A few days ago, I visited a favorite golf website for an update on the latest PGA stats. Before I could view the homepage, I was forced to close a pop-up offering to subscribe to the publication. We have all been exposed to, or as marketers unfortunately created, what is becoming known as “intrusive marketing.”
As a consumer, I could not help but feel put-off in my search to learn if Johnson or Woods had taken the Chevron Championship. As a marketer, I have observed a plethora of these marketing tactics widely used that are increasingly putting consumers off. These intrusive tactics are rapidly losing impact and return on investment.
For some reason we marketers feel that we can seek out new customers with broad messages and outbound tactics via tv, print, radio, banner ads or even cold calling. Consumers are incessantly bombarded with flashing banner ads, increased volume on commercial breaks and un-targeted mass emails (just to name a few.)
Our customers are beginning to demand what I call “new marketing,” which relies on earning people’s interest through interaction that is meaningful, two-way or multi-way via a community or forum. Customers are finding our companies through search, referrals, and social media. These mediums offer marketers countless new opportunities to engage with a new audience. There are limitless outlets for us to educate, entertain, help, listen, and engage. Selling becomes almost an afterthought, something that will happen naturally. It culminates as a result of treating customers in such a way that we understand their needs for information.
New Marketing is Inbound
Inbound marketing focuses on getting found by customers, mostly through social media participation, because they are interested in the content provided. Meaningful content is key. Wait…hasn’t that always been the case?
Content can come in many ways, today’s consumers are demanding short, crisp, entertaining forms such as vblogs, podcasts, ebooks or tweets. One of the great advantages of delivering great content through social media is that it gets shared. This again is a sign that it is appreciated because if nobody likes it, it doesn’t get shared. Simple, right?
And finally, inbound marketing can be less expensive than traditional outbound marketing as the tactics deployed cost less and produce far less waste. Not to mention the aspect of sharing in social channels which is probably the most valuable part of your marketing strategy and it is free.
The big difference in these two scenarios is in who is in control of the action. In the old outbound marketing scenario the marketer is in control, in the new inbound marketing scenario people are in control. As marketers we need to embrace and participate in the conversation and the action.
The era of spamming customers with intrusive tactics is coming to an end. New marketing is inbound, focused providing real value to customers and earning their loyalty so that they will buy from you because they want to. Perhaps I will even get access to the PGA results without having to bypass a flashing solicitation saying “Subscribe now and get a free box of orange balls!”