The old tried and true marketing strategies have come under fire in the new Millennium leaving the old hats scrambling to catch up with the new vogue. There are all these digital platforms and user behaviors to track plus we’re positively drowning in BIG DATA. But the most fundamental shift in marketing strategy—something we’re calling inbound marketing— not really that difficult to understand when you break it down to the simplest piece.
So the basic idea is this: People hate being marketed to.
Does that hurt your pride a bit? Don’t worry, we had to get over it too. The reality that most of us in sales and marketing understand is that no one (not even us) likes to be actively pitched, sold, or advertised to. It’s invasive and interrupts our normal thought patterns and activity. Millennials are especially hip to your slick sales tactics, always ignore unknown calls, and loathe cheesy marketing verbiage. We can see right through it.
So what’s a brand marketer to do?
Simple. You stop interrupting people with your obnoxious sales pitch like that D-bag in the elevator who has ten seconds to pitch you his award-winning widget. Instead, contribute something of value to a person’s life, integrate seamlessly with their preferred content consumption habits, and casually bump your product in front of them when the time is right. It’s a much more subtle form of marketing than the old days of catchy jingles and commercial-sponsored television. It allows your potential consumer to actually give you permission to market to them. And that’s the Trojan horse that will actually make the connection.
We call this Inbound marketing because the consumer is inviting you into their steady diet of consumable content and advertising. You are blending in to the feeds they’re already surfing and respectfully entering their email inbox after they’ve given you permission to do so by opting into your list. To the old mindset of marketing, it doesn’t make sense. But in the new world it’s the difference between campaign success or failure.
Remember that your audience is your lifeblood. They expect you to respect their media habits by integrating there and providing value they can trust, not interrupting and stomping all over their day.