This article was originally published in 2012. Amazingly, it is still accurate.
Today’s consumer is bombarded with upwards of 3,000 advertising interruptions each day. Marketing and advertising budgets are being stretched and sales people are working harder.
All this to generate a massive amount of noise within the population, but not a tremendous amount of return on investment (ROI).
Finally, brands are starting to realize social media is a medium to communicate with their customers, but, often, the same traditional tactics are bring used on social media as have been used for decades in more traditional, one-way, methods of advertising.
Traditional, Outbound Marketing
For decades, one-way methods of communication have been used to blast a message to consumers. Through the use of radio, outdoor billboards, television ads, newspaper, magazine ads, subway messages, and the like, brands have projected a sigle message to the masses.
Traditional marketing does very little to speak to the individual making a buying decision. For example, traditional media does not consider where in the buying process the consumer is — are they investigating a product or service for purchase? Have they identified the make or model of product they are interested in? Are they the right demographic for purchase? Meaning, widgets designed for young home owners with kids would be nearly useless to market to seniors or college students renting an apartment.
Traditional media is a one-way, one-message horse.
Rarely is a buying decision based on hearing this type of message.
Measuring Impressions Rather than Leads
A popular term in advertising, for years, has been “impressions” and measuring impressions as if they have value.
Here is a hint: they do not.
Impressions do nothing for the bottom line of a company’s Balance Sheet. Impressions do not pay the bills. Impressions do not lead to high valuations.
When factoring an accurate return on investment from a marketing campaign, a better unit of measurement is Sales Leads. It is entirely trackable and entirely replicable. In science, for a method to be proven, you must be able to reproduce it.
Inbound marketing is reproducible.
What is Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing, a term made popular by HubSpot, is the process of earning the interest of prospective customers, rather than buying it. Unlike traditional, outbound advertising, inbound marketing is the method of reaching an individual at the moment they are looking for the brand or product you are selling. Rather than interrupting them, you are attracting them.
Brian Halligan, co-founder of HubSpot, says
The best analogy I can come up with is that traditional marketers looking to garner interest from new potential customers are like lions hunting in the jungle for elephants. The elephants used to be in the jungle in the ’80s and ’90s when they learned their trade, but they don’t seem to be there anymore. They have all migrated to the watering holes on the savannah (the internet). So, rather than continuing to hunt in the jungle, I recommend setting up shop at the watering hole or turning your website into its own watering hole.
The inbound marketing approach centers on using your website as your brand’s “hub”, and using original content to “get found” by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.
What is Original Content
The thought of producing original content is daunting to business owners and marketing professionals. The reality is, though, that using a systematic approach to getting the creative juices flowing, each member of the company can become a content-generating machine — directly helping the bottom line.
Each employee, from the CEO to the front desk receptionist, has a unique perspective to the company, its customers, its product, and the problems facing each of these.
By harnessing the knowledge of each of these employees, and understanding who is buying (made possible by understanding your customer persona), it is easy to fit knowledge and experience to solve the problems customers are facing.
This process creates a natural progression for customers to enter and progress through the company sales funnel to want to do business and buy a product. Imagine your brand attracting business, rather than begging for it.
This system is repeatable, proven, and demonstrates a shift in traditional marketing that will make your competition envy your market control.
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: A Transformation
If you would like more information on how to use inbound marketing to revolutionize your sales process, I want to talk to you. This is an investment in your company that will forever alter the way you approach business.