Marketing has undergone a dramatic series of changes over the past 10-15 years. Many of the most successful old-school marketing techniques have simply become obsolete, bleeding customers so dramatically that savvy businesses completely eschew “traditional” marketing. Businesses today are left fumbling around for successful strategies, but an understanding of how marketing and shopping itself has changed can help you find the right path to success for your business.
Outbound Marketing – the Old
If you’d gone to college for marketing 10 or 15 years ago, you would have learned all about the “tried and true” marketing techniques:[list style=”arrow”]
- Trade shows
- Email blasting
Businesses used to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these marketing strategies, and they were the only way to spread the word to consumers or other business clients. These strategies lasted for more than 50 years, but they required a ton of money and were inefficient at interrupting their way into businesses and consumers’ wallets. By the mid-2000s, customers were getting better and better at ignoring these marketing tactics. Today, more and more marketers understand the intrusive and inefficient nature of these “interruption-based” marketing techniques – and eschew them for the new order: inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing – the New
Today, savvy businesses harness the power of inbound marketing. In a climate where outbound marketing has just become so much “noise” to consumers, inbound marketing provides a way to directly reach out to people who are looking for your product or services – at the very moment when they’re looking for you! Inbound marketing is based on a series of techniques to pull people in from Google, other blogs and social media sites, where more people are going these days to find information, ask for recommendations, and shop.
Gone are the days of direct mail, TV, radio, print advertising and email blasts. The average open rate for an email blast went down from 39 percent in 2004 to 22 percent in 2008, and today’s rates are simply abysmal.
Ten Years Ago vs. Today[list style=”arrow”]
- 10 years ago, direct mail campaigns were effective. Today, mailboxes are full of junk mail mixed with bills, so people have stopped paying attention.
- 10 years ago, spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a TV ad gave companies a way to reach a large audience. Today, people use TiVO/DVR/online viewing to skip advertisements, or don’t watch TV at all anymore.
- 10 years ago, people listened to radios in cars, homes and the workplace, and radio ads were a good investment. Today, XM/Sirius radio and online music streaming services have dramatically reduced advertising’s reach.
- 10 years ago, a trade show gave companies a surefire way to reach a business audience. Today, a large number of trade shows have completely gone out of business, and shows that still exist have seen a huge decline in attendees as businesses opt not to spend money on flights, hotel costs, etc.[/list]
It’s clear that people shop and learn in a whole new way today compared to just a few years ago. Now is the time for businesses and marketers to adapt new strategies – primarily learning how to utilize the Internet to drive business and attract customers. People today primarily shop and gather information in three main areas:[list style=”arrow”]
- Search engines, such as Google
- The blogosphere
- Social media sites[/list]
Your task as a business owner is to help people find you in these areas – through the effective use of inbound marketing. You have to learn how to match the way you market your products with the way that your prospects learn about and shop for your products. Inbound marketing is the key, and we’re going to show you how to harness this valuable tool.