A time to come together and share our personal and professional highlights and lowlights of the past year, Christmas is for catching up with loved ones. For those of us working in the growth and marketing sector, explaining what we do for work can be tricky.
The industry has taken a 180-degree shift towards inbound marketing over the past two years. Consumers became saturated with outbound marketing tactics; cold calling and lazy, blanket emailing gather minimal traction and retention from the calibre of customer you want to engage with your business. As growth experts, we have invested our time in generating content which educates and stimulates audiences online.
But, as we know, this is not an easy strategy to execute, let alone explain to those with no previous experience of strategy work. So this festive season as you all sit around the dinner table, enjoying a snowball or two, Method has devised a fun and informative plan for chatting to your family and friends about what you do, without losing their interest in the first few minutes.
The Food analogy
Set the scene; everyone has enjoyed a full day of food, turkey, all the trimmings and now eagerly await the pièce de résistance, the Christmas pud. Traditionally steeped in sherry, sugar, treacle, suet and spices, the quintessential Mary Berry inspired baker gets a head start on their festive pudding soak around October time. However this year lockdown has left you fed up, so you cooked up the self-raising flour, eggs, butter, mixed fruit, breadcrumbs and almonds the night before everyone arrived.
When you served up your pudding, everyone fell deathly silent and placed their spoon down. Here is a perfect inbound marketing analogy; the pudding is the product, the family your customer base and the steeping process your inbound marketing strategy. It's essential to understand what your customer expects and needs, so you don't cut corners and entirely lose their interest. Offering a second rate, less invested attempt at a half baked product is neither intuitive, not intelligent—small touches which acknowledge consumers tastes and preferences typify the very essence of inbound marketing. Promote your product by enhancing the user experience through valuable content.
The Real-Life Scenario
A good way to personalise inbound marketing is to evoke a sense of emotion from your audience. Relaying to your friends and family a real-life situation in which they have experienced inbound and outbound marketing allows them to relate to your work.
The classic example of outbound marketing everyone will have experienced is cold calling. Not only is cold calling lazy, disingenuous and patronising, it's a rude interruptive strategy that bulldozes over a consumer's own needs and wants, to push a companies product front and centre. What's more, some businesses now set the bar even lower, recording messages to play to consumers as if they were on a live phone call. Demonstrate these calls in a role-play type situation to outline everything inbound marketing is not.
So this situation goes:
A phone call from an unknown number. You answer 'hello?' A prolonged silence on the other end the phone ensues. 'yeah hi, I've heard you have been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault.' Perplexed you explain, no you haven't and enquire how your number had been obtained. Another uncomfortably long silence passes by 'We would like to help you reclaim the loss of earnings caused by this accident.' At which point 99.9% of all people would place the phone down, feeling disgruntled by this unwelcome interruption to their day.
Juxtapose this to inbound marketing. You have set up a new company campaign strategy to gain traction from new customers, and you're unsure of how to roll out this strategy across your social media platforms. You Google 'recommended social media engagement strategies for launching a new product.' HubSpot appears top of your search bar, and you read a very useful article on how to get your campaign trending across all socials. HubSpot helps your target flourish, and as a result, you identify with the content you explore across the website, switching from WordPress to HubSpot to create your new company website. Voila, this is inbound marketing, providing missing links within your business model, which help you answer questions you might not have known you needed answering. Relay this across the Christmas dinner table to bring your work to life for friends and family.
The Relationship Scenario
Attract, engage, and delight, these are the three integral rules shared by both inbound marketers and couples in successful relationships. When comparing inbound marketing to dating, this is an effective master plan for clarifying what you do day-to-day at the office.
So how can we relate these two concepts? Well, let's pick this apart. Two people are initially attracted to each other because they admire one another's aesthetic; they bond over shared interests and enhance each other's experience of life. Such is the relationship between inbound marketer and their consumer. It's an organic back and forth in which the marketer predicts pain points and proposes various solutions, intuitively and without any expectation. The inbound marketer communicates as a trusted advisor, like lovers would. When that bond is forged, and trust is cemented, next up comes the proposal! Engaging means entering into a more solidified relationship which is built on the satisfaction of needs on a myriad of levels. Inbound marketers look to provide empowering tools to help enhance consumers' lived experiences of their products. And finally, delight. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby's carriage! Much like the product of a loving relationship, the delight stage of inbound marketing means establishing a far-reaching plan for birthing abundant new opportunities for business. Providing help and support to empower customers to find success with their purchase, this is the most prospect rich stage of development.
Now don't forget the feast in front of you and your family is getting cold, so using inbound methodology, let others ask questions and listen in between mouthfuls of crisp roast potatoes and that lovely moist turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and sprouts.