Are Your Marketing Tactics Getting Prospects Pissed Off?

Outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing

I spent last week at a digital marketing conference in Boston, called INBOUND.

This conference is sponsored by Hubspot, a company that advocates a process that enables more lovable marketing, and smarter decisions.

Today I want to ask a question:

With the rock solid tools at our disposal … and a good understanding of how buyers make decisions … why do we still resort to cold calls and other ill-fated sales techniques?

Marketing Evolves:  Outbound, Meet Inbound

The basic idea of inbound marketing is this:

Today’s customer is simply not willing to be interrupted with traditional advertising messages.   He or she now has the power to search online, engage in social media, consult friends and colleagues for referrals, and decide which resources are trustworthy.

In this context, what works is providing information that educates and informs … called content marketing by some, inbound marketing by others.

No matter what you call it, that’s how just about every considered purchase starts.

The Role of  Today’s Marketer

We marketer’s have a new tool kit.  We can

      • inform,
      • educate,
      • entertain,
      • engage,
      • be likable,
      • be transparent,
      • be accessible,
      • set goals,
      • tweak and improve activities based on data,
      • generate measurable ROI.

What does that mean specifically?

  • Buyers start their buying process by seeking the information they need to make a buying decision … so provide lots of helpful information
  • Buyers advance their buying process by comparing solutions … so let’s present an objective, honest comparison of solutions to their problems
  • Buyers shift their loyalties and preferences as brands engage … so let’s differentiate our brands by creating social relationships and gaining trust
  • Buyers signal when they are ready to be contacted … so listen and watch for their signals, and respect them by not spamming
  • “Measure it or it didn’t happen”… we now have technology that helps us KNOW the ROI of every marketing activity.  Shame on us if we are not using  the right data and metrics.

Spam, Cold Calls, and Other Outbound Tactics:  The Dangers of Negative ROI

Marketers who still spend money spamming and blasting unwelcome messages do so at their own risk.

Not only is that not productive, it can result in NEGATIVE ROI, if you piss off the prospective customers with your aggressive and sales-y tactics.

Every day, I triage my email:  delete, delete, delete.  The flyers and post cards go straight from my mailbox, to the recyling bin.  And, I’ve gotten 3 Robocalls this week alone!

Instead, think in terms of lead NURTURING:  connecting and engaging with prospects who have already signaled interest. Once they have engaged with your content a few times, they are tee’d up for a warm call.

 Inbound + Outbound …  or, 1+1 = 3 

Admittedly, I haven’t come down off my INBOUND conference marketing high since last week.  But it just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Even, John Jantsch, author of the excellent Duct Tape Marketing blog, advocates a combination of Inbound and Outbound tactics in this recent post:  Why Outbound Marketing Has Never Been More Effective.

A prospective client told me recently that she uses a firm to make cold calls on her behalf, to generate leads.  I hope that I can convince her that there is a better way.

And next time I get a robocall, I’ll think of those customer-centric keynotes from last week’s conference, and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

OK, rant over.

Whether you agree or disagree … please leave a comment! 

(And, stop by and say hi on Twitter or my facebook page, where I share marketing tips, opinions, stupid cat photos, and more).  Thanks!

About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz is a content strategist and marketing consultant who helps mid-sized businesses develop more effective online strategies. @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, and on Forbes.com: http://blogs.forbes.com/people/rhondahurwitz/
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One Response to Are Your Marketing Tactics Getting Prospects Pissed Off?

  1. Rhonda,
    I couldn’t agree more. What do you think the reason is that marketers and platforms still use cold calls to generate interest? My thought is that there are better analytics around what kind of ROI you can expect from cold calling. The ROI is known albeit tiny vs the brave unknown of inbound. Nice post.

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