Inbound Marketing has landed, don't drive around it, pay attention to it!
It started slowly about 15 years ago but only a few paid attention and got involved. In the last 5 years, inbound marketing began to take strong root and became a viable segment of marketing for companies that recognized this emerging opportunity. In the last year alone, inbound marketing has become the primary marketing method for small to mid-sized companied around the world. The consumer and business market have moved from outbound marketing to inbound marketing 2 to 1, and I'm talking about both sides of the process. First, using inbound marketing to search, research, define, isolate and choose their vendors of choice and second to promote and market their own business products and services.
What are the differences between inbound marketing and outbound marketing?
To better understand the concept of Inbound marketing, think of it's counter part, outbound marketing. Outbound marketing has been the preferred and primary method of delivering a commercial message for the past 40 years. The outbound marketing concept has been to blast or push out an organization's message to as many people as possible in hopes that the message will get the attention from the right market, at the right time. Examples of Outbound marketing include, TV, Radio, Telemarketing, Print Advertising, Direct Mail, Yellow Pages, Email Broadcasting, Billboards, etc. Some people refer to this type of marketing as the "shotgun" approach where a message is shot and scattered over a group of people with the hope that some small percentage of these people will be interested at that particular time. Although outbound marketing or traditional marketing will always have a place, it has become much less effective and much more costly as the ROI (return on investment) continues to shrink.
The gap between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is growing to a point where marketing professionals are using the follow two terms to highlight the major difference:
- Outbound marketing is "interruption" marketing.
- Inbound marketing is "attraction" marketing.
Another way to understand why outbound marketing is not as effective as it was years ago, is to understand how much better we are all equipped to block the outbound messages:
- Remotes controls to block commercials
- DVRs to pass over commecials
- Caller IDs to evaluate who is calling us
- Satelite radio to remove commercials
- Spam filters to block email advertising
- Yellow pages have become nothing more than paper weights or door stops
Inbound marketing is the unfolding "revolution" of marketing. It represents the transformation from the old, to the new. Technology has been advancing at an unprecedented rate and it has caught up with the marketing industry and has staked it's claim. The truth is, like all other technology, if you don't get on board and utilize the resources available, you will be left behind in the world of obsolete. To use an analogy, inbound marketing is to outbound marketing as the automobile was to the horse & buggy. If you look all around, you see the mega marketers (Johnson & Johnson, CNN, AT&T, etc.) using the new methodologies of social media, search engine marketing, blog development and conversion strategies.
What you should recognize is that these same powerful strategies, are available to you. Understand that you are now on a leveled playing field and can compete. For the same money it would take to run a short series of radio advertisements (outbound marketing), you can create and develop a farther reasching inbound marketing strategy.
Inbound Marketing Objectives:
- Get Found
- Website or Blog Creation
- Search Engine Optimization
- Blog Development
- Social Media Development
- Conversion Strategy
- Evaluation & Adjustment Process
Inbound Marketing Foundation Elements:
- Lead Generation
- Lead Tracking
- Lead Nurturing
- Lead Conversion
One additional note: A warning to those considering or starting an inbound marketing plan. Get professional advice and consultation. If you are using Twitter for example, you might see outragous claims stating the ability to spread your marketing message to thoughands overnight. This simply translates to an ineffective and incomplete strategy. Like anything else worth while, this is a process that does take time and careful planning. If you are going to get involve in a new marketing startegy, do it right and work with an experienced professional. Even if it's only to consult and help you create and launch components in house.
More helpful inbound marketing resources: