Jaymie Scotto Cutaia: Customer and prospect engagement has been a major theme for JSA this year. Whether it be through video interactivity, social media or email campaigns, as marketers it’s become more important than ever to strategically engage with the companies, decision-makers and influencers who support our tech and telecom communities. But understanding to whom, how, and when to engage is easier said than done, which is why I brought in JSA’s inbound and outbound guru, Account Analyst Megan Wesley, to help our Forbes community understand the best strategies to employ. Megan, what inspired you to write this piece?
Megan Wesley: My first marketing job was actually to be an “Inbound Marketing Specialist.” So, when I transitioned to JSA, a company that was only beginning to explore inbound marketing, but still primarily focused on PR, marketing, and events, I thought to myself, “what value can I bring?” From there, it was rapid fire – I had a team that trusted and motivated me to keep moving forward with inbound marketing – we are now partners with SharpSpring and HubSpot – and let me take my own path to weave inbound marketing into JSA’s portfolio. Inbound is a world that I excel in because it’s exactly how my brain works. I am always, always, ALWAYS impressed by companies who take the time to invest in inbound marketing – and there is no doubt that it is an investment, but one certainly worth making.
JSC: What’s the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?
MW: To put it simply, inbound marketing is the art of having customers seek you out, as opposed to traditional outbound techniques of you seeking them out (think cold calls or advertisements). I like to think of inbound as a more organic way to market your brand. The emphasis is put on the quality of leads, rather than filling your quantity quotas.
Funny enough, the first time I realized the effectiveness of inbound marketing was from a subscription box campaign. The entire time I engaged with this company, it felt completely organic and on my own terms; the way buying should be. We live in an era where buyers are presented with so many options on a daily basis, constantly being advertised everywhere they look. So you have to ask yourself, how do you excel as a brand without having to pay top dollar for the best-placed advertisements? You utilize inbound marketing strategies instead.
JSC: The article is all about the 1-2 Punch. Why is that strategy so effective?
MW: With a quick Google search you will find the outbound vs. inbound debate is very much alive and well. There are certainly many folks out there who aren’t drinking the HubSpot Kool-Aid and others who have a similar mindset of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As much as I love the taste of the HubSpot Kool-Aid, I can’t deny the effectiveness of coupling a well thought out inbound strategy with creative and enticing outbound methodologies. Don’t get me wrong, I am still not a fan of cold calls or unsolicited email blasts – but I am a fan of well-placed social advertisements and press releases. Just the other day, I replayed an Instagram video advertisement almost 5 times because I was so impressed that it was the work of a small clothing boutique. It compelled me to want to buy more from them, just because the advertisement was so well done. So as a marketer who knows how hard it can be to create fresh content, I was blown away.
But what’s also great about this clothing boutique? They’re combining these fabulous social advertisements with personalized emails and engaging social media content. I’m more delighted as a subscriber of this company’s news than I am annoyed by it. I’m always stunned by creative content, fresh information and new ideas, without the pressure to always buy, buy, buy. That’s the perfect balance of the 1-2 punch has to offer.
JSC: Specifically for tech and telecom, do you think it’s necessary to implement this marketing approach? If so, why?
MW: Although we’ve used some fun marketing examples (did I mention my love for subscription boxes?), these practices are successful in each and every industry, B2C and B2B. The best part about inbound is the personalization component, and every company, especially in such a competitive marketplace like the tech and telecom industries, must have that to stand out.
JSC: Anything else you’d like to add, Megan?
MW: A common misconception about marketing automation is that it takes the humanized approach out of marketing, but I would argue quite the opposite. When you don’t have automation in place, the alternative, other than cold calling, becomes one massive email blast, often times to unengaged contacts or worse, unsolicited ones. Marketing automation allows you to grow and nurture your leads based on where they are in the buyer’s journey, which to me is a lot more personalized than delivering the same message to each and every lead.
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