Posted on August 3, 2016 by NWIBQ.COM

The digital age ushers in cost-effective concepts.

By Jackie Coover, ACI, New Business Contact, Client Services

Jackie Coover, New Business Contact, Client ServicesThe times have changed, the digital age has taken over, and society now has a whole new format for receiving information. The digital age has altered the landscape of how marketers advertise and communicate brands for a more enhanced customer response to the buying process.

Thanks to the Google age, businesses are now dealing with a more educated, savvy audience. Communication has changed from a one-way conversation to an interactive two-way conversation. In this fresh communication environment, core principles remain the same, but methods need to change to reflect the new way people desire to receive and retain information. The effectiveness of your marketing should incorporate a strategy based on the audience of your brand in this changing landscape for obtaining customers.

Outbound marketing has been based on pushing products and services on consumers using techniques that can be seen as intrusive and easily ignored. Outbound marketing techniques–such as print ads, television, radio, billboards and traditional sales techniques–when teamed with inbound marketing, becomes a more powerful combination to move business into the new digital age. This marketing approach allows the company to be in control of content that they want the consumer to view.

Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that attracts qualified prospects towards your brand, products and services. Effective inbound marketing tactics include content marketing, social media participation, e-books, whitepapers, blogs, videos and organic search methods. With the recent fundamental shift in consumer behavior, people want to be more in control of what information they receive and how they receive this information.

Business strategy must evolve in an effort to establish a digital presence, convey content marketing, attract targeted audience, promote through online engagement, connect through social, local and mobile channels, and refine performance management. These principles will provide an effective way for businesses to deliver knowledge, attain trust, and build a new platform of two-way communication with the customer.

Upon switching to an inbound marketing program, the company will benefit from a lower cost per lead (an effective ROI measurement), as they will be attracting more qualified prospects. The company will also benefit, as statistics show that inbound marketing costs, on average, 62 percent less than traditional outbound marketing. Consumers gain knowledge to empower them in their purchase decisions and your company is positioned as the thought leader for your category. The end result is engagement between the business and the customer.

Leveraging your business in this day and age means growing and changing with the times. It is well known that one of the first essential steps of growing a successful business is defining the target audience. When the audience has been defined, it is then the marketer’s job to implement the strategy of effective communication through appropriate channels to reach prospects. There is another challenge though: With knowing the audience, the company needs to learn the persona of the target.

Understanding the persona of the target allows a business to gain knowledge into a customer’s culture and interests. From that point, the business can create meaningful content that may be strategically placed to allow the target to engage in conversation with the business. Inbound marketing better positions a company to find prospective customers by developing an online presence that speaks to the customer and addresses their specific needs. In developing this content creation, a relationship develops with your audience on their terms. This empowers the business to attract, convert, close and delight customers by being in the right place at the right time. Inbound marketing covers every stage of the buying process.

When used correctly, inbound marketing is one of the most effective sales strategies in a digital world. It is the way to build credibility, create brand awareness, enhance engagement, build information resources and add to your value proposition. The traditional techniques of outbound marketing, when paired with an inbound strategy, will have the most effective communication with your target audience in this new age. An experienced agency can assist a business with an overall vision for an effective marketing program that utilizes the best aspects of an inbound and outbound plan to achieve your business goals.

Jackie Coover is director of client services at ACI in Valparaiso. Go to www.acincorporated.com to learn more.

Inbound Marketing article as it appeared in the NWIBQ, Summer 2016.