What is inbound?
Frankly, a word that tends to cause more confusion than it explains. A word that is often seen as the complete opposite of outbound. What if the inbound definition looked like this:
This means the audience is making the initial choice of whether to engage with you as a brand. But what would that mean about outbound? Is it the opposite?
We believe there is greater value in speaking predominantly in these terms when looking at the customer journey, that joins inbound and outbound and connects them into one seamless journey. Think of it like this:
So, how do you get people ‘in’?
Fundamentally it’s about doing great marketing. Much of the debate around inbound focuses on channel strategies but our belief is it’s wrong to lead with channels. Lead with a core strategy that answers a business challenge and marries this with deep audience insight. How you use channels should ladder back up to this core strategy.
So who is doing it really well? Here’s one of our favorite examples:
IBM no longer wanted to be seen purely as a large blue-chip tech organization but as an innovator. Smarter Planet unified this ambition, highlighting how businesses, governments, and society can capture the potential of smarter systems to achieve huge gains (both economic and societal). Here, inbound is being used as part of, not independent of, a core strategy.
Why I like it:
What you can learn from it:
The IBM example shows brilliantly that inbound marketing is not just digital. Fundamentally, inbound is a way of bringing people into your brand by earning their interest. This could just as easily be an event stand as it could a sponsored update on LinkedIn.
Interested in finding out more? Join us for our Sales & Marketing Forum where we will be discussing inbound and the many questions that surround it.
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