We all know just how transformational the inbound marketing revolution is!
Yes, but the thing is that, whilst inbound is an extraordinarily valuable new approach, it seems that the euphoria has stopped us thinking, or being as analytical as we should be, about the many other options that could be crucial to your communications mix..
Never more choices
I don`t want to go over all the strengths of inbound and the ` watering hole` analogy of Brian Halligan (Hubspot) . They undoubtedly are key in helping you deliver prospects very cost effectively and in helping you to develop valuable customer relationships ( that`s putting it simplistically).
But should we really be comfortable `dishing` the proven performance of `outbound` which comprises a wide range of options from email to exhibitions, telephone selling to print advertising and direct mail and the many forms of PR?
The whole mix
It seems somehow surprising that email is actually outbound, that content is not actually new, but has been in print form i.e. technical manuals, for a long time and amazing creative opportunities abounded in magazines, specialist press and video long before web pages, Pinterest and YouTube got us excited.
And, the PPA (Periodical Publishers Association) have been working hard to point out that many people, and in some cases the majority, still prefer to consume their content in printed form depending on the time of day and their location (18,000 readers were surveyed to prove reader relevance, engagement, recall and influence).It`s obvious that the `channels` available now offer so many great combinations – but we need to review / score them against our communication criteria in an open-minded and, maybe insightful, way.
Getting your planning brain in gear
Lets start with creating needs/wants/leads for new or even neglected products; outbound has a proven record in doing this and is SEO any good if you don`t know a product or service exists? And, if you are looking at developing your brand personality then the creative opportunities that abound in print can be very valuable.
When extending this to a more detailed appreciation of brand values, then being able to consume content in a relaxing or home environment ( even for professional groups like architects or healthcare professionals ) is often preferred in print. And, as for email, well it`s still the most successful route to building a relationship with your customers and prospects.
Also, print direct mail is still being used very successfully by British Airways for example, to target specific groups for the strengths it has to offer for impact and retention (when compared to using the dark art of SEO to get onto page 1 of the listings).
And, it`s worth making the point that with outbound you can have more effective targeting and so far more control over the quality of the response you are getting – something that you have little influence over with inbound!
What have Amazon discovered?
You can also consider my perspective in the context of Amazon who are now going to invest in a bricks and mortar presence. What this says to me is that the euphoria of the digital revolution is now becoming a more reasoned approach where the strengths of established`routes` to market are being combined with the benefits of online approaches including e-commerce – wow!!!
So lets keep our eyes open and our professional brains in gear, shall we?
Dudley Masters, Account Director, Acumen Marketing Communications, Kent