Despite what many excited marketing agencies may have you believe, inbound marketing will not do away with traditional outbound techniques. This is especially true in certain industries like automotive and solar where approaches like direct mail or attending trade shows still prove successful. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Instead, the challenge is to get inbound and outbound marketing techniques to exist in harmony across your organization.
The first step, naturally, is to find out what's working and what isn't. If your team is still cold-calling prospects when they may have much better luck generating leads through networks like LinkedIn, a change is in order. Identify your target demographic and what approaches are still delivering value, then cut the ones that aren't. For example, we here at Palmer are increasingly seeing more brands transition towards an inbound-related posture in terms of generating brand recognition among the younger demographic. This isn't earth-shattering news, but with more and more younger people on social media, firms should transition their resources away from outbound approaches like television and radio commercials and more towards a robust social media presence.
Once you identify what approaches work best, you'll need to see how these approaches interact with each other and create (an ideally automated) process where your team has an aligned and uniform view across critical marketing activities.
Take lead generation, for example. Your firm will most likely cultivate leads from both inbound and outbound channels. On the inbound side, a lead may click on a landing page and provide their contact information. On the outbound side, meanwhile, you may field a phone call because a lead saw a print ad or heard a commercial. Two leads generated from two different channels. Now you'll need to make sure both leads are entered into your CRM system and become integrated into your overall marketing strategy.
This step sounds easy, but in reality, this is where we see multiple failure points. And that's because many times marketing teams lack a standardized process that spells out how marketers integrate outbound and inbound leads. Some marketers may not even enter it into a system in the first place; much less provide a lead score. Others, meanwhile, fail to make a distinction between high- and low-quality leads, which in turn, influences the effectiveness of the marketing plan.
For example, if a lead clicks on a landing page that offers a free consultation for a solar estimate, you can make the educated guess that they're close towards the bottom of the sales funnel, meaning your team can spend less time around building brand recognition and more time on closing the sale by demonstrating tangible financial value.
Ultimately, both inbound and outbound marketing approaches serve the same goals: lead generation, brand recognition, and more sales. The end result doesn't change. What changes is the process that gets you to that end result.
Now it's your turn. What's particularly difficult about integrating inbound and outbound techniques? What outbound techniques have your firm abandoned entirely? What outbound techniques have proven to be particularly durable and effective?