Competitive advantage is defined on Investopedia as an advantage that a firm has over its competitors, allowing it to generate greater sales or margins and/or retain more customers than its competition. When you consider this definition, our position is that yes, Inbound Marketing does provide a competitive advantage. Let's see exactly how.
First, it clearly states that an advanced ability to generate sales is a competitive advantage and there is no question that inbound marketing contributes to an improved ability to generate sales. Driving more prospects to your website and turning those visitors into leads by providing educational content, at a pace unmatched by your competitors, means more sales opportunities for your sales teams.
If you look at this ability from a slightly higher perspective, having a scalable and predictable Marketing Machine to generate 10, 20, 30 or even 50 leads a month is, without any doubt, a competitive advantage over a company that has no way to predict how many leads its marketing generates on a monthly basis.
But there is another way inbound marketing contributes to giving your company a competitive advantage. This is an often overlooked element, but some experts would argue that it's even more important than the lead generation element. That element is the ability to deliver a remarkable experience for your prospects.
Let me illustrate it for you.
Company A – As a prospect, I find out about Company A and end up on their website. I look around for a bit and notice that there is no educational content, just some pages that talk a lot about Company A. The information is fine, as I learn a little bit about the company, but since I am just starting my research, I leave and head over to Company B's site.
Company B – On Company B's site, I find a variety of opportunities to learn about topics related to my visit. Whitepapers, e-books, tip guides, webinars and online quizzes. I see right away that this company is focused on me and my challenges.
They present their information only as it relates to how they are able to help me solve my challenges. I see videos of other companies who have had great results working with Company B. Without much effort, I also notice that this company does it differently. In fact, there are a number of remarkable aspects associated with this company. The more I look, the more I feel that this firm is the right firm for me.
Remember, your prospects are making an emotional decision first and then rationalizing their decision second. Their experience on your website is the first step to establishing that emotional connection. The more educational and interactive content you can create and provide, the more likely prospects are going to want to do business with your company.
If predictable lead flow and a remarkable experience for your prospects isn't enough of a competitive advantage, let's consider the financial implications. Companies with inbound marketing programs typically enjoy a significant reduction in cost-per-lead expenses. This means they have more money to invest in other areas, such as R&D, to hire more sales people or to put even more effort into their marketing. Financially healthy companies typically deliver additional value to their shareholders.
Start Today Tip – Creating an inbound marketing program for your company isn't easy. It takes hard work and time. Not only is having such a program a competitive advantage, but it is a sustainable competitive advantage, due to the time and energy required. Once your company is generating predictable leads each month, your closest competitors may take months, or even longer, to get similar programs up and running.
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