Nowadays, there’s a fancy new name for traditional marketing. It’s called outbound. It was termed so as an antonym by those who are big proponents of “inbound marketing.” Inbound marketing in theory, systematically earns the trust and builds relationships and thus grows your business one person at a time through your online content marketing efforts. As such, it is argued that you’ll end up spending way less money over time than marketing through old-school traditional marketing channels.
Inbound marketing strategy revolves around informing and engaging individuals through social media, blog posts or white papers so that they will come to trust you as the expert to either recommend services or sell them some of your own products etc. Inbound is so defined because you build customer relationships through your interaction with them. You capture their email info or they like or follow you on social media and in return, they receive your sage advice, info, how-to’s etc.
Outbound, on the other hand, is considered “mass marketing” wherein your ad, billboard or commercial is viewed as interrupting tons of people at once and hoping that it will evoke the action that you seek. This is what you most likely refer to as traditional marketing –the kind you grew up on. Radio spots, tv commercials, newspaper ads, billboards –you know, the old school vehicles for all those memorable campaigns that people still talk about. Yes, outbound opportunities still exist…and can be quite effective and IMO, are key components to consider to incorporate for brand awareness or new business campaigns–especially for local small businesses.
The big argument is that outbound marketing is “wasteful” and costs way more than inbound marketing. True, the investment comes early in the marketing campaign. And often, so do the results. Inbound typically has less upfront costs and is structured more in monthly payments. However, top inbound marketing professionals will tell you it typically takes 12 months to see truly business building results. Do you have time for that? Even so, in the meantime, you have to develop content that is engaging, interesting and is sought after by the right people that you’ve “hyper-targeted” and stalked through digital metrics. And you have to keep it in front of them.
Who’s going to write it? Who’s going to think it up the ideas? You’ll have to pay somebody to do it…unless you want to stop what you do best and start developing social media posts for several hours every day. Therein lies another problem: a lot of that content lacks real meat…or misses the messaging mark because so much of the process is automated and mis-reads the nuances of individual situations.
Here’s where I get real. Maybe it’s just me, but I get annoyed clicking on a link that promises to provide me with info only to discover that if I actually want to view it….I’ll need to supply them my email address. If they employ a truly automated system, I’ll receive a salutation from Hanna or Dan so many time a week that I get tired of seeing their names. Before you know it, they are in the spam file or I unsubscribe. Yes, you over-communicated Hanna! Your bad!
I find it insulting and creepy that these people I don’t know are referring to me by my first name, and acting like they know what makes my business tick. I know it’s all automated targeted responses, but to me, it’s no different than repeat sales calls from telemarketers. It’s overkill and way too much noise in my inbox!
Inbound marketing can, of course, be very effective for certain kinds of businesses –typically global market companies that sell products or services online. However, on a local basis, I strongly feel more traditional “outbound” marketing has its place as well. Billboards are great vehicles for announcing a business, building brand recognition and location awareness. Local publications provide excellent opportunities to generate community buzz through ads and editorial content. Brochures or other collateral pieces targeted to your existing clientele still work!
Strategic traditional marketing…when integrated with online marketing strategies (aka inbound) such as digital advertising campaigns, eblasts and a website that is search engine optimized –offer the best solutions to most smaller companies seeking to grow their business. Please, don’t fall into the trap of depersonalizing your message by relying too much on automated personalization!
Think Brand. Not Bland.®