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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing - What's Best for 2017?

November 26, 2016
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Youve heard the terms inbound and outbound marketing, but do you know the difference between the two? To develop an effective marketing strategy for 2017 and beyond, you should have a solid understanding of both.

It boils down to what is best for your business.

Whats the Difference?

Outbound marketing is considered a more classic form of marketing. It relies on in your face or forced methods of advertising, such as television commercials, printed billboards, and print advertisements. Outbound marketing has been around forever and even pre-dates the formation of the United States.

The History of Outbound Marketing

retro-1139373_640The first newspaper advertisement to appear in North America was an announcement published in the Boston News-Letter in 1704 seeking a buyer for an Oyster Bay, Long Island estate. Andrew Bradford published the first magazine in North America American Magazine in 1741. He beat out rival Benjamin Franklin by just three days, but Franklins General Magazine was the first to introduce ads for monetization a year later. The following Century marked the earliest recorded leasing of a billboard in 1867.

AT&T ran the first radio commercial on WEAF in New York City in 1922. The first television commercial followed, broadcast by WNBT on July 1, 1941. Bulova reportedly paid $9 bucks for the ad. I doubt that anyone could have predicted that 75 years later, a 30-second ad could fetch $5 Million.

I would love to know who to blame credit for the first telemarketing campaign, but that seems to be a mystery. According to one source: Telemarketing was firststarted by some housewives calling people and trying to find cookie buyers. Despite the source being somewhat dubious, the telemarketing phenomena, which caught fire in the 1970s, continues to be employed heavily to this day.

The Problem with Outbound Marketing

One big issue with outbound marketing is the lack of personalization. Thats also a big reason why it isnt as effective. Outbound marketing includes advertising campaigns in the form of outdoor billboards, television commercials, email blasts (spam), direct mail, sales calls and magazine and newspaper advertisements.

Outbound marketing is throwing an announcement out there for anyone and everyone to see, despite knowing the majority of those exposed to the message may not even be interested. It also has a shorter shelf life. After your advertisement expires, it no longer benefits your business.

Perhaps the biggest issue with outbound marketing is the cost. According to Doyen Digital, outbound marketing costs 61% more per lead than inbound marketing. Outbound campaigns tend to be more labor-intensive and often involve a number of additional expenses. This could include printing, mailing, production and other costs associated with sharing messages through various forms of media. These expenses can add up fast and become a real burden; especially for small businesses, startups, and nonprofits.

That doesnt mean that outbound marketings days are over. Far from it. The key is to utilize techniques that are relevant and effective in 2017. You will find examples of outbound quick wins here:

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Outbound marketing costs are only projected to go up with technology like caller ID, ad blockers, spam filters and even Netflix, making traditional ad deliver much more challenging. That technology was developed in response to consumer backlash against forced advertisements. It has also fueled the growth of inbound marketing.

The Rise of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing incorporates new media like social media, blogging, and paid advertisements, all of which offer an opportunity for a more targeted form of advertising. Not only does inbound marketing target the right people, but it also allows customers to give their consent before you start advertising to them.

While outbound marketing is sometimes referred to as interruption marketing, inbound marketing is often referred to as permission marketing. It is less aggressive, yet more effective marketing approach. The purpose of outbound marketing is to reach the largest amount of people through cold calling, advertising, mail, or other proactive marketing techniques which are difficult for consumers to avoid. Some good examples of effective inbound marketing approaches can be seen here:

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According to Hubspot, an estimated 90% of marketing resources are still invested in outbound activities. Although outbound marketing was once the most effective form of marketing, inbound is rapidly taking its place. The decline in outbound marketing popularity is largely due to the rise in social media, which allows brands to take advantage of real-time marketing.

Inbound marketing first gained traction in online search. Social media further spurred its rapid growth. As people spent more time on the internet, it only made sense to advertise there. Google and Facebook have been the largest beneficiaries of this trend.

When you create well-optimized content, you have the opportunity to organically reach people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. Additionally, pay-per-click ads have the ability to reach your target audience much more effectively than a billboard. Instead of forcing your message on everyone to see, inbound marketing encourages customers to come to you.

