The difference between Inbound & Outbound Marketing
for tech companies
Before I address the optimal marketing approach for tech companies, allow me to disclose that for the majority of my career, I have been an ad agency Art Director. Meaning, Inbound Marketing didn’t even exist when I started in this business, although black hair on my head did. I obsess over good advertising because of its unrivaled potential to be smart and effective, ultimately engaging the audience and harvesting brand loyalty (exhibit A: Think Different campaign - Apple Computers).
If Outbound Marketing is this grand panacea, why do we need Inbound Marketing?
In 2007, when he was helping establish a category for "Inbound Marketing," David Meerman Scott said, "I saw that the traditional ways of marketing and reaching the media were increasingly less effective and I offered a roadmap for reaching people in more effective ways through online content." David’s crystal ball served him mighty well, so let’s deconstruct how:
When thinking about using Outbound Marketing for your tech firm, according to HubSpot, remember that:
• 86% of people skip commercials on television
• 91% delete email newsletters.
• 44% of mass emails aren’t opened.
When using Inbound Marketing to grow your tech firm:
• Inbound generates 54% more sales opportunities than Outbound.
• Inbound Prospects cost 61% less than Outbound.
• 50% of companies who use HubSpot increase their sales conversion.
Three’s a charm: The best marketing strategies for technology products.
1. Maximize resources.
Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency, say it with me. See, when Tech firms bootstrap their growth, cash becomes as available as a cure for the common cold. You know you need to create awareness, gain consideration, and galvanize prospective clients to fall head-over-heels with your product. Traditional outbound measures will eat your entire budget with just a single ad in the Wall Street Journal. Instead, create a high-value, knowledge-based offer (such as a well-thought-out eBook), and build a campaign around it with compelling social media ads, landing pages, and email nurturing campaigns. HubSpot noted that "inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 61% lower cost per lead than organizations that predominately leverage outbound marketing.”
2. Sell to your specific audience
Inbound marketing allows you to sell to specific audiences by using "Buyer Personas." By targeting individuals, you have the opportunity to craft a message that resonates with that audience on a personal level. For example, a tech company will ideate a message for an accounting audience, informing how the company’s solution addresses their specific pain point, as compared to their education audience, which has a whole other set of pain points; and yes, even beyond low salaries! By honing your message to its intended audience, your marketing simultaneously becomes more genuine, and effective.
3. Give your audience a reason to shift their Buyer's Journey in your direction
When I stress “don’t be late,” it has nothing to do with a luncheon. See, the vast majority of potential customers have already made up their minds by the time they visit your website. Noting research conducted by CEB, what marketers discovered was that B2B buyers are more than halfway (an astounding 60%, in fact) down the buyer’s journey before they would even consider your product or service. It is thus imperative, particularly in that sprawling ocean known as the internet, that marketers learn to provide SPECIFIC information that buyers may not have.
So why then even consider outbound marketing?
Inbound marketing seems like a slam dunk, and I get it. You should be wary though, of a pacing issue of sorts within Inbound campaigns. Sometimes, relying solely on organic growth doesn't produce the desired results quickly enough to create demand. One strategy is to boost the social media ads with paid ads, particularly in a B2B situation where you can target your buyer persona profiles to increase awareness and demand. Then, taper off the paid advertising with the increased traction your campaign has garnered.
Inbound marketing can be confused with Digital marketing, which is essentially "hit ‘em over the head with a large number of online messages." Think of Inbound marketing as permission-based marketing. You are providing information when and where it’s wanted.
I am ecstatic for the future. It holds tremendous promise, as the creativity of exceptional outbound campaigns will beautifully complement the accountability of inbound ones.
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