We just don’t buy like we used to. Instead of reaching out to sales people or going into stores early on in our journey, we begin with research on Google, seeking out recommendations from our network on Facebook or LinkedIn and consuming content online. By the time we speak to sales, our mind is just about made up about the purchase. So why is it that we still market like it’s 2005 and treat our potential buyers as if they want to be sold at? Technology has facilitated the shift in buying for years. This has changed consumer attitudes in B2B and B2C which dictates us to change our marketing tactics. Increased regulations like GDPR and PECR also mean that as marketers we have to change our behavior.
The dawn of the digital age is now well and truly in the past. We are in the midst of a digital evolution such as; moves to bots, messagers and the Internet of Things. All marketers recognise the importance of utilising digital tools and platforms whether we are talking about social channels, optimising for search or the good old email. The biggest challenges that we face when using these platforms are all about picking the right tools and how to integrate them in an overall strategy. A rabbit hole easily opens where we lose ourselves in tools without seeing how we integrate them into an effective inbound lead funnel.
To me, and please tell me if you disagree, digital has become pretty traditional in marketing terms. By this I mean that there is a quantitative rather than qualitative approach. The tendency is to push more content, more blasts of social media activity and to allocate more budget for Adwords. Unfortunately, for smaller organisations with less resources this approach isn’t possible and, as many of their larger counterparts would agree, quality should rule.
We see a lot of bigger organisations creating digital silos in which teams or individuals in teams have a clear channel focus. In theory there is nothing wrong with that at all. To have that kind of manpower devoted to any particular channel should grow that channels success, right? In practice, however, the singular focus can often lead to not seeing the complete picture and forgetting what each channel brings to the buyer’s journey (your visits, leads and customer numbers).
So, picking up on our topic, we buy differently. Take off your marketing hat for a moment and put your consumer hat on. You don’t want to be sold at, you don’t want ads chasing you around your timeline that don’t offer you anything relevant. You also don’t want to sieve through 50 emails every morning to discover that 20 are spam. As consumers, digital has given us the power to ignore ads, to consume content in whatever way and whenever we want to. We use spam filters, the delete button, ad blockers and pogo-stick so fast out of inaccurate search results that it makes your head spin!
So is digital the death of marketing? No, not at all!
Why we need inbound
Inbound marketing has been around for nearly a decade now and it keeps growing. In its purest form, we are simply looking at digital channels and tools in a framework of Attract, Convert, Close and Delight. The key to understanding of why we need inbound is not in how to use each tool by itself to best effect. It is around setting goals for marketing ROI, measuring success and utilising the entire toolset in unison to drive ROI.
Many of you will now tell me that inbound drove the content rush, the near-mindless copying of blog topics and social messages. And yes, you are right. It did have a part to play. I believe however that when a quality inbound approach is applied, you are still far more likely to see better results. Why? Because you are selling on the terms of your buyer. You are providing quality content that helps them make a decision and when they are ready you offer a consultative sale.
This process starts with setting the foundation which should be your potential buyer. Understanding them and developing helpful solutions is the key to your marketing success. Everything you do in inbound comes back down to your buyer and their needs. In addition, you need to put measurable targets against your marketing strategy. These targets should be aligned with sales and company goals. Marketing should be a measurable, accountable driver of revenue (who wants to do pretty picture marketing, right?). Your goals should align with your potential customers and how they buy. You should only start aligning your inbound pillars or stages of Attract, Convert, Close and Delight to your personas after you have your goals figured out.
Understanding your buyer in today’s technology and research driven environment is your most important driver for success. Instead of falling down the rabbit hole of new tools and loosing oversight in the constant stream of new channels, inbound marketing will focus your efforts back to what matters most: being a valuable partner in your customers’ buyer’s journey.
Inbound is about continuous learning of best practices, understanding our buyers and how they evolve. Best of all, inbound is not rocket science and at BusinessBrew.io and About Inbound we believe in teaching people how to do it right and so they can see the best results.
We’ve put our thoughts together and built an inbound course that will be helpful for anyone wanting to refresh their knowledge as well as those who want to build their first inbound marketing campaign.
The course comes with over 7 hours of course content. It will take you through 8 modules and provide a virtual goodie bag to support your efforts. On top of this you will also receive a personal office hour from Business Brew that you can use for questions or even to have us review your inbound campaign. Take the classes at your own pace, complete the tasks after each module and end up with your own inbound campaign in hand at the end.