Marketing like many other branches of business often introduces jargon that may confuse readers. The latest of these is the term inbound marketing. In demystifying this term, we will show you a concept that is even more useful. That is marketing from the outside in
Inbound Marketing Versus Outbound Marketing
One of the latest buzzwords is inbound marketing, which is contrasted with outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is the old traditional approach which is to ensure that people will see your advertisements and messages by spending large sums of money to get their attention.
Inbound marketing on the other hand has become a two-way dialogue, much of which is played out in social media such as Facebook or even Twitter.
Inbound marketing focuses on earning, not buying, a person’s attention, which is done through social media and engaging content, such as blogs, podcasts and white papers. This content is interesting, informative and adds value, creating a positive connection in the eyes of the consumer, thus making her more likely to engage your brand and buy the product
The link above shows an infographic created by Voltier Digital, which highlights the differences between the two kinds of marketing. Here is the lead-in to that infographic. The infographic is of course another device used in inbound marketing to earn the viewers interest.
Inbound Marketing Is The Future
The term Inbound Marketing was created by Hubspot and they are persuasive on its merits as the way of the future.
Instead of interrupting people with television ads, they create videos that potential customers want to see. Instead of buying display ads in print publications, they create their own business blog that people subscribe to and look forward to reading. Instead of cold calling, they create useful content and tools so that prospects contact them looking for more information.
Instead of driving their message into a crowd over and over again like a sledgehammer, they attract highly qualified customers to their business like a magnet.
Companies Should Look In Before Looking Out
That all sounds fine but others are raising a warning that getting involved with social media may be opening a can of worms. Social media are just that: social. Whatever surfaces is there (for ever) for all the world to see.
The advice here is to look inwards and make sure that there are no skeletons in the cupboard. Products and services should be ones that customers find satisfactory and indeed might wish to recommend to their friends. Only when a company is operating at this level can you expect that individuals in social media such as Facebook may share details of new promotions with their friends in a way which will be helpful to your future growth targets..
The Outside In Look Is The Best
Looking inwards is fine but we would urge you to go one step further. The important view of the products and services is not what company employees believe but more importantly what customers and potential customers may believe.
They are on the outside looking in. They also compare your products and services with similar offerings from the competition. It is worth investing time and effort in getting honest feedback from potential customers as to how your products and services really stack up against the competition. For over ten years, this approach has been around and sometimes is labeled being customer-centric.
Perhaps even better is to listen to those dissatisfied customers and hear what they have to say about the company and its products and services. They are certainly on the outside looking in but they may provide the most honest appraisals you will get.
People in general do not like to complain and there is also the factor of cognitive dissonance. When someone has bought a product they may not choose to comment on slight dissatisfactions they may feel because they really want the world to know that they were astute purchasers. Those who decided not to buy may give much more revealing comments.
Certainly that outside in look may well teach you something about your products and services that you had never realized. With that information you can be on a path to improvement and to success. Without that information you may be attempting the impossible in getting potential customers to test out your products.