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inbound marketing elevates small businesses to new heights

Inbound Marketing

inbound marketing

by Kenneth Rudich

My postal mailbox gets packed with promotional stuff nearly every day.  Mostly pages upon pages of coupons, but sometimes other things like postcard packets pitching this or corporate-speak-letters pitching that.  It’s all bunched together waiting for me to sift through it, which I never do.  Personally, I don’t often take to that kind of marketing.  I tend to regard it as uninvited balderdash, particularly the ones that seem to think my name is Current Resident.

It’s burdensome to deal with.  I move it directly from the mailbox to the recycle bin.  When that gets filled up, I have to wheel the recycle bin to the end of the driveway so the trash man can retrieve it.  He in turn transports it to a place where I assume it gets converted back into pulp, then paper, then junk mail again.  See where this is headed?

As American journalist Linda Ellerbee used to famously say, “And so it goes.”
    
In this day and age of typically cheaper and more effective inbound marketing, I find it confounding that businesses still invest in so much outbound marketing.

outbound marketing as compared to inbound marketing 

The stark contrast between the two makes it easy to differentiate them.

Outbound marketing blindly chases after customers by pushing a message onto them in some sort of broadcast manner.  Whether its junk mail, email blasts, tv advertising, or cold calling on the telephone, it’s like casting a big net, hoping to every so often snag a few prospects from the many non-customers that are bound to land in it.  For those of us already happily invested in doing something else, it becomes nothing more than a pointless intrusion.
   
Inbound marketing seeks to achieve the opposite effect.  It operates on the premise that it’s better to pull customers in, to have them find your business while in process of looking for (or at) the types of goods and services you offer.  It focuses on attracting prospects that are already predisposed to giving you their attention.

Put yourself in the position of working at a call center.  Would you rather be making outbound cold calls, or taking inbound customer requests? 

internet marketing, seo, and inbound go together

If you happened to have read a few of the earlier posts about SEO and keywords lists, then you’ll recognize what I mean when I say most internet marketing is inbound oriented.
 
Whether it’s a business website or social media marketing, the objective is to lure customers in, to have them converge on your business as a natural consequence of the actions they’re already taking.  You’re not interrupting a favorite tv show with a commercial, or obscuring the skyline with a billboard, or making readers find where the magazine article continues after plodding through several pages of advertisements.

Plus, you can interact with your audience, make it a two-way communication instead of a one-way broadcast.  Not only are you winning them over with your winsome charm, you’re also learning more about them in the process.  And that can be only good for business, right? 

the superbowl commercial that didn’t happen

Pepsi, who is known for sponsoring memorable Superbowl commercials year-in and year-out, is now famous for deciding against putting a commercial in the last one.  Instead, they re-allocated the money to the implementation of a social media marketing campaign.

I’m not going to be so bold as to announce the premature demise of outbound marketing, but what does Pepsi’s shift in business strategy say to you? 

16 Comments

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  10. Kenneth Rudich says:

    Hi James:

    I agree we may well see a dramatic shift from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. One factor that makes this an even more interesting question is what effect the emerging demographic composition of the population will have on these trends? On the one hand, the baby boomers will be growing older. Depending on whether they’re set in their ways or adaptive will be a determining factor about the use of technology with them. The baby boom echo, however, is certain to want the latest in technology. I suspect many baby boomers will prove quite adaptive because it will afford them a means for staying in close touch with their children. In the end, that may be one of the bigger benefits of technology.

  11. James George says:

    >Hi James:
    >I think the next few years will be interesting in several >respects. What will happen to more conventional approaches — >will they be sustainable or fade away? What will happen with >the “free” of free interent marketing once it gains real >traction? As big companies continue to use it, it may yet >become a victim of capitalistic tendencies.
    >
    >Ken

    You are asking some interesting questions. Although we can only speculate I think that there is plenty of internet growth as the 10 year olds of today become the savvy internet consumers of tomorrow.

    For example check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBieYjxUj5Q Square. This is the payment system of my generation. No contracts. The credit card processor hooks into any electronic device with a headphone jack (iphone, ipod, ipad, blackberry, etc).

    I think the edgier companies will try anything to get a competitive advantage. Progressive companies like Pepsi will blaze the way for new companies. Direct mail marketing, telemarketing, and email blasting all have a place in the average company’s repertoire, but inbound marketing like Pay-Per-Click, Social Marketing, and SEO will most likely take a larger portion of the company’s marketing budget.

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  14. Kenneth Rudich says:

    Hi James:
    I think the next few years will be interesting in several respects. What will happen to more conventional approaches — will they be sustainable or fade away? What will happen with the “free” of free interent marketing once it gains real traction? As big companies continue to use it, it may yet become a victim of capitalistic tendencies.

    Ken

  15. James George says:

    I am glad that you mentioned Pepsi because it shows the financial commitment of companies to the social networking platform. Check out this Reuters article that says a 30 second ad spot starts at 3 million http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0644484220080506

    My business partner met Kyle Lacy from http://www.getbrandswag.com/ at a local rainmakers meeting. Kyle wrote the book Twitter Marketing for Dummies and has a full time profession teaching companies and ad agencies how to effectively use social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter. He has contracts with Intel and Exact Target. Perhaps worth checking him out.

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