And Why Do I Need To Do It?

Inbound marketing is a concept thought up by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, co-founders of HubSpot. The old ways of marketing to a demographic and hoping that a small percentage of it will respond are over. Inbound marketing is a strategy that solves the problem of selective consumption, which is the reality that people tune out marketing they aren't interested in - the best way for small and medium sized businesses to profitably market is to only reach out to people who have indicated they are interested in their product or service. This avoids wasting time and money marketing to people who won't respond.

It begins with search engine marketing and only ranking on terms that are relevant to your customer base. This way, you're getting the attention of people who actually want what you're offering, which is much more effective than the “spray and pray” strategy of radio, television, and print advertising, which offers no control over who’s watching or listening. The reason this is the most profitable way for a small or medium sized business to market themselves is that they only pay for the attention of the potential customers who are already looking for them.

Scenario 1:

You’re a local sporting goods store and you purchase a local television campaign on ESPN to attract new customers.

What’s good:

  1. You’re advertising locally, so it's realistic that your listeners will be willing to travel to your location.
  2. The channel you’re advertising on (ESPN) has a high viewership of sports fans.

What’s bad:

  1. 99% of the sports fans that are watching that channel do not want to buy sporting goods.
  2. This means you’re advertising without any control at all over who’s watching it (short of the channel you’re on). Outbound marketing requires an enormous amount of retention to get people to remember what you’re saying.

Studies have shown that consumers need to see ads 6 times to remember them. So now you find yourself having to pay for enough airtime to show everybody the same message 6 times while attracting only 1% of that demographic. It becomes easy to understand how there’s no potential way that a sporting goods store can generate enough sales to pay for this type of marketing campaign. Additionally, this doesn’t factor in the cost of producing a professional television commercial.