Last year, the community was still figuring out how the digital world was changing marketing. An article published in CIO in February of last year provided seven very good first steps into the planning of integrated marketing campaigns. In the time since that article was published, however, the inbound methodology has gained momentum. Let’s take a look at how the inbound process provides a more in-depth approach to marketing integration.
1. Engage your customers by zeroing in on your customer’s needs to help them solve their problems
The inbound method is based on being helpful to your customers. Instead of understanding target audience’s habits and search patterns to track them down with the intent to speak “to” them – find out what your customer cares about. Start with what they might be interested in. In the spirit of educating and delighting your customers, go a step beyond to observe what challenges are they experiencing? Present answers on “THE” channel that they are searching on.
2. Create content that speaks to your customer’s needs and help them solve their problems
It is true that today’s marketers have to juggle multiple channels to engage their customers. While it’s nice to have the same look and feel to project a consistent brand image, don’t prioritize this over the content that is published. If you produce content that your customers are looking for, this helps you take the first step in engaging in a meaningful conversation and potentially build a relationship.
3. Use conversion funnels to deepen the relationship you build
A key difference between traditional marketing and inbound marketing is that inbound is all about convert, close, and delighting customers over time. There is a strategic pathway we create to help your customers build a relationship with your company and your brand that is beyond just tracking which coupon they click on and analyzing how you achieve conversions.
We segment our customers based on where they are in terms of understanding their issues and problems. We serve up dynamic content based on which stage of the buyers journey they are in.
The Buyers Journey
A customer in the “Awareness” stage is looking for educational content that gives them information on their issues and problems. It is important to showcase our knowledge about the industry without trying to sell them our product or service.This keeps the conversation objective and on topic.
Customers in the “Consideration” stage now have a better understanding of their problems and are evaluating all the multiple solutions available to them.The content we present at this stage focus on the value that could be created by using a solution like the one we can offer, but still not try to sell them anything. What we want is to continue to demonstrate our area of expertise and helpfulness in terms of wanting them to find a best solution fit for their needs.
The final stage of the conversion funnel is the “Decision” stage. We now have built up enough of a relationship to see if the customers would like to engage in a conversation with a live salesperson. We use case studies, demos, and trial downloads to showcase our product, should they be interested.
Marketing is in a state of constant change and so is your buyer! Stay focused on your customers’ goals, challenges, and pain points. Creating and maintaining meaningful customer experience programs is the only sure way to assure implementation level success as it relates to marketing integration.