One of the earliest advocates of the principles of Inbound Marketing was David Meerman Scott. Mr. Scott is the author of several books related to these principles, built around the premise that online marketing is completely different than traditional “outbound” marketing targeted at print and broadcast media.
Mr. Scott talks about the old rules of marketing that were set to meet the requirements of mainstream media, which largely served businesses as a channel to targeted audiences. In this world, you either bought access to the audience through vehicles like advertising or you pitched story ideas to reporters in hopes they would write stories about your company in the press. And you did this trying to control the essence of your message.
But in the new web-based world of media all that has changed. Any company can draw attention and interest to their service or products by thinking of themselves as a content publisher. By developing a library of e-infromation tools like blogs, podcasts, social media, online video and others, a company can literally publish its way into the path of its audiences and customers.
While it may result in sales, the most valuable result might be the collective information a company gets about customer needs and interests over time and not necessarily the customers themselves, A company can then take this knowledge of customer needs and apply it toward creating future company offerings, and product or service features and benefits.
The result is a triple threat:
- Inbound Marketing can become a tool for cost savings by efficiently and continuously generating internal awareness of customer interests.
- At the same time, it can build credibility for the company as an authoritative expert on a subject matter related to the company and its products or services, and
- It can also generate sales and build communities of followers, who themselves become a new channel for the company.
All this is accomplished by simply thinking and acting like a publisher of information about your company, its strategies, offerings and markets.