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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Aug 20, 2013 5 min read

Don’t Call Me Customer, Buyer, Prospect or Target

Inbound 2013Live from Inbound 2013

Today, over 5,000 inbound marketing evangelists are gathered together to celebrate the Inbound Marketing movement. One of the most interesting lessons from the first day: As marketers, we need to change the way we think about the people we want to attract to our businesses. We refer to them as generic, non-people with sanitized vernacular like customer, buyer, prospect or target when, in fact, they are all PEOPLE.

People who, while it’s possible they share some characteristics, are individuals and need to be spoken to (read: marketed to) as individuals.

Perhaps one of the most monumental shifts in marketing is the move away from mass marketing toward more one-to-one marketing. No longer can we create a single message and beam it out to as many people (as many times as possible) and expect them to be moved by it.

Today, we have to create specialized messages for individuals and deliver an experience that moves them as people. This change in thinking has a major impact on the way we market to these people.

The content we create has to be personalized and tailored to every individual. It has to be delivered in a personal way. It has to be valuable for that individual and the specific place they are in their own individual purchasing process.

By marketing to them in this way, they will self-select into your world. When that happens, you have an opportunity to continue earning their trust and guiding them through a decision-making process that works best for them—not you.

While this personal approach to marketing strategy is much more complex, it matches today’s buyer behavior. Today's buyers demand personalized, contextual, educational content. They search, research, review, chat, share and talk about their unique needs. They share stories directly related to the experiences they have had with businesses just like yours.

You can choose to change the way you market your company to deliver those experiences OR you can choose to ignore how people buy today and run the risk of having your business become just like the record industry and the corner video store.

Inbound marketing provides the tools you need to map out the experience for the people you want to work with. It helps you get to know them better. Not as a number or an entry into your CRM system, but as a person with individual likes and dislikes. The personas you need to create include details about your buyers' personal behavior both online and offline.

This understanding allows you to create the content required to get them to notice you. Not because you scream louder or more often than your competitors, but because you are saying the right things to them at the right time, in a way that they are open to hearing. That's the only way to get your message heard amid all the noise.

You are helping them, you are educating them, you are making them feel more comfortable with you, your company, your services or products and the way you are going to do business with them now and into the future.

You respect their process, so you don’t hard-sell them. You let them come to you, when they are ready, and then you provide them the information they want. Now they trust you, they like you and they know what to expect from you.

They feel safe. When people feel safe—they buy. Better yet, they keep buying and they are loyal to you, as long as you continue to give them the experience they expect from your company.

It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

Start Today Tip – It’s time to rethink how you market your company and make a shift away from what you’ve done in the past. It's time to embrace inbound marketing. If you are practicing inbound marketing, then you can accelerate its effectiveness by simply improving the remarkable aspects of your business and the experience you provide your “people.” Without investing one more dollar in marketing, by improving their experience with your firm, your people will share it, tweet it, blog about it and before you know it, your business will be growing too. Try it. It works!


Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing and Inbound Marketing Revolution!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.