Written by: AMA Baltimore member and guest blogger Scott Paley, Managing Partner at Abstract Edge.
As a member of the Baltimore AMA (What? You’re not a member? Get on that! It’s a great way to network, learn, and grow), you’re likely at the forefront of marketing.
Sure, you and I understand how effective marketing looks quite different in 2011 than it did in 2001 – a topic we cover at length on our Abstract Edge agency blog. But what do you do if your pointy-hair boss just doesn’t get it?
First, some basic facts
- 78% of Internet users conduct product research online[i]
- 46% of daily searches are for information on products or services[ii]
- There are more than 3 billion Google searches per day[iii]
- 33% of US consumers spend three or more hours per day online[iv]
- More than half of all Internet users read blogs at least monthly[v]
- In 2010, 90% of Internet users visited a social network every month[vi]
- One out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook[vii]
- The average budget spent on company blogs and social media has nearly doubled in the last two years[viii]
- 74% of marketers identify content marketing as more effective than traditional advertising at generating ROI[ix]
Online marketing that works
You wouldn’t choose to advertise on TV by displaying a static print ad for 30 seconds. So why do so many companies use email as if it’s direct mail, banner advertising as if it’s a print ad, or focus on one-off promotions and sales online?
You certainly can build awareness this way, but it’s not the kind that sticks. New media requires new methods.
In practice, this means we should create lots of useful content that educates, empowers, or entertains. It means we should have an active, consistent, search engine-optimized blog. It means we should participate, in a human way, in social media, and should keep tabs on what’s being written online about our brands. It means we should promote our biggest fans even more than we do our own products.
These are the tactics that engender deeper relationships and build trust and loyalty over time. After all, people want to do business with others they know, like, and trust.
Some call this approach “Content Marketing.” Others name it “Inbound Marketing.” Whatever we call it, simply put, it’s the best way to build loyalty and grow our companies.
If you’re already doing this, consider this article a validation of your approach.
How to convince your boss you’re a marketing genius
But what if you know all of this, and the problem is that you can’t convince your boss? What if he “just doesn’t get it?”
For you, my friend, I present eight things you can tell your boss to help wake him up.
1. More sales. Content marketing increases web traffic, generates sales leads, and grows your business. Companies that blog get 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages[x]
2. Industry expert. Would you like the trust and credibility you get as an “industry expert?” Industry experts can never be commodities. They add extra value and have pricing power.
3. Targeted, measurable, trackable. Great content, positioned correctly, is found and enjoyed by your customers and warm leads at just the right moment. You can actually measure that. Can you say that about your last radio spot? Do you even know how many leads or sales it generated, or who even heard it?
4. Wanted. Your audience is overwhelmed and increasingly skeptical of advertising. They don’t want their family dinners interrupted by your telemarketers or their mailboxes filled with junk mail that they’re just going to throw away anyway. They got DVRs specifically to skip commercials.
Instead, make it as easy as possible for your potential customers to find highly useful and relevant content on their own timetables. They’ll actually thank you for it.
5. Assets. Thanks to Google and social media, great content can deliver traffic and sales leads long after it’s published. Not so for ads.
6. Less expensive. According to a study performed by HubSpot, a company that provides a popular software platform for inbound marketing, inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional marketing. You can take that to the bank.
7. Reclaim the sales cycle. The sales cycle has lengthened, but your sales team’s role in it has diminished. By the time potential buyers speak with you, they often know more about your products or services than you do. They are aware of what people are saying about you in the online echo chamber, good or bad.
8. Really smart people agree. Let your boss know that Jim Stengel, the former Global Marketing Officer for Procter & Gamble, agrees with you:
“What we really need is a mindset shift that will make us relevant to today’s consumers, a mindset shift from ‘telling and selling’ to building relationships.”
Even the biggest ad agencies agree these days, which shows how mainstream this approach has become. Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide at J. Walter Thompson, the 4th largest ad agency in the world, stated:
“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”
If all else fails…
And if all that still doesn’t work, have your boss give me a call. I can be quite convincing.
Scott Paley is the Managing Partner at Abstract Edge, a creative boutique agency that has launched new brands for Clairol and Vera Wang, inspired a million moms to march on Washington, assisted American Idol’s fight against malaria, and helped increase web traffic so successfully for Discover Magazine that it was recently acquired. He usually blogs here. Follow him on twitter @spaley.