Marketing is an art. Just like with any other type of art, it takes innovation to succeed. That’s why the same old “outbound” marketing tactics — interrupting your customers’ daily routines to get your message across — are no longer producing the same results.
To be able to advance in the present consumer world, companies must be willing to take a risk and ditch the color-by-number marketing plans.
Today’s consumers see through mass media marketing and demand to be treated as individuals — to be reached differently and genuinely. With the extinction of the idea of selling to the masses, a new type of marketing has emerged, one that recognizes it’s just as much about how you sell as what you sell.
Inbound marketing focuses on people. It’s not about selling more of your product; it’s about changing lives through compelling content. And there is no shortcut with this method. Inbound marketing takes the time to build relationships and personal messaging to reach the people who actually care and want to get it.
People will commit to brands that recognize prospects as individuals with a unique point of view and that offer informational messaging and want customers to be happy and successful.
Hubspot’s Inbound conference is a hub for the leaders of the inbound marketing movement. The 2013 conference drew 150 speakers and 5,300 eager minds from 35 countries. The overarching theme from the event? Create a culture of caring for your customers, regardless of what industry you’re in or what kinds of products you’re selling. Tell people’s stories and humanize your brand.
Here are 5 of our favorite marketing secrets from Inbound 2013:
1. Be generous. Be an artist. Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog) explained in his keynote that marketers can no longer buy their voice or attention. Humans want to connect, and as marketers, we have to connect with our customers by doing everything we can to bring them creative, artistic content. It’s the connecting that matters in today’s world. Provide them with venfor-neutral content that can help them make more informed decisions during the buying process.
2. Be an information hub. It’s a marketer’s job to help people find information they’re already looking for. Anand Rajaram (@anandrajaram) talked about the importance of connecting with potential and current customers on social media to solve their problems, and give them honest answers to their questions.
3. Inbound marketing is not the complete answer. Humans have changed, but marketers have seemed to be frozen in time. Outdated methods that annoy people will get you into a hole and can create negative ROI because it makes people never want to purchase from you. Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh) emphasized the importance of humanizing marketing; instead of interrupting, work on attracting people to your brand. Our goal in inbound marketing is to solve for human happiness and success.
4. Focus on creating brand advocates. Your most valuable customers are not the ones who buy most; they’re the ones who advocate for your brand. Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) explained that 57% of the buying process for B2Bs has already occurred before a customer has contacted sales. The more advocates that you have for your brand, the fewer ads you need to buy and the more human connections you’ll make with customers.
5. Master the art of mindful communication. For customers today, being heard is everything. Businesses need to connect with people in a genuine way, and Susan Piver (@spiver) talked about the importance of “agendalessness”, giving yourself fully to your customers by listening, and knowing when to speak and when to not. Marketers today must place attention on maximizing the customer’s position and allowing them to feel heard.
By: Dana Jaffe