System improvements in any field should deliver better results while utilizing fewer resources more effectively. Marketing systems are no different. Traditionally, growing market share focused on reaching out to the customer base through, for example, advertising, running direct mail campaigns, delivering presentations, and performing at trade shows. That is still the core of growing a company’s footprint in the B2B sector. 2008 saw the beginnings of an alternative. Rick Burns described the shift in his initial report on inbound marketing. At the time he almost expected to see traditional ‘Outbound Marketing’ being replaced by ‘Inbound Marketing’. What has actually happened is a merging of both into a blending of traditional media buying with an effective inbound marketing methodology. This has resulted in a more effective customer engagement model.
Effective outbound marketing segments the marketplace into both lines of business and functional responsibilities. Advertisements, placed in traditional media publications, plus direct mail and email campaigns are aimed at manufacturing companies, for example, to attract the attention of decision-makers in that line of business. They are also directed at, say, supply line directors, regardless of the line of business. Individuals see the ad or read the mail piece, they respond by agreeing to a meeting, receiving the advertised report, attending a seminar or visiting a trade show. The relationship begins, the account manager nurtures it and the sales cycle begins.
In her recent report Make Your B2B Marketing Thrive in the Age of the Customer, Forrester’s Laura Ramos emphasizes that customer intelligence must be at the core of everything a vendor does to win business and increase its marketplace footprint. She states that digital marketing creates truly meaningful vendor-prospect interactions. It provides meaningful content, easily, and in well-directed ways, so the recipients can choose to become more closely involved – easily, quickly and safely. They read the report, listen to the webinar or view the video demonstration. What used to be delivered in a hotel conference hall or a trade show booth is now available in the prospect’s office at a time to suit the prospect. The prospect can then choose to become a contributing member of a meaningful LinkedIn discussion group or blog series. The prospect, those just like her, and the account management team can all interact with ideas, suggestions, and comment. Using social media in this way enables the vendor to identify, monitor, encourage, explore, and moderate everyone’s engagement. The prospect’s relationship with the vendor is nurtured more closely, more appropriately, and more securely.
Technology also enables new tools to be applied to the attraction and engagement process, something that did not exist when only media-based ads and direct mail were used in marketing. Keyword analysis means that search engine opportunities can be identified to further refine the outbound content, so it becomes more and more effective at attracting the intended audience. The plant manager who sees the ad and downloads the white paper is now also going to search for additional content via Google, or another search engine. The vendor’s content is optimized for search engine ranking, and so more of the vendor’s content pops up on the plant manager’s screen. That results in more of the vendor’s content being seen, studied, thought about, and so more individuals join ‘the plant manager discussion group’. The net result is that outbound and inbound marketing methods enhance and reinforce each other.
Blending both marketing methodologies, if done well, will reduce costs, increase effective contact, and maximize sales. MediaWorks specializes in ensuring that all marketing is effective.
For more information on blending traditional media buying with inbound methodology contact us at (480) 902-3392.