What Does Inbound Marketing Mean for my Business?

At Innovations Branding House, we focus on inbound marketing.  Unsurprisingly, there exists some confusion as to what this entails and how it’s different from traditional outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing
consists of providing valuable content to potential clients and getting their permission to market to them.  Content is considered valuable when it’s personalized and relevant to the consumer at hand.  It’s all about being in the right place at the right time with the right message.

Inbound marketing messages are not interruptive but rather helpful and interesting.  They are developed to attract your company’s ideal customers and keep them coming back for more.  Instead of targeting anyone and everyone, this type of marketing draws in qualified prospects that are already searching and shopping within your given industry.  This makes for an audience that is more likely to use your products or services.

Outbound marketing,
on the other hand, is probably what you’re used to seeing.  This traditional marketing method is gradually falling by the wayside – possibly, for good reason.

This type of marketing can be viewed as a shotgun blast approach.  Brands simply shout out generic marketing messages to the public, interrupting consumers’ daily lives and hoping for someone to take the bait.  These companies are, then, left waiting to see which tactics work.  It’s also important to note that the cost of reaching your target audience is higher with traditional marketing.

With a growing interest in inbound marketing, it’s becoming clear that outbound marketing works less and less.

This is largely due to consumers’ ability to avoid such marketing approaches.  Advancing technology offers various alternatives to traditional radio, television, and print.

For instance, fewer and fewer people are listening to radio these days.  Why would they when they could avoid radio advertisements altogether and listen to a personalized station suited to their preferences?  Online services, such as Pandora, Songza, Spotify, and iTunes radio, allow users to quickly generate their own radio station based on a certain song, artist, genre, or mood.

Additionally, people can easily fill portable music devices, like iPods and smartphones, with their favorite songs and listen to them at any time.  Bluetooth-enabled vehicles are, then, able to sync with these mp3 players and smartphones to provide seamless mobile listening aloud.  Satellite radio also provides ad-free listening.

Many local radio stations offer a period of time for listeners to call in and request songs.  I’ve often wondered, “Who possibly has the time to do this, assuming they even get through to a DJ, when they could just as easily play the song online or download it in seconds?”

Television is much the same way. To avoid watching commercials, viewers may record their favorite shows ahead of time with TiVo or DVR and simply fast-forward through the ads later.  Websites, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Project Free TV, let consumers watch a variety of television shows and movies commercial-free at any time.

Printed publications, including magazines and newspapers, have also gone digital.  Readers are now able to skim articles online and on mobile devices, viewing only those that appeal to them.  This makes it much easier for people to avoid printed advertisements.

With all of that said, there’s an appropriate place and time for everything. Traditional marketing is not completely outdated. In fact, having a healthy mix of both inbound and outbound marketing is preferred.  It’s just important to be aware of how marketing is evolving and to remain flexible with those changes.