08 Jan Inbound Marketing – A High Level Overview
What is Inbound Marketing?
So you’ve been hearing the phrase “inbound marketing” bandied about, but don’t really know what that means, exactly?
Here’s a quick overview:
Premise: Customers Aren’t Responding to Traditional Marketing Tactics Anymore
The market as a whole has changed a lot over the last decade, and the fundamental sales and marketing strategies that led thousands of successful companies to millions of dollars in profits are quickly losing (or have lost entirely) their oomph.
People just aren’t responding to sales tactics that interrupt what they’re doing.
They don’t want to be sold to anymore.
They want what they want when they want it, and they’ll figure out what they want themselves.
Takeaway: The Power in the Purchasing Process has Shifted from the Seller to the Buyer
The buyer now holds all the cards, and doesn’t need (or want) a salesperson to “guide” them into “what’s best for them.” It just doesn’t make them feel taken care of in the same way it once did.
Not just in sales, but marketing tactics have been forced to change as well.
Marketing strategies that refuse to recognize the power-shift from seller to buyer are now referred to as “traditional marketing” or “outbound” tactics.
Traditional marketing is interruptive and “asking” in nature.
It attempts to make the most amount of noise to attract the most amount of attention, then convert that attention to sales.
It finds a way to insert a sales pitch into every customer interaction, with no regard as to whether the customer needs it or not.
It promises a value that will be delivered only after the customer has already committed to the deal.
Most common methods:
- Newspaper / magazine ads
- Unsolicited Mailers
- Unsolicited Email
Marketing strategies that recognize the buyer as the dominant position in the purchasing process are referred to as “inbound marketing” or “content marketing” tactics.
Inbound marketing is attractive in nature.
It attempts to generate the highest quality of consumable information, and make it conveniently available for those who need that information to solve a problem.
It finds ways to make meaningful connections with every visitor interaction, knowing that the visitor actively found them and needs help. It then seeks to build an ongoing relationship with that visitor over time.
It demonstrates value up-front, so that the visitor can feel safe in becoming a customer.
Most common methods:
- White papers
- Info pages
- Search engine optimization
- Opt-in email newsletters
- Social media
Businesses are continuing to adjust to the “internetization” of their respective markets. Once-effective sales and marketing techniques and strategies that were developed over the course of decades are being forced to change dramatically over the course of mere months.
As the buyer continues to mature into their new role, interruptive or intrusive sales and marketing techniques will continue to lose effectiveness.
Inbound marketing seeks to meet the customer where they are at the exact moment they need help, and offer assistance without seeming pushy.