It’s fair to say that ‘Inbound marketing’ is hot at the moment. Encouraging customers to come to you rather than chasing them is a sound philosophy and potentially lower cost than spending money on direct (outbound) marketing. But is it the case that we are experiencing a full pendulum swing from push to pull or do social media, content development and so on simply provide new routes to market that make marketing choices more difficult?
The reality is that we cannot ignore social media but we need good content to maximise its value. There’s no point creating a Facebook page, Twitter account or YouTube channel if you don’t develop interesting stuff that potential customers might value, consume and share. Likewise, it makes no sense to generate great content that you keep to yourself. That’s like opening a shop with lovely merchandise but keeping the shutters down.
Inbound generates credibility through provision of relevant material that your audience might want to read or watch. The challenge is that, in many ways like outbound marketing, there is a snowstorm of information on the Internet and a consistent and focused approach is needed. It is not necessarily a short term game.
When it comes to outbound marketing such as email, telemarketing and direct mail, observers might argue about its decline. People don’t want to be sold to. That’s true. Equally, in many ways outbound marketing should form part of the marketing strategy for most businesses. Marketing convention would suggest that you need a blend of marketing methods to reach your target audience and reach them on several levels. Being visible to them through advertising, at an exhibition, via a piece of crafted direct mail and ultimately using a professional call as well as through Twitter and other social media may be the strategy that convinces a prospective client to engage and buy.
A hard pressed business owner or marketing manager needs to carefully consider their target market, budget, effectiveness and bang for buck when choosing marketing activities. You can’t do it all unless you’re Unilever, Tesco or Virgin. A blend is probably what’s needed. Encouraging web traffic via social media, SEO and great content is pretty much de rigeur these days. Equally, some form of outbound marketing is essential if you recognise that you can’t simple twiddle your thumbs waiting for customers to come to you. The key is to:
- Look at your target market
- Understand what they respond to i.e. where they go for information
- Work out how best to integrate and maximise each element of your marketing plan
- Maximise budget utilisation to ensure you reach your customers in the most productive way in the shortest time
A busy marketer or business owner must assess the value of each method and the weight of effort to apply to inbound and outbound marketing. You can’t do it all but you can’t afford to ignore the benefits of both inbound and outbound. Ultimately, therefore it comes down to understanding your market and ensuring that you test and measure success to maximise return on investment.
If you’d like to find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business or book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or send us an email.