Outbound marketing, hitherto, had been associated with out-and-out advertisements over TV and newspapers, cold calls, and an incessant badgering of either relevant or irrelevant e-mails. In fact, marketing itself had been synonymous with blatant brand propaganda; something that needed to be pushed out to pull in customers. All of this changed when inbound marketing, made popular by HubSpot, entered into the arena and brought in a fresh lease of air for marketers who now worked to polish their content, include the relevant search keywords, and the prospects got attracted on their own and poured in.
Inbound marketing works on the concept of working on making yourself attractive and relevant enough for people to notice and approach you on their own. The ice is considered already broken since you already fit into their notions of what they need or want. This was a revolutionary concept and naturally was taken an instant liking to by marketers who didn’t have to go on a wild hunt to find the right customers and create positive leads. Outbound marketing was left out in the cold as marketers failed to realize its importance in the dynamics of marketing.
While inbound marketing appears more effective and productive, it is not without its fallacies because with the basic premise of the prospect finding the vendor scenario, the prospect has already thought over his or her purchasing decisions and is approaching the company with certain pre-conceived notions. In this sense, the company has already lost its chance to influence the prospect’s buying decisions.
With the advent of Big Data, the marketing scene has undergone a makeover once again. The voluminous customer data that throngs the virtual world has no meaning if useful insights cannot be gathered and put to use to build and increase sales and revenue. If used effectively, Big Data can change the way a company does its business.
In this sense, outbound marketing strategies have broken free from the traditional moulds and are now looking to repackage themselves in conjunction with the Big Data approach. These now bring in multi-faceted benefits to the organization by:
Reaching out to the right audience
In the vast ocean of consumers, Big Data analytics help marketers to identify who their potential customers could be. The fragmented pieces of customer data that are scattered over the virtual world are connected seamlessly and brought together to form target groups. Once the right audience is identified, marketers can work upon tailoring custom content and delivering it to the customers in real-time.
Creating the triggers using predictive intelligence
The data collected by tracking a consumer’s online behavior is put to use by anticipating the customer’s next move and remaining a step ahead of him. Before the desire even presents itself, the need is anticipated and the relevant solution is packaged and presented to the customer. By creating the trigger, marketers are ensured of being on the front foot, rather than on a reactive mode that goes into action after the trigger is initiated by the customer.
To quote Alison Murdock, VP of Marketing at predictive intelligence tool, 6sense:
Unlike predictive lead scoring, which uses heuristics and static attributes to rank score existing leads, predictive intelligence taps into behavioral data from CRM and marketing automation and the much larger B2B web to identify buyers who are actually in the market to buy specific products or solutions.
Tailoring the content to be delivered in real-time
Sending out standardized content to all and sundry is a sure way to drive away even potential customers. This learning has led to marketers using the Big Data advantage to analyse market trends, capture the pulse of the target audience and personalize the brand journey for each of their customers. The content is tailor-made and is targeted in real-time to the right customer.
This is the key difference between the traditional outbound methods and the current ones. The campaigns that were earlier pushed out in the open without a specific audience in mind, hoping for potential leads to fall onto the laps are now structured better and driven to specific targets, increasing the chances of conversion.
As we can see, the idea is to make outbound work as effectively as inbound. The concepts that are used for inbound can be leveraged, standardized and delivered using outbound channels. For instance, HubSpot advises the use of social media engagement for inbound marketing to develop the brand image. The very same social media can be effectively used for outbound marketing.
The approach of using either marketing technique in isolation may not work for a long time. By rejecting one in favour of another could mean ignoring a large section of the customer pool. For an effective and sustainable growth, the key lies in creatively combining the strategies for campaigns that are inbound as well as outbound. The two need not be mutually exclusive.