[Originally published at Kuno Creative]
I recently attended one of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing events, where hoards of inbounders talked shop and listened to some insightful presentations. Dan Tyre, HubSpot’s sales director, opened the floor by discussing various aspects of inbound marketing, and though his entire presentation was great, one statement stood out to me—“Marketing has a lovability problem.”
I’m sure most of you have heard that quip before, but it never hurts to reinforce the fact that marketing is not the same.
Just two weeks ago, Richard Edelman, president and CEO of one of the world’s largest public relations firms, declared traditional marketing is broken. In this Contently blog post, Edelman insists the only way to break through the clutter and reach today’s self-educated buyers is to share relevant content with them before the sales pitch—everything else will eventually connect if it’s done well.
But, despite the fact we know traditional marketing isn’t working like it used to, many marketers have failed to change their ways. I’m sure you’ve recently muttered the phrase “Stop trying to sell me your product” or “Stop emailing things I didn’t ask for.” I receive countless marketing messages every day. It can be annoying to receive things you don’t want. And that little annoyance—it’s what I like to call old school marketing—and it’s not effective.
The good news is, this is not how inbound marketing works, which is why it’s winning the battle these days. Not sure whose side you’re on yet? Keep reading as I explain why inbound is in fact more lovable than traditional marketing.
1. The customer is in control
Repeat after me: “THE CUSTOMER IS IN CONTROL.” You don’t find them anymore, they find you. And inbound marketing gladly accepts this fact.
Not only are buyers in control, but they’re self-educated. By the time they are ready to purchase, they know what they need, they just don’t know who they’re going to buy it from yet. This is why inbound marketing stands the greatest chance at reeling in quality buyers. How? Because we are armed and ready with the information our customers are looking for.
Traditional marketing or “old outbound” as Dan called it just yesterday in his blog post, is pushy and—surprise—it pushed the vast majority of its potential buyers away. Meanwhile, inbound marketers are waiting patiently to serve up the content buyers want.
2. Inbound is Personal
Beyond just creating quality content, inbound marketers take a lot of time up front getting to know their potential customers. We know content is only as good as it is relevant. If our buyers need product A and we come prepared to talk about Product B, we’ve failed the mission—it’s that simple.
But how does one go about getting to know their buyers? Two words—buyer personas. Here, marketers invest their time understanding the buyer’s journey. To really master personas though, you need to know buyer pain points, too. And more importantly, your content must speak to the specific buyer pain points.
If marketing in general wants to redeem itself, it must stop trying to sell and start educating. It’s time to stop pushing messages on buyers and start pulling them in with quality content that’s specific to their needs. After all, it is about them, so the solutions you offer should be about them.
3. Inbound has all the tools and the best teams
But what’s even better than the fact we have all the tools we need, we also have powerful teams. Today’s content marketing, which fuels inbound marketing, is often created by trained journalists, public relations savants and marketing gurus—all of which are here to serve their audiences. We even throw a little advertising in there for good measure. We also have marketing technologists galore backed by experience with almost every platform you’ve heard of.
Basically, we do it all. But we do it to empower the buyer to make the best decision for their needs—not just to sell our product. That is what sets inbound marketing apart from traditional marketing. And it’s what makes inbound more lovable.