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Apr

04

2016

A Marketing Revolution: Understanding How The Rules Have Changed

Inbound Marketing

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Did you know that, according to Bent but not Broken, an official resource from the NFL’s Football Operations department, there used to be a rule that a quarterback couldn’t throw a pass unless he was at least five yards behind the line of scrimmage? Did you also know that player substitutions used to be prohibited? What about the old rule that players from both teams could grab their opponents’ facemasks at will? All of these rules have changed, obviously, but it’s interesting to imagine what the game would be like today if the rules never changed.

Similarly, when you think about how quickly we have changed and displaced the traditional sales and marketing model, it’s truly mind-boggling. Just think about some of the marketing tools we use today that we didn’t have ten plus years ago: Smartphones, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Craigslist, AngiesList, Yelp, etc.

It’s a marketing revolution. It’s also changed the way we behave in the buying process. Think about how you purchase products and services today. If you don’t get a recommendation from a friend or colleague, where is the first place you go? Google, right? Your prospects aren’t any different.

Attracting New Customers In Today’s Digital World

Everything is on the Internet. Everything. When you are researching a purchase, what types of companies are you the most attracted to as you review those sites? It’s probably the ones with content that is focused on you and your pains, clearly communicating and demonstrating how their product or service will take your pain away. The companies who provide this information are building trust with us as we conduct our research.

Are you an expert at what you do? Yes, of course you are. So why not take some time to organize your thoughts and communicate them through all of the new marketing tools that you have at your disposal? Too time consuming? Possibly. But if your goal is to grow leads and increase sales opportunities without breaking the bank, this seems like a sound business strategy. Any company, large or small, can run a content-based campaign to drive leads for their business utilizing tactics that are either free or very cheap. The key is to focus you content on helping your prospects not selling to them.

Why The Rules Changed So Quickly

We can probably agree that the rules and tools of marketing and sales have changed. But how and why have they changed so quickly? Pre-Internet, there were much fewer tools we had as marketers to deliver our messages to our target audiences. Most businesses at the time were comfortable spending money on TV and radio spots, billboards, and print ads. They worked… for a while.

Then came this cool new tool called the Internet, which opened a world of marketing tools and possibilities to the marketer. Once buyers began to understand the power of search engines, along with the influence of social media, their attitude toward traditional advertising changed. They began to embrace SEO, websites and email marketing while ignoring cold calls, direct mail and TV commercials. They also got smarter and discovered ways to block these intrusive methods (i.e. Do Not Call Lists, Spam Filters, DVR or TiVo).

The Rise of Inbound Marketing

Mass media techniques are now considered interruptive, providing a lower return on marketing investment (ROMI) and requiring an ever-increasing ad budget to maintain effectiveness. By comparison, inbound marketing requires a lower budget, is permission-based (vs. interruptive), and offers a much higher ROMI. Getting five new clients from a $5,000 billboard is nice, but getting five new clients from a targeted pay-per-click campaign for a $50 investment is even nicer.

Stand in your buyers’ shoes and think about how they would prefer to shop. In most industries, prospects are not only seeking but also demanding information from companies to help them make purchase decisions. There’s only one question remaining: Are you going to give them what they want?

Like football, the rules have changed for marketing. By pursuing inbound methods instead of traditional ones, you’ll be able to adapt to these changes and grow your revenue.

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