The Inbound Advantage

According to Doyen Digital, SEO-generated inbound leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate. Why? Inbound leads are coming from people who initiated a call or navigated toa website. Theyre actively shopping andintend to make a purchase.

Outbound leads, on the other hand, wind up targeting people who may have no interest or need for your product. Cold calls, a knock at the door or a booth at a festival will not meet with the same level of enthusiasm. You sought them out. They may express an interest, but its not usually the same level of interest as someone who proactively sought you out.

Whats the Best Tactic for 2017?

Even though there are far more reasons to practice inbound marketing, it may not be time to ditch outbound marketing completely. If your budget allows, you should consider mixing inbound and outbound marketing strategies, especially if youre trying to expand into a new geographical region.

In this case, you could run television and direct mail advertisements in the new region prior to launch and then focus on inbound marketing strategies after the official launch date. You may also consider mixing billboard advertisements with social media deals.

If your company is on a tight budget, you may want to focus strictly on inbound, since outbound marketing can be more costly. You should always consider your potential ROI. Measuring your return on investment for billboards, television, or newspaper advertisements is much more difficult than determining ROI for online efforts.

Good Cybersecurity Can Be Good Marketing - Harvard Business Review

September 26, 2016

Recent research conducted by IBM among global boardroom and C-suite executives in 28 countries found that bettercybersecurity is among their top technology priorities. But while CMOs are key drivers of digital-based growth for most organizations, many are not in the habit of working with the CIO, and are certainly not in the habit of working with the security department. In fact, besides voicing a desire for a seamless customer experience, CMOs have been reluctant to get more involved with online customer identification and other cybersecurity decisions. Security experts have generally translated this wish into procedures that are as easy and invisible as possible for brand shoppers, while also delivering a degree of online security.

Ease continues to be important in todays online retail world, but invisibility seems to be giving way to more-notable approaches to being secure. In fact, one of the keys to creating a successful online business in 2016 was to show people your site is secure and trustworthy.

As a result, marketers and their employers are missing a potentially powerful brand- and business-building opportunity:leveraging online security measures as a way to build trust with shoppers, which will ultimately lead to increased sales. Online security and customer intimacy go hand in hand. In fact, consumers saythat theyre willing to invest the time and energy to adopt new payment technology for the promise of greater security, and two-thirds of ecommerce shoppers would modify their online behavior if it led to safer shopping experiences. Developing deeper knowledge of your organizations consumers may bethe best way for you to simultaneously secure their online touchpoints while providing a better customer experience.

Insight Center

To improve bothonline security andshopper interaction, brands need to employ a business-centric, holistic approach. It starts with letting consumers know that the brand is taking action. According to research by PSFK Lab in partnership with MasterCard, 95% of consumers expect their bank to have the latest technologies to keep their financial information safe and secure; 89% expect stores they shop at to stay up to date with the latest financial safety technologies; 88% trust that their payment network is arming them with new, secure technologies that protect them from fraud; and 83% are excited for the emergence of new technologies that will help secure and protect their financial information.

But the only way for consumers to know you have answered their call is by providing cues i.e., clues or behaviors that the advanced security procedures are in place (without making a claim or promise that fraudsters see as a challenge to be proven wrong). These cues can include:

A message that security systems have been updated, often with a link todetails A visual identifier, which could be an icon, and image, or the actual security device, such as the chip in new credit cards Forming a partnership with a leading security organization and placing itslogo on yoursite A slight change in the shopping process that requires an additional authentication step

A goal here, particularly with the final option, is to add enough friction into the process to stymie fraudsters, sending them off to pick on someone else, withoutmaking customers lives more difficult or stopping them from completing their transactions.

Additionally, given consumers increasing penchant for using multiple devices and making multiple visits, marketers need a broader approach to recognition, incorporating the various devices, behaviors, and ID personas users digital DNA. For a start, Amazon, eBay, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and others have already incorporated two-factor out-of-ban authentication, which uses a second item, such as voice or SMS, to confirm the users identity.

But with CMOs and CIOs working together, this could just be the beginning.

