When I used to think of marketing, I used to picture the scene in the 1992 movie Boomerang.
Marcus Graham (played by Eddie Murphy) and his brand and design team are in a big, official New York skyline boardroom. They’re brainstorming ideas to brand, launch, and market Helen Strangés’ (played by Grace Jones) new perfume.
However, she wants none of the normal, vanilla, boring marketing ideas they are presenting. She wants the exotic, the exciting, the bold, the most shocking marketing strategy put in place to represent who she is.
I thought to myself how exciting it looked in that room full of creative people. I wanted to someday experience that.
Marketing was not my first love in the end, but as I got older and tested the waters in my career, it eventually led me to the marketing world.
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I was exposed in the best way possible; attending IMPACT LIVE 2017, listening to all the amazing speakers, tips, and best practice advice for those new and old to the inbound marketing world.
However, even with the experience of an inbound marketing conference under my belt, I still did not truly know what it was like until I began working at an inbound marketing agency.
I had three major misconceptions about marketing before actually working in an inbound marketing agency.
1. It’s All Billboards & Commercials
The first misconception I had around marketing was that it was billboards, television ads, and as many may call it, the dreaded telemarketing.
Everywhere you turn on the highway, there is a billboard showcasing a store, restaurant, or any kind of service you can possibly imagine. On every channel, a television ad promoting the new Chicken Chalupa at Taco Bell -- but that was actually the old way of marketing; what we call outbound marketing.
That isn’t the most effective way of reaching the majority anymore.
What happens to the person who doesn't have a cable subscription and watches everything through Netflix. How are they going to be reached? Or the contact with caller ID? The other that doesn’t read the newspaper or magazines?
Buyers behavior overall has changed; people are living more of their lives online with email, online shopping, etc...less with print ads or even live TV.
They don’t want to be sold to and they recognize when it’s happening immediately. They are blind to sales messages being pushed to them through commercials, billboards, and other mediums. They ignore them and many don’t even encounter them period.
Inbound recognizes this and takes it all into account.
This is where content creation comes into play and avenues like blogging and social media impact the buyer's journey.
In inbound, we use content to educate the buyer, rather than send pushy sales pitches. Inbound relies on earning people's interest as well as trust instead of pushing services or products on them.
“Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.” - HubSpot
Which brings me to my next misconception...
2. Content Creation is All About Blogging
My second misconception was that blogs are the only type of content.
Boy, was I wrong…
Most people today are glued to their phones, computers, and tablets. This digital era has allowed them to take action and consume so much information in so many different ways without moving from the comfort of their sofas.
Content can be auditory, visual, or written. It can include many different elements, including Instagram posts, Tweets, Facebook statuses, and even video.
Social media statistics show that more than 1.5 billion people across APAC now use social media on a monthly basis, 95 percent of whom access social via mobile—the highest ratio in the world.
A lot of people are on social media interacting with brands.They are are asking questions, leaving feedback, and talking to their friends about their experiences as consumers. People are paying attention to brands on these platforms so they need to join the conversation; this is where they need to put their messages.
3. It’s Cut-Throat
The third misconception I had was that marketing was cold, heartless, and cut-throat. I envisioned a “Devil wears Prada” type atmosphere. (Yes, I watch way too many movies and television with advertising backgrounds. Haha)
I pictured endless meetings about hitting numbers at any means necessary. I pictured selling a client a strategy that wasn’t right for them, just to make sure we had business.
“Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer's buying journey...
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.”
This has been my experience in working for an inbound marketing agency. I have seen how content creation on all platforms, i.e. blogging, social media, and video has added value to our customers through their buyer's journey.
We’re not just going in for the sale, we’re helping people make more informed buying decisions and grow their organizations. We’re educating them so they can find the right fit for themselves, even if that’s not us.
In my daily role, I have the pleasure of live chatting with people visiting our site. They are able to ask questions directly; some I may not even have the answer to yet, but by engaging them in conversation, I am able to incorporate a great level of customer service and in turn, help them through their buyer’s journey.
Inbound is about truly understanding a buyer’s pain points and sharing the tools and information to relieve them and while yes, there are metrics to be hit and revenue goals, they are in no ways, by any means necessary. We’re here to help people and their organizations succeed and also to help each other grow.
Inbound marketing has opened my eyes to what a true buyer’s journey consists of. It’s not the old way of marketing that I thought of, with tv ads, billboards, or even pushy telemarketers.
It is the research process that a potential buyer goes through leading up to the purchase. And I have learned where we fit in and how we can add to the significance of this journey, by the content that we put out there to answer their questions.
So even though I am not in the fancy New York Skyline boardroom, and I am not sitting with top executives that consult models and actresses on branding them and their exotic perfumes. I am definitely where I am meant to be.
I am sitting in a room of amazing creatives that put the need of the client first and help create results that in turn continues the success of the client and their company.
I am in an agency that continues to help me learn and grow. An agency that continues to break the boundaries and drive success not only for their clients but also for their employees.