The economic crisis of 2008 impacted nearly everyone. Since that time, there has been some improvement, but lately we’ve seen the economy stall or get worse for some countries. In Europe and elsewhere, major financial and political uncertainty have decelerated economic activity. Some sectors, such as the historically robust luxury goods market, only saw a 1% growth rate between 2015-2016. Consider these facts:
- So-called “borderless consumers” impacted the luxury goods industry by ballooning it to over €250 Billion in 2015, but growing digitization will no doubt impact overall sales for brick and mortar stores globally.
- For the automobile industry, North America is performing at historic levels, but in the E.U., struggling economies are getting very close to recession levels, thus impacting the industry as a whole.
Many companies are now wondering how they can continue to see positive sales growth during turbulent economic times, but the great thing is that new marketing tactics and technologies are also emerging to keep up consumer interest.
Outbound Marketing Techniques need to evolve
Today’s consumer expects much more from the products and services they purchase. Because of the fragile global economy we’ve seen over the past decade or so, potential clients or customers are more choosy and burdened by more sales messages throughout a given day. Sales teams assigned to making cold calls and sending emails that wind up in the trash bin are not enough anymore. Outbound marketing, as we know it, is in need of an upgrade.
Many people now have smart email filters that block out any type of unwanted or unsolicited information, even if it is personalized. And cold-calling is losing efficiency, with most calls being filtered by staff, administrative assistants or caller ID and voicemails. Many companies are also getting into the habit of not releasing phone numbers outside of customer service lines.
Word of mouth is also causing traditional marketing techniques, such as PR, TV or radio advertisements and digital advertising to take a hit, and new technologies now allow users to fast-forward or close something that they don’t want to see or hear in those channels.
According to Wordstream, here are some major problems with those particular (and more traditional) outbound marketing channels:
- Difficulty in tracking return on investment (ROI)
- Increasing blocking techniques (Do not call list, Spam filters, TiVo, etc)
- High cost, low yield.
Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing, as opposed to Outbound marketing, provides a solution to a potential customer who is actually searching for it, instead of disruptively trying to sell a possible solution to a target that a sales team finds. With hundreds of emails and cold-calls received every day from sales teams, prospects are beginning to respond more positively to techniques that are non-intrusive.
Inbound marketing has been called one of the most effective techniques of the digital age and is more likely to save much more time, energy and resources than traditional outbound marketing. Chasing a prospect with repeated phone calls and emails may trigger the opposite reaction from what sales teams are typically looking to achieve.
But Inbound marketing brings quality leads, because audiences who interact with inbound marketing content are already interested in the topic and actively looking for more information, or to possibly purchase the product itself.
The typical Inbound marketing process looks like this:
Inbound marketing can even be complementary to an Outbound marketing strategy because it comes first, nurturing leads and setting up conversations for the sales teams to take over.
Influencer marketing: an important tool for your Inbound Marketing Toolbox
Influencer marketing is an important piece of Inbound marketing efforts for its ability to utilize trust, word of mouth, and emotional appeal to actually drive business results. Social networks and blogs have been primarily responsible for the popularity of influencer marketing and their ability to appeal to different emotional states of consumers.
They see influencers as someone who is credible and trustworthy and are more likely to act on their recommendations. As these influencers bring quality leads to your website or social media pages, it provides a ripe opportunity for sales teams to follow up with prospective customers.
When used with a strong Inbound strategy, influencer marketing basically delivers customers right to your door.
Because of uncertain economic climates and outdated outbound marketing strategies, Inbound and influencer marketing techniques can be the thing that determines sales and business growth for many industries.