Why Inbound Marketing Has Become the Most Effective Form of Marketing Today

You might have noticed that, in the last few years, marketing has undergone a significant shift  towards new strategies. There are multiple reasons behind this shift. The most significant is the fact that “traditional” forms of marketing no longer seem to be engaging clients in the way that marketing should. Why is this happening? Why are all the “fancy” ads we see everyday no longer attracting our attention and pockets like they used to? Back in the 70’s the average person was exposed to approximately 500-1600 ads per day. However, the increase in products to promote, as well as the sheer ubiquity of digital media and advertisement nowadays, have caused this figure to climb up to 6,000-10,000 ads per day. That’s a lot of ads to look at, let alone pay attention to. Although the digital world provides us with an ever-increasing deluge of content and stimuli, our capacity for attention is a scarce resource that limits the amount of content that we can process in our day-to-day lives. In other words, there is so much advertising that customers are no longer capable of, or even willing to, pay attention: more than 235 million people are on the Do Not Call Registry in the US, and it is estimated that 29% of all TV commercials are not seen by anyone. More so, newer generations of ‘digital natives’ are less prone to engage with traditional forms of advertisement and have developed cognitive strategies to effectively filter most of these out. Some advertisement strategists have responded to this new situation by finding new ways to force ads on people. However, others have taken a completely different path, grabbing the bull by the horns, assuming these new conditions and exploring new forms of marketing and novel strategies for a renewed consumer engagement. This new marketing strategy has a name: Inbound marketing.

What is outbound and inbound marketing?

Introduced as a concept in 2005, Inbound marketing defines itself in contrast to “traditional” outbound marketing. Outbound marketing mainly revolves around the traditional above the line forms of media, such as radio, TV, newspapers, direct mail and billboards, but it can also be found in digital spaces in the form of banner ads and spam. What characterises outbound marketing in the form of messaging: loud, aggressive, jargon-filled, and interruption-based advertisements, which do their best to stand out and compete for consumers’ dwindling attention. In short, they are the ‘annoying kinds ’of advertisements.  Inbound marketing, on the other hand, assumes a very different strategy and overall ethos. Broadly speaking, inbound marketing tries to earn peoples’ attention rather than forcing itself onto the audience, and it also tries to draw in potential customers organically through quality content, brand identity, and community building, rather than through strident salesmanship and nagging product peddling. Although there are many differences between these two forms of marketing, we will briefly go through some of the main ones: audience engagement, type of messaging, and data gathering. 

Examples of inbound marketing: Permission vs interruption

As it was mentioned above, outbound marketing is interruption-based. What does this mean? Even though it is an increasingly outdated form of marketing, there are still many examples of interruption-based advertisements in our daily lives: Intrusive ads in between TV programs, Youtube and Spotify slipping ads in between videos and music, or mobile phone games offering small in-game perks to you in exchange for watching an ad or two. The premise behind these is to hope that good enough demographic studies can provide the leverage to convert a handful of the audience into consumers and thus justifying the investment.Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is permission-based. This means that the audience establishes a relationship with content that they voluntarily engage with and actively seek for (this is where the term ‘inbound’ comes from), which can take place through subscription-based email, blogs, social media and the like. Furthermore, these messages do not have to necessarily come in traditional advertising formats.  Well-designed content can create its own audience if it answers questions and addresses topics that people are interested in. In this case, digital marketing strategies such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and keyword strategy are absolutely crucial so that the content can reach potential customers at the right time. Permission-based examples of inbound marketing have much better conversion rates than its interruption-based counterpart, largely due to the fact that it manages to reach and engage people who are already interested, and thus already predisposed to becoming clients. In short, inbound marketing has the numbers to back up its claim that asking for permission is better than interrupting. 

Inbound marketing strategies for more meaningful content

In addition to the novel methods for engagement that inbound marketing strategies adopt, it also promotes a kind of content and messaging completely different from that which we are accustomed to from traditional outbound marketing. With outbound marketing, the messaging is strident and the content is catchy (and even misleading in the worst cases) because the main purpose is to catch the viewers’ attention with few resources, such as a handful of seconds on TV or the space of a small banner. “Buy this!” “Subscribe to that! 50% discount if you buy in the next 60 seconds”! We all know how it works. However, as we said above, by now most people have become wary of the shallowness and invasiveness that can often result from this kind of marketing. Inbound marketing techniques prefer to go for useful and educational resources, or simply entertaining quality content, which does not necessarily revolve around the immediate selling of a specific product or service. The point is to cause a positive impact on the audience so that they start to consider your business or service in a different light. Perhaps the conversion process can take more time, but it is much more fruitful for everyone involved!  

In Digital inbound marketing, data is king

When it comes to data gathering, inbound marketing is also miles ahead of the game. With outbound marketing, success or ROI is hard to measure with a high margin of error. This is sometimes because a lot of outbound marketing uses traditional marketing channels where data gathering is intrinsically hard. This can also be the case with the sort of outbound marketing that takes place in digital mediums. Digital Inbound marketing, on the other hand, takes full advantage of the increased capacity that digital technologies have for quantifying and measuring the interactions that the audience has with your advertisements. Why is this so important? The answer is that better data gathering, paired with the new algorithmic tools available, allow for a fine-grained and in-depth analysis of customer preferences and behavioral patterns. It is then possible to use this information as an input to further improve the marketing strategy itself. 

Inbound marketing, a paradigm shift

In summary, the turn towards inbound marketing in Australia and the rest of the world is nothing short of a paradigm shift. Besides being statistically more effective in terms of conversion rates, inbound marketing also focuses on building long-lasting relationships with clients and establishing a positive brand image. Here at Wombat we can help you implement these strategies and make your business thrive. Take a look at our range of services or get in touch with us so we can make it happen. 


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