from Digital Marketing

The Difference Between Inbound Marketing & Traditional Marketing

By Erin Durham
October 28, 2015 - read

Most people understand the basic concept of marketing. If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably got some sort of marketing budget for your business, and you’ve probably been using that money on a number of strategies that you’re pretty sure have gotten some good returns. If you’re not doing much on the internet, most of your marketing dollars are probably being spent on “Traditional Marketing.” 

What is the difference between inbound marketing and traditional, outbound marketing? Allow us to explain:


So What Is Traditional Marketing Exactly?

traditional marketing vs. inbound marketing Greenville SC These strategies might include things like TV commercials, radio spots, magazine or newspaper ads, flyers, and ads in the Yellow Pages.

Traditional Marketing is a bit like yelling at everyone who passes by and hoping one of them needs your product or service. Sometimes we refer to this as “interruption marketing”.

Think about it: a member of your target market is enjoying some downtime after a long day of work. He's been dealing with a difficult boss or difficult kids and all he wants to do is catch a little Law & Order or King of Queens. He is not thinking about the toilet that is running upstairs or whether he needs his garage floor sealed — or whatever your product or service is — and he does not want to. Suddenly, here comes your TV ad interrupting his downtime.

“Sure,” he grumbles to himself, “that company might be able to help me solve my problem. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Congratulations, he is now familiar with your brand! He knows that you provide a service that he might need… and he knows that you are running an obnoxious TV ad that interrupts the show he is watching when all he wants to do is relax and let the day float away from him.

There's Nothing Really Wrong With Traditional Marketing...

Sure, we know this logic isn’t fair… commercials are going to run anyway. Also, we would like to point out that we know that not all traditional marketing is obnoxious to this degree — in fact, most of it isn't. And it does tend to yield some good returns sometimes. That’s not the point.

The point is that you’ve interrupted what he was focused on. He wanted to relax and not think about his problem, and you’ve successfully interrupted that. Maybe not all traditional marketing is this annoying, but if you’re following my concept, perhaps you can start to see how other forms of marketing are similarly interruptive — if to a smaller degree.

And what have you really accomplished for your trouble? He is familiar with your brand. He may or may not have more trust in your company because he saw you on TV. He still is not terribly interested in solving his problem right this minute, so he is still going to wait until tomorrow to look into solutions for his problem, and he still is going to find out that you have competitors that may or may not be able to solve his problem better than you can.

All you’ve achieved is brand recognition. Now don’t get me wrong — brand recognition is valuable. But what if we could increase that value by upping the impact? What if we approached marketing from a different angle?

What If There Is A Better Way To Market?

The other aspect of yelling at everyone who passes by is that you are yelling at everyone who passes by. Your TV spot is showing to everyone who is watching prime time TV. Your billboard is being seen by everyone driving down the interstate… and is being ignored by most of them. And seriously, who even uses a physical phone book anymore?

What if, rather than yelling at everyone watching the 6 o’clock news and hoping 1) they didn’t get up to load the dishwasher during the commercials and 2) that they actually need your product or service, what if instead we target the people who are researching their problems? What if you catch them in the beginning of their search, provide valuable information about what sort of a problem they have and what solutions are out there, and use this information to convince them that you have the best solutions?

You win in 5 specific ways by doing this:

  1. You are not wasting money on people who don’t need you.
  2. You are able to capture people from the beginning of their buying process instead of stumbling in somewhere near or at the end.
  3. You are able to track exactly where your strategies are working and where they aren’t, and adjust accordingly.
  4. You are able to measure exactly how much revenue is coming in from your marketing efforts.
  5. You are able to build your brand engagement by being authentic and talking to your target market where they are.

Inbound Marketing, sometimes called permission-based marketing, is only marketing to people who are already looking for solutions that you can provide. We’ve talked in the past about the Zero Moment of Truth and how the way people shop for products and services has changed. If you are not using digital marketing, and especially if you are not using Inbound Marketing, then you need to take a look at where your marketing dollars are going.

The bottom line is this: Inbound Marketing says “I do not want to market to you if you do not want to be marketed to.” Getting to “no” quickly isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it allows you to quickly and efficiently reallocate your resources (time, money, energy) to people who need your product or service and are willing and able to pay for it.

If this is sounding like something you’d like to talk more about, give us a call at (864) 288-6162 or contact us online to set up a chat. Want to learn more but not ready to talk yet?

Tags: Digital Marketing