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Inbound, Outbound, It’s Not Either/Or

November 3, 2011

Maybe a content writer shouldn’t say this, but someone has to let some air out of the hype about inbound marketing.

For example, Mashable Business reported in a post last week that 44% of direct mail is never opened, that 86% of all consumers skip through television commercials and that leads cost more in outbound marketing than they do in inbound. These stats are based on an infographic from Voltier Digital.

Mashable’s conclusion? That “consumers no longer rely on billboards and TV spots” to learn about new products.

Maybe there’s some attrition. But it doesn’t follow that inbound is based on “earning, not buying attention” (what do they mean by “buying?”), and that it stands apart from other forms of marketing.

For one thing,  inbound does cost money. You need some pretty sophisticated tools. Relevant ads and content don’t just magically appear.

And don’t think that people will come simply because you have content. Tell that to the firms spending money on keyword research and content syndication.

Then there’s branding. As Crain’s Greg Grdodian has said: “Your message should be reinforced—many times, and in multiple channels—until the decision maker you want to influence sees you as a recognizable brand.”

Finally, don’t give up on channels like direct mail. Sometimes you have to reach out to targeted prospects—not everyone will come to your door. Anyway, does direct mail really have a 56% open rate? That’s not bad.

So take advantage of this great marketing opportunity. But keep it in perspective.

Thanks to Michael Harner for forwarding the link.

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