Inbound Marketing Theory in Traditional Campaigns

Marketing has changed more in the last decade than in any time since the 1950s. The digital revolution has quickly modernized nearly every medium used to reach a target audience and the changes won’t stop any time soon.

One of the biggest changes is the concept of inbound marketing. Inbound or content marketing is different in a number of ways from traditional brand marketing or direct sales because it focuses on building a relationship with prospects and creating a path they can follow of their own accord to purchase services or products.

For those preparing to start a career in the marketing field or for those interested in moving up in their current position, this is the future of most digital campaigns, even for large companies that would otherwise throw money at channels with the largest audience like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.

What Inbound Changes in Marketing

Nothing about inbound or the tactics it entails is new to marketing. The same psychological pressures are present to drive action from a prospect and the same channels can be used, but the methodology is different, and it’s all because of what digital channels allows us to do.

In the past, it was either incredibly hard or incredibly expensive to reach a target audience where they were most likely to be. You could define a demographic and match the magazines they read or the TV shows they watched, but if you wanted to only show your ads to 28 year old women in Nebraska, it wasn’t quite so simple. So you had to broadcast as much as possible about your brand as loudly as possible to make an impact. People needed to remember that brand when they hit the grocery story or picked up the phone to call a plumber.

Today, people proactively get information on the Internet. In fact, nearly 57% of the sales process is complete by the time someone enters a funnel, almost entirely because of the Internet. People research products, determine what they need, and then start looking for the specific product that will fit their needs, based on the research they completed.

Inbound marketing does two things.

  1. It provides that information when someone is researching a problem they have.
  2. It builds trust with YOUR brand so that when they are finished researching, they will think of you first.

But instead of selling your product or service proactively, pushing them to choose you over XYZ Co., you build a relationship. This requires a keen understanding of the individual you will market your product to, but also the problems they have and the solutions they are seeking.

How Inbound Is Changing Marketing Online

There is still a place for traditional marketing strategies. Businesses still spend millions on Super Bowl ads, billboards, magazine placements, and radio spots. But they also create Facebook Pages, produce YouTube videos, and run company blogs loaded with useful articles about problems they KNOW their audience has.

They do research about their target audience, identify key demographics, and create solutions that will fit the specific needs of those individuals where they are most likely to need them.

And they do it with less investment upfront, and a greater payoff down the line. HubSpot reported in their 2012 State of Inbound Marketing that more than 70% of companies with a blog that is updated weekly make a sale through that blog. This is the kind of payoff you couldn’t see in the past strictly with content like a company newsletter.

Using Inbound Methods in the Future

The importance of this methodology cannot be overstated, even as it just starts to make its way into the curriculum of most major marketing programs. Because the Internet is near instant and because we can interact with our prospects through so many channels at so many points during their day, it’s possible to build a real relationship with someone.

As a marketing professional, it will increasingly become your job to recognize how to create these relationships for your employer and use them to leverage into buying intent. If you can do this with blog posts, videos, white papers, eBooks, emails, and the occasional tweet, your skills will become that much more relevant in a 21st century marketing landscape.

About the Author

Featured on websites in more than a dozen countries, Anthony Chatfield has consulted with business leaders, Fortune 500 companies, and entrepreneurs for much of the last decade.

Anthony currently lives in Staten Island, NY and produces marketing and content development training on numerous websites.

For more information, visit his Google+ Page.

Distinct or Extinct in a Digital Age of Marketing

Marketing will never die – it is how we promote, brand, and sell products and services to each other. Whether it’s a mom and pop store putting coupons in mailboxes or a multi-billion dollar software company sponsoring a new football stadium, there will be plenty of jobs for men and women who have the creative knack and drive to dream up these campaigns.

This fact makes the current state of marketing that much more interesting. Rapidly (and picking up speed every year), advertising firms, major companies, and small businesses alike are moving their marketing budgets into digital campaigns. Nearly half of all advertising budgets in 2012 and 2013 were devoted to digital ads. It’s no accident. The tools, reach, scope, and frequency of those campaigns is just plain better.

But what does it mean for someone pursuing a career in marketing? Whether you’re a few years down the line in your career path or are looking at a degree in business and marketing and have yet to embark, there are a lot of things to consider – from who you might want to work for to what you should learn before you work there.

What’s Unique About Digital Marketing?

The best thing about marketing as an industry is that while technology, tools and even some methods can be completely revolutionized by digital media, the concepts generally remain the same.

So we have new things to consider like:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Blogging
  • PPC Advertising
  • Digital Media Buys

But the messages that reach buyers and convert to future customers are very similar to the ones used in newspaper ads, magazines, and TV spots for decades (and still today). People are still driven by scarcity. They still look to their neighbors for social cues on what to buy. They like an honest, yet palatable option over a shiny, over-hyped one any day. The major difference is not technique, but saturation.

Online there are so many more people vying for the same attention and the platforms are more accessible, so millions more can attempt to get that attention. You need to stand out and that means being distinct.

How to Be Distinct As You Embark on Your New Career

There are a number of ways to stand out in a crowded job market. The best way, though, especially in an increasingly digital marketing industry, is to show your ability to generate distinct ideas. Ideas like this:

Chipotle Scarecrow

Chipotle’s recent marketing campaign was online only and tied together the above video with a mobile game app, social media campaign and more, almost none of it with any branding of any kind.

The idea was unique and stood out because it hit a chord with so many people in the industry (and those who eat the food). And it was solely digital. A commercial wouldn’t have had this impact. Chipotle did something distinct.

Here’s another digital campaign that transcended the platform on which it was devised:


American Express proposed to support small businesses, and believe it not this is only 3 years old. Despite it’s youth as a campaign, the last Small Business Saturday had more than 100 million participants with President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg in New York City both promoting it.

Their use of a digital platform to reach a wide audience went viral in a very short relative time period and they’ve started something new that will long be associated with their brand.

So what does this mean for someone who is just starting in the industry?

It means developing a cross-section of skills. Where marketers of yesteryear could be proficient in basic psychology, copywriting, and visual mediums, today’s marketers need to have a much more diverse skillset:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Video Creation
  • App Development
  • Web Analytics
  • SEO

The more of these things you understand, the more compelling you’ll be as a candidate. Of course, these things are constantly evolving – you can’t just get a degree in digital media (at least not a current one), and few certificates exist for this type of skillset.

That means private study. Spend time learning how digital marketing tools work, maintain accounts on 5-6 social sites, create a blog and learn how to use platforms like WordPress. Create a knowledge base so that when a recruiter asks you if you can use X, Y or Z, you say yes more often than you say no.

And of course, start building a portfolio of creative, distinct ideas that are not like what other people are doing. While results matter most when pursuing any career opportunity, the creativity that went into achieving those results matters almost as much, and it involves technical knowledge as much as it does creative chops.

About the Author

Featured on websites in more than a dozens countries, Anthony Chatfield has consulted with business leaders, Fortune 500 companies, and entrepreneurs for much of the last decade.

Anthony founded two companies in content development and marketing and currently provides private consulting services for the online-side of small and medium sized business’s marketing campaigns.

Anthony currently lives in Staten Island, NY and produces marketing and content development training on numerous websites.

For more information, visit his Google+ Page.