How could I let a major happening like the release of the new Star Wars movie go by without using it to help tell the story of inbound marketing?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … buyer behavior was going through a dramatic change. People who had relied on sales to get all of their information were migrating to the Web and their devices for research. They were spending their time online getting to know, like and trust the companies they wanted to do business with.
They didn’t want to be sold to or interrupted anymore. They wanted to be helped, advised and guided through their buyer journey in order to make a safe purchase decision.
At the same time, marketing continued to provide interruptive advertising solutions that highlighted soft metrics, like impressions and brand equity. Despite the fact that buyers wanted to be helped, companies relied on interruptive marketing because they didn’t have many alternative options.
Billions of dollars were being dumped into marketing tactics that specialized in interrupting people – tactics like TV ads, print ads, cold calling, direct mail, banner ads and trade shows. Over time, as the people created technology to avoid those ads, such as DVR, caller ID and ad blockers, the effectiveness of those tactics began to decline.
On a small, blue-green planet in the Milky Way galaxy, there was a small group of humans who realized the disconnect and decided a revolution was necessary to change the way people market their businesses. This movement was called inbound marketing, a new way to execute marketing. With this movement, people spent their money and time earning prospects’ attention instead of renting it through traditional vehicles.
The movement also focused on getting businesses to be present when prospects were looking for them. New tools like Google, content marketing and social media sites provided newfound opportunities for companies who were actively helping their prospects be front and center when prospects were actually looking for relevant information.
Once prospects identified themselves to these businesses, the focus shifted to nurturing them. This small group of inbound marketing individuals knew that people only bought when their pain became acute. They realized that prospects still need to get additional educational advice and content even after they initially reach out to businesses.
Over time, this effort created an experience for the prospective client that helped them feel safe enough to hire the businesses practicing inbound. Each business's sales cycle was shortened, their prospects spent more money and a much bigger percentage of prospects were closed. All seemed good until the dark forces of human nature started working to diminish the value of inbound marketing.
Change was difficult for people, and they needed to be patient in order to see results. They needed to embrace a new methodology around the process and trust the inbound experts who were there to plan, build and grow their inbound programs.
But over time, the results became more predictable and the naysayers became fewer and fewer. Companies embraced the new way, and the people were happy they were no longer being bothered with interruptive marketing. The world was peaceful and everyone prospered, making inbound the only way to market their businesses …