The Ever Evolving Phenomenon of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing strategies have proved immensely successful. The first search engines didn’t launch until the 90s with ‘Archie’ (1990), followed rapidly by a host of others, including Yahoo (1994), Google (1995), Ask (1997) and MSN (1998). It was soon after that Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot, coined the phrase “inbound marketing” in 1999.
Inbound marketing has been around for lesser than two decades. In this time it has grown rapidly, and is now considered an important tool to have in any marketer’s repertoire.
Today, 73% of marketers report inbound strategies are their primary approach, while 4x as many inbound marketers rate their strategies as “highly effective” compared to outbound tactics. Meanwhile, B2B marketers now commit almost 30% of their budgets on average to content marketing alone.
Extinction or Mutation?
When one’s physical environment changes suddenly, their instincts kick in. These instincts eventually evolve into habbit forming actions, leading to evolution both mental and physical. To survive the change, a species must adapt quickly or experience extinction.
Increasing consumer skepticism regarding traditional, outbound strategies – like TV ads and telemarketing in the 90s – hit the marketing world like that asteroid from deep space, and inbound marketing was the successful adaptation, a marketing mutation producing a new evolutionary approach, one which quickly learned how to rebuild consumer trust and get the sales engine back on track.
Said differently, the dinosaurs are gone, and those wily little rodents which once scurried away from their plodding reptilian feet now rule the planet.
The Ever Changing Environment
The shifting landscape of consumer sentiment continues unabated, forcing inbound marketers to continually adapt with new strategies which effectively respond to those changes. So what can you do gain a firmer foothold in this vortex of marketing?
Use Interactive Content As A Means of Increasing Consumer Engagement
According to Content Marketing Institute, 53% of marketers now use interactive content – including polls, calculators, webinars and interactive infographics. This kind of rich content educates consumers, is engaging, and can help build consumer trust.
Incorporating Buyer Personas
Hubspot defines a buyer persona as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” Increasingly, marketers appreciate the value of buyer personas to effectively segment their target audience and deliver content, which is both relevant and persuasive.
Google’s announcement of mobile first indexing last year has created a greater sense of urgency to make every aspect of inbound marketing mobile friendly. Marketers know mobile commerce is now more than 20% of total global commerce, and are giving greater weight to things like responsive email templates and mobile-friendly e-commerce sites.
The Import of Social Media
Marketers have leveraged the enormous audience social media provides for some time – for example, it was reported almost 2 years ago that 64% of marketers were using social media for 6 or more hours every week. In 2017, the push for social media relevance has increased exponentially. Many businesses who don’t have a solid social media strategy are now looking to create one; those who do have a strategy are constantly re-assessing to remain competitive.
Embracing Email Marketing
Email marketing has been around for quite a while, and many marketers have associated it with traditional outbound practices. Email marketing remains among the most reliable and lucrative channels for inbound marketers. Those kinds of results have lead an increasing number of marketers more fully embracing email marketing.
Essentially, marketing has never been a static enterprise. And inbound marketing is no different it changes constantly every year. And adapts to new market conditions and shifting consumer concerns.