There’s an old adage about marketing: “We know half our marketing programs are working—we’re just not sure which half.”
Let’s face it; realistically as a marketer you’ve probably been frustrated for years over the use of traditional outbound marketing. I venture to guess if you’re like me, predominately because you could never fully measure the effectiveness of the tactic you were using. Am I right?
When it comes to spending your limited marketing dollars, there are two primary forms of marketing to consider today: inbound digital marketing and traditional outbound marketing. Although most businesses can benefit from a bit of both types of marketing, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of both forms, especially when you try to determine which strategies will yield the highest return for your investment.
Marketing Approach Is Important
At the most basic level, outbound marketing and inbound digital marketing differ from each other in the approach that they utilize.
Outbound marketing is a strategy in which a business advertises its products and services by providing information to the consumers even if they are not looking for those products or services. Outbound marketing is often referred to as “interruptive marketing.” Businesses do this via the use of television, print ads, direct mailers, radio, trade shows, and more. Unfortunately, such methods are not only interruptive and poorly timed, but they can be quite expensive and are difficult to track the actual ROI.
“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” -Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide at J. Walter Thompson
Inbound digital marketing is a strategy that focuses on putting the right structures in place to allow customers to find you and to attract and pull the customer to you. A number of different strategies are used to increase the likelihood of being found by prospective customers, such as creating relevant content, implementing search engine optimization strategies, and utilizing social media. The result of inbound digital marketing is that prospective customers are warmed toward your products or services once they find you because they have already expressed an interest in your type of business by performing some type of search.
According to a HubSpot report, inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing.
Get Out of Your Marketing Comfort Zone
What ultimately holds a marketing leader back from shifting their resources from traditional outbound tactics to inbound digital strategies? I typically hear budget, time and internal resources; however I know there is often an unspoken reason, “I’m comfortable with what I’m doing because I know how to do it and convey the results to my boss.”
I call this the emotional attachment, and unfortunately, it’s one that will in the near future catch up with every business that holds back in moving forward with digital marketing. As always, data talks. Take a look at this research:
According to the State of Inbound Report 2015, those cutting-edge businesses that are actively engaging in an inbound digital marketing program will say that paid advertising (e.g., print ads, TV, billboards) is a poor investment.
But guess who else thinks the same? The people paying for print, TV, and billboard ads. Approximately 32% of survey respondents whose companies identify as primarily outbound organizations called paid advertising the most overrated marketing tactic -- the number one answer by a wide margin.
And the winner is (drum roll please)…in my opinion, there is a time to use every tool in the tool box. The key is to know how to develop a customer-focused strategy using the right mix that will attract, engage, convert and nurture your leads to say YES!
If you’re struggling with the investment in inbound digital marketing, consider that the average cost for one outbound marketing lead is around $332 compared to the significantly lower $134 cost of an inbound lead. If budget isn’t the issue, then take a step back and uncover what is really holding you back from truly evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, as well as people and processes. If fear and lack of knowledge are holding you back from moving forward, then you’re doing yourself and your company a disservice because you both deserve more.