Inbound Marketing - Buzzword Of The Day
Origins: The Inbound Marketing term was first used by Brian Halligan from HubSpot back in 2005. It is a younger version of Permission Marketing, used by Seth Godin in his 1999 book "Permission Marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers".
Photo source: business2community.com
What does it mean? According to HubSpot, the initial creators of the expression, "Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time."
In simple words, Inbound Marketing is about promoting a company or a brand through content (blogs, video, social media, eBooks, newsletters but NOT spam, SEO etc) in order to attract customers and get them to deliberately enter your "territory". (View large image; Photo source: moz.com)
In contrast, buying attention, interrupting consumers, chasing them by media consumption habits, basically traditional advertising is considered "outbound marketing".
Research and Insights are no longer used (or not so much) to manipulate and shift perceptions through certain messages, but to create and provide added value, to educate, entertain.
It is about putting the brand in a broader, real life context, identifying connected needs and interests and delivering content on them. More details, examples, what is this content and how it works can be found in our next article: "Content Marketing - Buzzword Of The Day".
Our opinion: Inbound Marketing is more than content, it is about creating value for consumers, making their life easier, nicer, through online-offline products, services or information. It's about making good use of the internet and technology in order to cover specific needs connected to the universe of the brand.
Nike is doing it big with Nike+, Red Bull is a great case study for content, action sports brands like Burton or Patagonia are on the line and Starbucks plays nicely with My Starbucks Idea, music CDs compilations, Starbucks Digital Network or its genius mobile application that lets you pay by a shake of the phone. In a consumer centric approach, although a marketing expense at start, inbound marketing may lead to the creation of digital products as new lines of business and profit centers.
The perception that Inbound Marketing is something that bounds you to a software (Hubspot, Salesforce Pardot) or niche dedicated agencies (Element Three, Kuno Creative, IMA) is very far from the truth. Most of the brands and the agencies already do some of this work, not always in a structured way. Of course data monitoring and analysis in a structured way is important and digital tools are great, but they are only supporting the concept, they are not the concept in itself.
Marketing has always been common sense and nothing is going to change that. And to make it more clear and give weight to the theory, here are 7 ways in which Westfield got it right with it.