WHAT IS A Digital Marketing Dictionary?
I would certainly say that we don't know everything, but we are happy to shine a light on those questions you've always wanted to ask about the world of sales and marketing in our Digital Marketing Dictionary. With nearly 30 years experience working in large corporations to running my own business, there are a lot of insights and knowledge to share.
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What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is about shifting your tactics away from the “make as much noise as you can” hoping to get somebody to notice you. Investing your efforts in a more measured strategy that generates authority and trust with prospective buyers, by providing advice and insights that can help them address the symptoms they have as a business.
Inbound marketing offers a different approach to traditional marketing tactics. It is about attracting interest at a time when buyers are being bombarded with marketing messages that they are filtering out, because they don’t target their needs.
Inbound marketing refers to the recent shift of B2B and B2C companies becoming more buyer-centric in their approach to both marketing and sales.
The biggest change is to listen to your customers’ needs, help them articulate their symptoms to identify what their challenges are. An inbound strategy means long-term profitable customers, improved customer relations and ultimately higher sales.
What is Outbound or Traditional Marketing?
Changes in B2B buyer behaviour are forcing companies to adopt a strategy that targets a buyers’ specific needs and preferences throughout the buying cycle.
Outbound or traditional marketing involves sharing a marketing message, at a time that may not be relevant to your audience – but suits you. By continuing to push a “one way” message, you don’t offer your customers the chance to communicate what they want.
There is often a mis-match between how sellers communicate and buyers source and digest the information that they are looking for. Typically sellers have relied on outbound tactics to push out their sales messages, whereas buyers are using online methods to do self-research to educate themselves. In today’s marketplace unfortunately buyers don’t trust corporately sourced information – they would rather rely on their own sources.
The costs associated with outbound marketing can be high, i.e. print, TV, radio, billboard advertising. These tactices are out of the reach for smaller businesses and inbound marketing is a less expensive method of customer acquisition.
If your company is going through a digital transformation you’ll need to address the following:
- Which combinations of digital channels and platforms are the most effective when it comes to reaching your buyer personas?
- How can these channels be harnessed to create value for the company and engage with customers?
- Which digital touch points should your company focus on to generate the most influence?
When you consider the behaviour today of a B2B buyer, we know that they can be difficult and prefer their own pace and resources to learn about suitable products and services.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation or “pen-portrait” of your ideal customer. It is based on market research, your existing customer insights and a little bit of “gut feel”.
As a business you need to understand where a customer’s pain aligns with your solutions.
Creating a buyer persona digs deep into how your ideal buyer behaves and their digital interaction preferences and source of information. So, instead of focusing on your own needs to close a sale, focus instead on the buyer’s desire to get a problem solved.
If you don’t understand your customers needs, pains and how they got to you, it is going to be a pretty diffiuclt task to generate leads or close sales.
To “walk in your customer shoes” helps you to understand a buuer search behaviour, and the journey they take from their first point of contact, through to a sale. Creating a buyer persona build a visual time line of stages and touch points that you can nurture your customer through.
Viewing the journey from a customer’s perspective, to understand what they would like to receive compared to the experience you are providing, helps spot the gaps that impact the overall customer experience.
Addressing weak points not only improves customer experience, it may also save the company money and increase revenue.
To understand how to connect the marketing content you are producing to meet your buyer’s needs should be structured across their buying lifecycle stages from Awareness to Consideration and then finally the Decision stage. Typically this is not a linear process and prospects may move around as they pass through the different stages of the buying cycle. So the more you know about your customers and their behaviour, the more likely you are going to have a message and approach that targets them effectively.
Read more in our Buyer persona section.
What is a B2B sales and marketing funnel?
The B2B buying journey has rapidly evolved as today buyers delay until much later in the buying process or funnel to interact directly with a vendor. With these changes in how buyers research their purchases and interact, buyer behaviour is moving outside of the confines of the traditional definition of a linear sales and marketing funnel.
The problem with the traditional sales funnel conversation is that it describes a funnel with a top and a bottom – either you enter and buy or don’t buy. If you don’t buy, you must be either stuck in the middle or fallen out of the bottom. A common mistake is assuming that if a prospect doesn’t progress from one stage to the next then they must have dropped out and disappeared.
How the fluid, leaky funnel of today works, prospects move from one stage to another entering and leaving at different points. Today a sales prospects is moving across multiple devices and channels, as they jump into and out of the funnel, behaviour which has changed with the buyer’s journey now going predominantly digital.
In the same sales funnel you’ll have visitors entering part way through the funnel, some will exit early, some will skip stages, and others will engage multiple times at the same stage – all in a non-linear way. There are as many different buying journeys in the funnel as there are buyers.