Marketers should move away from the buzzwords surrounding the modern world of marketing and dive deeper into marketing itself.
Both inbound marketing and content marketing are terms coined by companies that sell the solution for them.
These buzzwords have created a generation of marketers who do not know the basic terms and practices underpinning the marketing industry.
Marketing departments have been using strategies that had been developed over many decades (e.g. The Five Forces, 4Ps, SWOT Analysis), while the online marketing departments are talking about getting likes, followers and keyword densities.
The online platform that online marketing departments operate in changes all the time (e.g. Google algorithm updates, Facebook organic reach update), while the core marketing strategies will never change.
Content marketing is nothing new
Content has always been an important part. Marketing has always been about creating a message, inserting the message into a piece of content and transmitting it to an audience in an effort to build brands, increase demands and move people down the sales funnel.
Marketing has always been about creating a message, inserting the message into a piece of content and transmitting it to an audience in an effort to build brands, increase demands and move people down the sales funnel.
The only thing that has changed today is the channel that the messages are transmitted via.
In the end, all content marketing is marketing. Be precise when calling your “content”.
Be precise when calling your “content”. If it’s an advertisement, call it so – not content. If it’s a publicity video, call it so – not content.
Being precise will help you to understand its best practices and facilitate better discussion.
The myth of inbound marketing
Following are the 5 frameworks under the promotion mix (which is under the 4Ps – Product, Price, Place, Promotion):
- Direct Marketing – sending of sales collateral to a list of people to encourage a direct response
- Advertising – use of paid placements in mass media to increase brand awareness and create mass association among a mass audience
- Personal Selling – use of sales people to promote an expensive product with long sales cycle
- Sales Promotion – use of short-term incentives to encourage the purchase of a product or service
- Publicity – increasing public visibility through media
Inbound, social media and content marketing are not parts of the promotion mix. Instead, they’re just a part of the existing element of the mix. For example, Oreo’s Super Bowl blackout tweet is not social media marketing – it was a publicity stunt transmitted through the Twitter channel.
The dominance of direct marketing
The massive availability of data and analytics on the internet has encouraged the proliferation of direct marketing.
However, this obsession over the metrics of direct marketing should not extend to evaluating the performance of advertising or publicity campaigns. It is difficult to determine the direct and immediate ROI from brand marketing campaigns.
Direct marketing and publicity are two different things. Publicity, if evaluated against direct marketing metrics, will be considered a weak marketing strategy when it is not.
Online marketers who do not know the foundations of traditional marketing are more likely to assign the wrong goals to the wrong functions.
Direct marketing is easy to track results but is boring to create and invasive to receive (i.e. people hate junk in their mailboxes as much as junk ads following them around).
How tech marketers should respond
- Get back to the marketing basics
Skip the multiple posts on inbound or content marketing and read a Marketing 101 book (recommendation included underneath) and learn about direct marketing strategy, advertising strategy and publicity strategy.
- Do not separate online and traditional marketing teams
The more human activity moves online, the more traditional and online marketing will just be “marketing”. Direct marketers need to know the best practice for both online and offline channels.
- Explore alternatives to direct marketing
Be creative and move away from relying solely on analytics. Great brands are built upon ads such as this.
- Remain skeptical at all times
Marketers should be the most difficult people to market to. Whenever someone makes an outrageous claim, ask for evidence, and make them cite their sources.
Online marketers should have discarded their imitation marketing and started to practice real marketing and brand building
To become better marketers, those in the tech startup world need to skip the latest redundant blog post on “inbound marketing” or “content marketing” and read a Marketing 101 textbook.