The Inbound Marketing Land of Unicorns and Unbruised Egos

CSC_0010Oh, happy day! No more cold calling or evil outbound interruption marketing. No more rejection or wasteful direct mail.

All pre-revolution relics, that’s what they are!

In fact, the magical wonders of inbound marketing are so amazing that we can, nay we must, forget everything we’ve ever learned about marketing prior to 2008. It’s all obsolete now, like choosing the telegraph over Skype.

I’m being snarky. I get like that when great marketing strategies become sullied by unnecessary hype. It’s how I know I’m a marketing nerd, and I’m okay with it.

To be clear, my issue with the inbound marketing rhetoric is not over its validity. In fact, content is the foundation of my entire marketing philosophy. Content marketing and a strong inbound strategy are critical of you want to compete in the age of Google.

However, I take exception to the notion that anything outbound is somehow dirty and wrong…that the only way to attract customers moving forward is for them to find you first.

I wish it were so. I wish we could all just spend our days creating amazing content and rely 100% on customers actively searching for exactly what we offer. I wish we could rely 100% on referrals for the same reason. But relying on any one piece of the marketing puzzle means missing out on the potential rewards of the larger whole.

The argument that inbound makes outbound obsolete is too black and white. It divides marketing strategies into enemy camps, needlessly spilling blood in a fight for superiority rather than figuring out how each can help strengthen the other.

As content marketers, we shouldn’t try to sell inbound as the only answer to the great marketing question of “how do we stay competitive?” Such a myopic point of view sets us all up for failure by closing our eyes to opportunities, both new and old. Maybe the real revolution of inbound is its core principle of how creating great content vs. tired, hacky marketing messages can enhance nearly every type of marketing strategy. Offering great content can attract leads through organic search, true. And that’s a good thing. But it can also be used to make outbound strategies like direct mail and telephone prospecting much more effective.

Embrace the revolution for its real contribution to the art of lead generation marketing; the long overdue focus on the interests of the customer over our need to talk about ourselves. How that initial value is delivered is not the most important issue. How effectively and profitably it can be delivered is.

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