Social media has changed our lives in countless ways — for those of us in marketing and sales, the way we reach customers is completely different now. For example, rather than focusing on TV or radio ads, marketing teams might concentrate their efforts on social media and email campaigns. This critical distinction between advertising mediums makes inbound marketing much more effective than outbound marketing.
Traditional marketing, or outbound marketing, focuses on the hunt or acquisition of customers through avenues such as billboards and print or TV ads. Inversely, inbound marketing aims to draw people to your business by focusing on individual experiences tailored to consumers and increasing brand awareness. This is done through social media campaigns targeted at specific demographics. Inbound marketing is more interactive than outbound, meaning it creates a personal experience for the customer and helps keep them coming back to your business.
We’re already seeing the shift from outbound to inbound marketing. In a survey by HubSpot, 53% of marketers reported higher ROI with inbound marketing, compared to just 16% who said outbound marketing gave them higher ROI. With the ubiquitous nature of social media, inbound marketing makes sense. As social media continues to grow and evolve, marketers should be aware of these changes and utilize new marketing tactics to their advantage.
Communication, Communication, Communication!
Change is never easy, though it’s especially difficult when considering sales revenue or the bottom line. Implementing change can be even harder if we don’t have the data to back up the change. In many cases, this is the main challenge we face when considering switching from outbound to inbound marketing.
With inbound marketing, your reach will be wider and more unknown than traditional outbound marketing — when you switch from outbound to inbound, you go from a big business to a specialty business. The idea behind outbound marketing is to get as many eyes on a product as possible, whereas the inbound focuses on getting the right eyes on the product. That change can be scary for some businesses.
But there’s a huge difference between the two: With outbound marketing, we want to get consumers aware of our product and then hope a certain percentage of people buy that product. Generally, the percentage is low. With inbound marketing, however, we assume that consumers already know what they want — we just have to present it to them. So, once they see your product, you’re already halfway there. They’ve already decided they need that product, and that’s why you marketed it to them.
That’s part of the communication that must be present when talking with clients about allocating funds for inbound marketing. They need to be able to see the end results. Generally speaking, a CEO or a CFO won’t be too interested in what your ad campaign contains. They are interested in the bottom line — that’s why it’s critical to present data in those meetings. If you can point out that the ROI is much higher, you are much more likely to get the funds needed for inbound marketing.
Switching marketing plans can be scary. As the agency, you are the expert. When you go to a client meeting, they might not have any idea what you are talking about. Moreover, they’re not going to admit to not knowing.
What the client will understand are numbers. By giving clients raw data and showing them the effectiveness of inbound marketing, you can get in front of the right customer and reach them more quickly. We’re already seeing it, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Making the switch to inbound marketing is a win for you, your client and the consumer.
For more than 30 years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. For 26 of those years, he has owned and run an agency. Additionally, Drew leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small- to medium-sized advertising agencies on how to grow and build their profitability through agency owner peer networks, consulting, workshops and more.