Inbound marketing is the purist acoustic guitar movement to the ‘play it loud’ electric guitar riffs of traditional ‘outbound’ methods. The difference between the two isn’t the use of an amplifier to perform, it’s the total reliance on that amplifier to be heard at all.
Have you ever strummed an unplugged electric guitar? It just plinks. String bending? Silence. Tapping the frets? Now you just look silly.
In the hands of Hendrix himself, the unplugged electric is inaudible over even amateur plucking of a tourist-grade ukulele.
Traditional ‘play it loud’ marketing just can’t work without buying the amp and paying to keep it powered up. Unlike inbound, traditional marketing approaches require advertising.
But what of our acoustic inbound?
John Denver certainly didn’t need an amplifier for his Gibson guitar to be heard, but amplifiers served an important purpose in his art. Amplifying the acoustic allowed him to share his message further, and further in fields, at stadiums and through broadcast. Amplifiers allowed him to more quickly grow the audience his content was good enough to earn.
Once you’re playing an inbound melody so epic your current audience leans in, borrow an amplifier to bring more and more to your stage. Become that marketing folk hero that subverts digital advertising’s ability to interrupt our lives in order to bring value and utility to those you’ve dedicated yourself and your brand to serving.
Hyper targeted digital advertising allows you to amplify your work for only the intended audience at the best time. This keeps you from relying on interrupting the masses for the hope of a few, which shows a little more respect for both your recipients and your budget.
Have a great piece of evergreen content for new moms in New York who enjoy healthy living in a home with an income of $80K+? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s sponsored content each allow you to use their feeds to introduce yourself to nearly any mix by mixing big data sources and platform-specific information like profile updates and other content engagement.
Have a great ‘you ask, we answer’ style blog post that addresses a common question? While you’re waiting for organic Google ranking love, consider a spectacularly specific search advertising campaign to bring your content to those asking the question you’ve solved.
Have you designed the perfect home improvement planner for picking the right flooring planks for any given home and budget? Combine display advertising with in-market behavioral abilities and site content targeting to share your ‘Youtility’ to those currently looking for flooring, while they’re browsing for home improvement research and inspiration.
It’s too easy to lean on advertising as a crutch – to use the loudness as a replacement for expert execution. This habit is why we feel most ‘outbound’ marketing are as wasteful as most amateur electric guitar solos are migraine inducing.
[tweetthis]#InboundMarketing trains better habits & holds practitioners to a higher bar.[/tweetthis]
As a methodology, inbound marketing trains better habits and holds practitioners to a higher bar. We have to be good enough for the audience to come close, lean in, and bring their friends and peers along with them.
That doesn’t mean we can’t make use of advertising to amplify our reach and results from proven campaigns.
Like your marketing content, the success of your paid amplification hinges on expert execution. Too broad a target, too large a spend, or the wrong channel pick can turn your anthem into a feedback screech.