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Inbound Marketing Blog

    The Phantom of Inbound Marketing: A Seasonally Spooky Short Story

    Posted by Jasmine Henry

    From the Files of IMA

    “Going for a drink after work again, Dave?”

    Beth Blogger shut her laptop with a satisfying snap.

    Dave Designer looked up from his latest CTA design and grinned. “If I can talk Steve Seo into going, we’ll be there. You getting a head start on the evening?”

    Beth nodded as she dug her keys from her bag. “I think I’ll go grab Padma Project-Manager and Ilana Intern on the way. We’ll make a night of it. We’ve worked hard this week and deserve to unwind.”

    “See you in a bit.” Dave flipped a wave in her direction and turned back to InDesign to finish up.


    After Beth grabbed the other girls, they all headed to the door, laughing and chatting about the great ideas they’d implemented during the week. Just as she reached for the handle, the office plunged into darkness. Her startled squeak nearly drowned out the sound of the deadbolt clicking into place.

    “What’s going on?” Panic knifed through her chest.

    Employees filtered from their offices into the open work space, cursing and mumbling as they bumped into desks and chairs in the dark. When they were all gathered, Martin Manager performed a hasty roll call to make sure everyone was present and safe.

    “Beth Blogger?”


    “PP Click?”

    “I’m fine.”

    “Callie Campaign?”

    “I’m good.”

    When Mr. Manager was sure everyone was safe and accounted for, he proceeded to explain the issue.

    “We’re dying from the inside, people. You’ve all put in hard work, but for some reason, we’re sinking like the Titanic. Until we find out who’s responsible, we’re stuck here. No power because we can’t pay our bills. Can’t go home because we’ve been locked down. Now, don’t panic. If we work together, we can figure it out.”

    Beth remembered the back door and wondered if anyone had considered escape. While everyone was busy murmuring and placing blame on others, she tiptoed away from the group and broke into a run.

    Just as freedom was in sight, fingers closed around her arm. The last thing anyone heard was her strangled shriek. And then she was gone.

    “Did you hear that?”

    Dave Design squinted his eyes and studied the employees still gathered in the common area. “I think it was Beth. I think something happened to her.”

    He grabbed Steve Seo and Silas Stats to go with him to the back door. When they drew closer, Dave’s heart skipped a beat. There lay Beth, drained of life.


    “What is going on here?”

    “Just what Mr. Manager said. We’re all gonna die unless we figure out who’s doing this and stop them.”

    Silas sounded a little spooked, but a glint in his eyes gave away his excitement. He loved a good challenge.

    Before they could tend to poor Beth, another choked scream echoed through the office. At a run, they headed back to the rest of the group, only to see that Callie Campaign was nowhere to be found.

    “Has anyone seen her?”

    “She was just here.”

    “Maybe she tried to sneak out the back.”

    Steve Seo shook his head. “Nah, we were just back there. No one else passed by.”

    “I don’t understand!” Ilana Intern wailed. “She’s way too smart to get herself killed. Callie always gave me the best advice.”

    “I think she thought no one really cared. It’s been a long time since someone actually paid attention to her.” Dave Design sounded puzzled. “It makes no sense. Even if people didn’t want to listen to everything she said, I always gave her great designs to keep readers at least looking.”

    “Well, she’s gone now. We should stick together so we don’t lose anyone else.”


    The pact didn’t last long. After a short time, everyone got tired of working together and drifted away to do their own things. Without Beth Blogger and Callie Campaign, work would be tough, but they knew they could get through it. Until another scream pierced the night.

    “Guys, it’s Tanya Traffic. I don’t know what happened. She just dropped like a ton of bricks. One minute she was fine, the next…gone.” Steve Seo stared at the girl who lay flat on the floor.

    “And PP Click just keeled over, too. This is getting really scary. What are we going to do if we don’t get the results these guys were bringing?” Dave plopped down in his chair and ran his hands through his hair roughly.

    “What do you mean, results?” The voice echoed eerily over the remainder of the group. “You haven’t seen results from these guys in months.”

    “Sure we have,” Mr. Manager shouted. “These employees were very hard workers. They gave everything they had to our cause.”

    “Not everything.” The voice grew louder as its owner stepped from the shadows into a sliver of light from the window. “They forgot about me.”


    “Mikey Metrics? You still work here?” Mr. Manager’s jaw dropped in shock.

    “Oh, yeah. I’m still here, not that any of you remembered. Every time you published an ebook campaign, I should have been there to track it. When you implemented a Pay-Per-Click ad, you could have been working with me to determine where your leads came from.” His calm fury rose to a roar. “Your blogs could have reached more people! Your campaigns could have been segmented for better traffic! I could have helped with all of it, but you forgot I existed.”

    “Are you going to kill us all?” Steve Seo asked timidly.

    Mikey Metrics just snorted. “I know what I must sound like. Here we are, body count rising, and the ‘villain’ appears. You probably even think I’m that stupid villain who explains himself thoroughly before killing you all off.”

    Ilana Intern raised her hand timidly and spoke only after Mikey acknowledged her. “You did just explain a lot.”

    A chilling laugh filled the air as Mikey tossed back his head and chortled. “You think that was a confession? You think I’m the one responsible for the death of your precious blogs and campaigns? That I’m the reason your traffic dropped like a stone? Think again.”

    “You didn’t kill them?” Mr. Manager just looked confused. “Then who did?”

    “You did. By ignoring me, you killed them. You could have installed tracking codes. Or maybe you could have used campaign tracking to keep an eye on PP Click. Do you think he knew where your paid leads came from? Heck, even watching the numbers for Beth Blogger might have reminded Steve Seo to jump in and help once in a while for more views. When do you think she last checked inbound links or social media shares? Instead, you all got wrapped up in the day-to-day and forgot I even existed.”

    “So, it’s not too late?” Martin Manager’s voice sparkled with hope. “We might save everyone else?”

    “Believe it or not, you could even revive Beth Blogger, PP Click, Callie Campaign, and Tanya Traffic. Just pay attention to your metrics, and they’ll come back.”


    As soon as the last words were spoken, the office lights flared to life. The remaining employees blinked against the brightness and stared at the diminutive man in their midst. Mikey Metrics adjusted his suspenders uncomfortably and straightened his thick-framed glasses.

    “Uh… What’s everyone staring at?”

    No one spoke for several seconds. Finally, Mr. Manager cleared his throat and forced a wobbly smile.

    “Just glad to have you on our side, Mikey.”

    Inbound Marketing Horror Stories

    photo credit: 'Ajnagraphy' via photopin cc

    Topics: Inbound Marketing