social statistics and track attribution. 


For the qualitative approach, you need to focus on:

  • Leveraging sales call recording tools to know what are people saying. Setup trackers to identify how many times the name of your evangelist is mentioned. 

  • Use self-reported attribution to identify how your prospects and customers heard about you. 

  • Creating a channel in Slack where your team can celebrate, post, and mention everything that is happening in your market. 


Phase five: Iterate and repeat

We know you might be really excited about activating all your evangelists, but be careful. Don’t try to activate them all at once. Test and drive before you lose momentum. Start with a small group of people and add more as you see success. 


The goal is to create a wave of momentum. 


Once you launch your Nearbound marketing motion, keep an eye on the KPIs you’re tracking and the qualitative and quantitative metrics we mentioned before. Plus, always ask your evangelists for their feedback. Find out what’s working for them and double down on that. 


When you have the “success recipe” start experimenting with new content types and channels. 




Elevate your marketing strategy

Nearbound marketing taps into your network’s strength to activate trusted advocates. 


It enhances your marketing by enveloping prospects in trust, without altering your existing strategies. This approach, spanning five phases, refines messaging, builds narratives, assembles a trust-focused team, engages evangelists, and tracks success. 


Through Nearbound marketing, you leverage authenticity and relationships to thrive in the Who Economy.


Book a call with us and learn how to activate trusted advocates, build authentic narratives, and drive success. Let us guide you through the journey of Nearbound marketing.

Logan Lyles 12 min

Nearbound Marketing: A Trust-Driven Path in the Who Economy

Learn how to identify, evaluate, activate, and distribute with your brand evangelists and elevate your marketing strategy through Nearbound marketing.

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