What it is and why it matters
Over 30? Then you’ve noticed the radical change in marketing over the past decade. Under 30? Then you totally missed out on entire industries that have shriveled up and died, thanks to the internet. And did you know that once upon a time we couldn’t pause a TV show? If you didn’t want to miss something important, you ran to the potty during a brief commercial break every 20 to 30 minutes. Today, I record programs just so I can skip over commercial interruptions every six to 10 minutes. I can save myself about 30 minutes of time watching that “hour” long program, or more likely, I’ll justifiably watch two episodes.
We live in an age of easy access to information. The internet gives us information in an instant from almost anywhere we can use our phone. But we want this information on our terms. We don’t appreciate being “sold” to, particularly if we’re interrupted when we’re busy or engaged in something we enjoy.
This has left advertising agencies, cable and network television, radio stations, and a slew of other industries scrambling to make changes as customers make a mass exodus to other, less intrusive forms of entertainment. Personally, I don’t have the time or patience for that nonsense, so it’s no surprise to me that on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have over 150 million subscribers. I even pay a monthly fee for my music subscription so I can listen to music without annoying commercials.
We also tend to ignore ads in other mediums. As a society, we’ve learned how to block out all the noise caused by ad overload. Studies show that in a majority of internet searches, users skip the ads, even when they are relevant to their search request. One study shows that 40% of internet users use ad-blocking software on their laptops and desktop computers. We instead click on the organic results. On web pages, studies of eye tracking show that we often skim right over ads there as well. TV ads, radio spots, billboards, and magazines, while quite expensive, similarly don’t give us the leads that would warrant the expense.
Common sense also suggests that we seldom trust ads. There are typically companies bragging about how they are “best in class” and other such claims. Many ads are simply untrue, (“This is what beauty looks like!” and such), and others pretend to be informational but are just “click bait” to bring you to their page. We’ve all had experiences to prove it. I mean, when was the last time you saw an ad where the company told you that their product or service was just mediocre? Then, there are those in which companies “attack” each other, causing more and more distrust. And how can you be sure who is behind that online ad?
What we’ve been discussing is known as outbound marketing. It is a traditional marketing technique that includes any method a company uses to initiate the conversation and blast its marketing message out to an audience. A majority of times, the audience receiving this information is not even one that is currently interested in the topic of the message. Think of it as “pushing” your message out, hoping that through sheer volume it will draw some of the right customers in.
Common outbound methods are, but not limited to, sales calls, email spam, trade shows, and advertising in its near-endless forms. One of the downsides of outbound marketing, besides the expense, is that it is difficult to measure the return on investment (ROI). It is also difficult to know if your costly outbound efforts are reaching your target audience.
So, if advertising doesn’t provide the ROI that it used to, how do companies get the word out about their services and products? The answer involves a multifaceted approach, but the good news is you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company or the hottest topic to be competitive any longer. Any size business can get in the marketing game today.
There are other strategies for marketing your business, including pay per click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, social media, opt-in emails, digital marketing, and content marketing. Inbound marketing, also referred to as “pull” marketing because it is intended to pull customers to you when they are browsing around for your company’s services, involves earning their attention organically and not bugging, begging, or threatening.
In this blog series, we’ll talk about inbound marketing (also called content marketing and digital marketing), what the benefits are, and how your company can make use of this marketing strategy to increase sales and establish a respected label or brand.
Inbound marketing has several advantages. First, it is typically easier to measure the results and second, according to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less and generates 3x more leads than outbound marketing. HubSpot’s 2018 report says that 72% of marketers say that relevant content creation was their most effective SEO tactic. In fact, HubSpot also reports that companies using inbound marketing are 7x more likely to report higher ROI than companies using outbound marketing efforts.
Are you convinced yet that inbound marketing is the way to go? In our next article, “How Does Inbound Marketing Work?,” we’ll dive in deeper and show you how it can work for your company.