Inbound Marketing – push versus pull

I am a little behind writing about things. But Hubspot who has built itself a good reputation for inbound marketing over the last while, has done a webinar about “Measuring Inbound Marketing 101“.

Coming from a telemarketing background and being a strong believer that outbound marketing works, I am not denying that inbound marketing might be more effective. The “push versus pull” approach. I agree that email marketing, Radio and TV adverts are not working as well anymore. Direct Mail I believe is still a viable outbound marketing tool as it lands directly on your desk and is used less often by companies these days. So it might be on its way back?!

What is inbound marketing? Using “pull marketing techniques” such as

a) Social media: twitter, Facebook, Linkedin
b) Search Marketing (SEO/PPC): being found rather than finding the client
c) Bringing content to people, e.g. blogs, PR, videos or podcasts

Those information need to be found, using the right “tags” by the people that are potential clients for your services. E.g. instead of you phoning 100 people a day and hoping that 10% are interested in your service, you wait until they come to you. But does that work?

Yes and No. From my opinion if you are operating in a niche, it is much easier for people to find you as you are very special in what you do. However, if you are not in a niche, e.g. you are a mortgage provider, you might want to use “push marketing” because you need to create the brand awareness and get in people’s faces. Unless you have a USP (unique selling point) that is working well and makes you stand out from the crowd and attracts (pulls) prospects in.

So, bottom line would be: create a product or serve people’s needs. Position it in above and against your competitors and wait for prospects to find you.

Now, in the webinar from Hubspot, they are speaking about how to measure it. I think that is really the tricky bit. Having a great brand or product you might generate “followers” on twitter or Facebook and you could get request, but how do you measure the direct impact?

Of course you could look at the acquisition costs or the costs per action, e.g. how many leads are coming through the door due to your marketing efforts. Question is: what if no one comes through the door? What if your target audience not looking “online”. I guess the overall concept of your marketing strategy, as always, depends a lot on your demographics too.

The latter can be measured – one from your research and also through analytics. Because if you use analytics correctly you find out how long people spend on your side, which pages they visit and what time of the day the traffic is generated. Where is their exit point?

Behavioural targeting can play a role here, as you might want to target a certain demographic and target audience based on their online behaviour? But that is a topic for another time.

So yes, you can measure the reach but you cannot measure the impact, or can you? Maybe you can. Because Search Marketing is measurable and your referrals from social media is too. And, if one of those are not working in your favour, you need to step up the game in that channel.

To sum up – when and how does inbound marketing work?

1. know your prospect/client base
2. if they are online users (and most are nowadays), find the channels they use
3. use those channels to establish your profile
4. make yourself and your proposition “search-able” in the chosen channels
5. make yourself aware to your target audience with the right “keywords”/sales proposition
6. measure the impact
7. close the deal

Thanks for this lesson. If you want to find out more about which digital or online marketing channel works for you, visit cb consulting.