Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

Exactly When Did Marketing Stop Working?

July 24, 2015, Clarke Bishop

Marketing, well at least traditional marketing, stopped working in 2008!

The combination of the 2008 financial crisis and recession, plus the never-ending advances in technology, killed it.

Read on and I'll tell you exactly what happened.

My Marketing's Not Working Why?

Traditional marketing was never easy, but it did work. After all, people do need and want our products and services. Just get their attention and some will buy.  

Buyers used to keep Yellow Page phone books and other print directories handy. Not any more. Yellow Pages started to decline in 2008, and revenues are now just a fraction of early-2000 levels. Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do.

No worries, prospects just moved to the web to find your business. Except the web changed. Apple launched the first iPhone in mid-2007. And by 2009, smartphone sales really accelerated.  By 2014, smartphone web use surpassed desktops for web searches. Technology changed and buyers don't do what they used to do.

At least prospects still rely on word-of-mouth referrals, right? Only, referrals changed. Social networking usage took off for most adults in 2008 and referrals went along for the ride. Of course, referrals still matter to many companies. But, you need to be on social sites to get great referrals. Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do.

If you want even more data points:

  • The recession caused many businesses to rush to Google AdWords. Before 2008, you could buy many keyword clicks for 50 cents or less. Now, the same clicks cost $2 or more.

  • Before Google's Panda update in 2011, there were are bunch of SEO tricks that could get you easy traffic. Then Google put the Schemers and Scammers out of business, and they took out easy SEO, too.

  • That beautiful website you bought a couple of years ago still looks great. But, it's not setup for mobile devices and isn't "responsive." Google is now penalizing you for not having a “mobile-friendly” site.

Bottom Line: Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do. Fast changes in web technology will keep changing the buying process, and you’ve got to keep up.

Buyers Have Changed - You Must Adapt

In many markets, buyers refuse to talk with a salesperson until late in their buying process. It used to be that your salespeople had all the relevant data. Not anymore. There's information on nearly any topic all over the web. Your sales team used to have control of the sales process. Now, the buyers are in charge.

There are a few exceptions, but they are hard to find. One of my business friends runs a waste management business. He's got a fleet of trucks that drive around and collect garbage, so he went looking for some Route Management software to maximize efficiency. The Routing software companies are all on the web, but their websites are bland and there's little information. My friend wanted to buy, but was frustrated. It won't be long before one of these companies discovers that buyers have changed, and they'll dominate their competitors.

What's a CEO to do?

Prospects and customers still crave useful information to help them run their lives and businesses. They want it on their terms and time schedule. Deliver quality education and they'll welcome talking to your salespeople—at least once they are ready for a sales call.

It makes no sense to resist the wave of changed buyers. Give them what they want. Create quality content (Information that's helpful, educational, and easy to read). Then, get the content in front of your prospects and customers.

And don’t forget your current customers. They want access to your knowledge, and they'll appreciate you for helping.

The method for creating and delivering quality content is called Inbound Out marketing. It provides affordable leads for nearly all business-to-business companies and for many consumer-oriented firms.

OK, but how do I get actual leads for my sales people?

Easy. You're being helpful and spreading your knowledge far and wide—prospects are paying attention. Add an offer to your content. To get the offer, prospects must provide their name and email address.

So now you can call and email like crazy? Well, no. The buyers are still in charge. You'll just waste the good will you've created.

Instead, create content and offers that pull prospects down the sales funnel. They won't go any further than they want. They are still in charge. You can't force it. Make them feel safe and add value.

Prospects who are qualified and have the budget will gladly move through your funnel. Even better, your sales team can focus on closing sales instead of prospecting and presenting.

How do I know this will work and will I get a good ROI on my marketing investment?

Digital marketing is very measurable which lets us carefully monitor what’s working and identify opportunities for improvement.

However, focusing on ROI is in some ways the wrong question.

Buyers have changed. If you want to stay in the game, you've got to have an Inbound Out marketing strategy and deliver quality content. Otherwise, your competitors will quickly make you irrelevant.

Digital marketing has become a cost of being in business. Like having phones or office space. When was the last time someone tried to calculate the ROI of office space? No one does because it’s a cost of being in business.

To learn how Inbound Out marketing can work for your company, get a free Lead Boost Review.

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  • Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do.

  • Fast changes in web technology will continue to impact your business. Make sure you’ve got professionals on your team that can handle all the elements.

  • Inbound Out marketing delivers a framework to help you adjust to always changing buyers and get more good leads.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing

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