Inbound marketing: Are you talking to me?
This post was originally published on the Novacom blog.
Recent marketing trends indicate that there has been a steady decline in the performance of conventional, outbound marketing techniques. Looking at the statistics, it appears that random, untargeted marketing communications have had their day.
If this is the case, then press and TV advertising, direct mail, cold telesales - in fact all of these media are now no longer fit for purpose. And what this tells us is that new routes to market must be found. Currently, inbound marketing methodologies fill that space.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing methodology revolves around the development of targeted online content designed to attract and engage existing and potential customers. This continuous stream of engaging content attracts targeted contacts who, over time, become qualified prospects and loyal customers.
There are several platforms for inbound, the most popular being marketing automation (MA), but this piece doesn't address MA technologies and methodology but rather, seeks to establish where marketing communications have currently failed in delivering customers.
The passion deficit
Over recent decades, what appears to have happened is that we have forgotten who we are as marketers, and who we are targeting in our customers: we are human beings, and we have individual needs, aspirations and identities.
In short, we have dropped the ball and allowed marketing communications to become featureless, uneventful and anonymous. The humanity, passion and purpose marketing communications once had is now almost completely absent.
Circling back to reality
If the mission in digital marketing and sales is customer acquisition, then careful targeting and diligent, sincere personalisation is now critical to customer engagement and should be considered as a high priority in every campaign strategy.
This is about much more than content development. To develop content that truly personalises the user experience, then you have got to understand each buyer persona well enough to offer personal, humanistic responses to that unique individual. You need close research.
And while these targeted communications are likely delivered by marketing automation - which in itself sounds totally utilitarian - my aim here is to prove it doesn't have to be that way.
Know your customer
Market research will help greatly in understanding potential and existing customers, their needs and aspirations, but if you are diligent in data collection and analysis through such platforms as MA, this can certainly help fill out buyer personas as you move forward.
So research and data analysis are critical to inbound marketing, and critical in helping you gain the attention of your target audiences. And if you invest effective time and effort in this, you will be rewarded by visible, tangible and profitable customer engagement.
Where you go, I go
Making sense of data for personalisation and humanisation is important, but adding greater personalisation through geo-targeting and mobile will optimise customer experience, and strengthen engagement through even greater interactivity.
Admittedly, some of the technologies needed to deliver this level of potential and existing customer engagement is best left in the hands of experienced digital marketers, with solid inbound experience.
Emotion supported by technology
If you look back over this article, it is really about researching and understanding customer needs and aspirations in order to achieve effective and positive engagement.
And that's the point: if like us, your content writers know who they're talking to and communicate with warmth, empathy and understanding, then our technology platforms become just a pathway to guide them to your door.