Marketing and sales have changed drastically since the turn of the century. What are those changes, and how do we adapt? As inbound marketing gurus, we provide our top insights for you to optimize with change.
Why is this relevant?
Previously, marketing was almost entirely done by blatant and in-your-face advertisements from companies. Whether it was on TV, the radio or a billboard, companies were attempting to come up with clever ways to earn your money.
However, the invention of the World Wide Web caused a paradigm shift that would change the way advertising was done forever. Giving individuals a voice they never had before, the internet became a place where faulty products were brought to light while elite products were praised.
Consumers now held power.
These four factors combined with the internet changed marketing forever.
- Consumer Knowledge
- Lack of Trust
1. Consumer Knowledge
The availability of the internet gave consumers unprecedented access to education. It was as if the Library of Alexandria was imported directly into our homes.
Before making purchases of a product, people are able to go online and read reviews (both good and bad) of what others were saying.
As such, we need to be empowering loyal clients to become promoters of our brand! How? Leverage channels such a email marketing to delight and simply ask your clients for a review. Read more about client referrals here.
This was pushed even further with the proliferation of social media platforms. In today's world, one of the biggest forms of marketing come from influencers/celebrities on social media. Companies will pay big bucks to have the latest TikTok star or Hollywood celeb promoting their product.
And guess what...it works.
Now all a company has to do is put out their best product or service possible, and their consumers will take care of the advertising for them - essentially inbound marketing at it's core. To capitalize on this, ensure you're providing consumers with the narrative you want to be known for by leveraging social media as a company.
2. Lack of Trust
There used to be a time when a person would go door to door showing people how a product worked in an attempt to make a sale. This interruption-based method stopped daily routines as we had to sit there and listen to the spiel being pitched.
What's Real vs. Spam
With the invention of the internet came as a long list of spam emails with false offers or ads introducing viruses to our computers as soon as you clicked on them.
For a while, it seemed like there wasn't a single ad on the entire web that was genuine. Every day people grow more skeptical of what is being offered to them.
So how do you stand out?
Inbound Builds Authority
It's no secret that consumers don't like being pushed to spend their hard earned cash on something they don't truly want. Study after study shows that the most effective way to advertise in today's market is to use an inbound-based approach, providing potential customers with transparent information and allowing them to research and buy on their own time, when they are ready.
By providing relevant information that prospects are searching for first without rushing a sale, brands can begin proving themselves even before a consumer considers the purchase. This in-turn will help build brand trust and lead to loyal, life-long customers.
The irony of the situation is clear - consumers will PAY not to be advertised to. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
Some examples are too easy to spot such as Netflix and Spotify Premium. People are tired of seeing advertisements. Commercials have become an irritant that must be stopped at all COSTS (see what we did there?).
Streaming through those platforms is only one of many ways for us to rid ourselves of unsolicited commercials and ads. Ad-blocking apps have also become another popular way to make sure we only see the material that we want. From 2014 to 2021, the number of users using an ad-blocker on their connected devices has increased by nearly 100%.
We only have to take a look at this tweet to understand why.
A decentralized system will be key to Web 3.0, which is another reason marketers should start thinking about this era right now, so they are prepared for its arrival.
Decentralization means that data is spread across multiple networks rather than being held in a single location that could then be targeted by hackers or malicious entities.
The idea is to make it difficult for hackers or outside sources to access your data, and decentralization makes this possible. The good news is that blockchain technology has built-in protections against attacks and decentralized ledger systems will be critical for Web 3.0.
Data security and transparency will be provided by blockchain technology as more businesses start using this decentralized system. Blockchain technology will make it possible for customers to interact directly with businesses without the need for intermediaries, which means consumers will have more control over their data privacy.
The goal is to eliminate middlemen and move toward an open ecosystem of marketing that puts the power into the hands of end users where it belongs.
What To Do?
The studies have made it clear that we need to be adapting to how the internet to evolving and how consumer behavior trends. Here's what to do:
Educate your prospects by giving them something valuable. Not only will you be building their trust by not trying to sell right away, but you're also positioning your company as the subject-matter expert. When in turn they do need your offerings, you can be sure your company will be the first they'll reach out to.
Solve a Problem
Build content that promotes how your services or products help solve your prospects problems, like our friends at Senderra. This goes hand-in-hand with providing value. People are searching for questions to answer their problems - give them solutions. One of the most efficient ways to do this is through Search Engine Optimization and Inbound Marketing. By helping your prospects, you're more likely to acquire loyal customers.
Keep Customers Engaged
Continue to engage your customers after the purchase, ensuring that their experience continues to be enjoyable. This can be done by staying in contact with customers through emails, newsletters, or implementing chat-bots on your website, where they can go to have simple questions answered quickly.
Get Customer Referrals
Empower your customers to promote your brand through referrals, which is the easiest and most cost-effective way to gain traction for your business. Showcasing previous customer experiences creates social proofing that verify your company as trustworthy. You can do this by creating case studies and testimonials showing real life examples of successfully assisting customers.
See Real Results
Speaking of real life examples, learn more about how our team Vested assists an engineering firm to increase awareness and generate contacts while using the right marketing tools, an inbound approach, and pivot to industry changes.
Case Study: Engineering Success
PES been able to adapt through both internet changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to grow their company and service more clients.
See how by viewing our case study below!
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Our team of Engineers Turned Marketers can help get you noticed - for a more innovative and effective way to reach customers, or provide a more seamless way for companies to find your services. Inbound Marketing has no limit to industry, serving from Crypto & NFT, mining, oil and gas, technology & automation, engineering, technology, water saving technology, construction, healthcare, local products like old fashion cocktail mixers, to industrial & manufacturing and Amazon sales.