With the drive toward personalization, marketers have been in the business of identifying their consumers by more than just demographics, and have, for their own purposes, developed technologies to better identify individual consumer behaviors. And this customer intimacy can be leveraged to protect your customers. Knowledge of the consumers historical behavior, devices used, and places visited can provide an easier and more accurate way to verify the users identity. Thats importantbecause better recognition can lead to a better experience, which can result inexisting customers becoming more loyal and inspiring others to sign up for accounts.

Years ago, Amazon was apioneer in ecommerce personalization by offering automated recommendations based on search history and preferences. Fast forward to 2016, and one can see Amazon using programs that were initially designed for marketing purposes to enhance security. 1-Click and Amazon Prime are two examples. While originally developed to enhance the user experience, 1-Click transactions havefraud rates that are a fraction of those forpurchases not made with 1-Click.

USAA Bank is looking to remove passwords entirely for itsbest customers. In order to do this, USAA has deployed many technologies and approaches which help itbetter understand itscustomers. Some of these features, such as facial biometrics, are visible to the user. Others are capabilities thatoperate in the background, providing additional information to USAA with each user interaction to help itunderstand whichbehaviors look normal.

A 100% secure system may be an unattainable holy grail just when you think youve closed the gaps in your security system, some new scheme comes along. But the real holy grail is the ability to verify an identity without adversely affecting experience. Its time to recast the conversation about cybersecurity so that marketers can help craft a response in conjunction with their customer intimacy programs. The increased sales and potentially decreased security liabilities will be good for your business, your brand, and your profits.

Community-powered marketing succeeds where traditional marketing fails -

June 21, 2016
It's time for us B2B marketers to stop being so transactional and impersonalto stop believing that buyers' purchase decisions are completely rational. Buyers, after all, are people, not cogs in a wheel spinning inside their companies.

Traditional B2B marketing tactics are expensive and increasingly ineffective. You know them well: Online banners, emails from random salespeople, sponsored golf outings, airport advertising, billboards, radio ads. Our customers are swimming in messages about why our product is better than the next guy's. They're messages designed to promote, persuade, and convince, and they speak to the part of us hungry for just one more tiny bit of data that might help with an important decision.

But in today's highly-connected, information-saturated environments, they're losing their power.

Our customers' behaviors are changing. And if we want to continue to connect with them, our methods must change too.

That's why I'm pulling for a community-powered approach to marketing.

From push to pull

Traditional forms of marketing are what I call "push" marketing. They work according to a familiar dynamic: we develop complex creative campaigns with meticulously refined, targeted messaging, and then push those materials into places where potential consumers might encounter them. They attempt to predict and guide decisions and behaviors by saying exactly the right thing at precisely the right time to just the right personin the hope that all this will generate sales.

But today these activities are losing their utility and relevance. Customers are actually quite adept at learning what they need to know about products and services. Doing that has become rather easy in a world filled with blog posts, online peer connections, reviews, and recommendation engines. In fact, most B2B customers today are about 60 percent of the way through the sales process before one of your salespeople ever gets a chance to chat with them! Customers have become self-directed. They're using all the devices, channels, and resources at their disposal to develop their own impressions and form their own conclusions. They don't need us pushing more onto their plates.

And yet we continue to push. We obsess over our broad, sweeping campaigns that attempt to speak to a "targeted" mass market (which, really, are about what we want people to know, not what they want to know). We continue to operate like the traditional managers in Jim Whitehurst's The Open Organization, developing initiatives and issuing them from above, expecting them to radiate outward and downward.

Quite simply, buyers today aren't looking for products (there are so many products today, and most are pretty great). Instead, they're looking for solutions to their problems, and the confidence that they're deciding on the right partner for these solutions. In that case, there's usually only one option that works best for themand it's different for everyone.

We need to fundamentally rethink how we're engaging with savvy and self-directed customers with clearly-defined challenges. Instead of pushing messages at them, we need to create relationships and environments that encourage people to pull from us what they need, when they need it.

"Pulling" is an altogether new dynamic, and it requires marketers to take a different role in customers' lives. In their book, Communities Dominate Brands (which an community member recently recommended I readthanks!), authors Tomi Ahonen and Alan Moore suggest that marketers abandon "interruptive" marketing tactics (those "pushy" ones based on interrupting what people are doing to tell them about your cool product or service) in favor of "engagement marketing"a type of activity that requires getting involved in people's lives, really learning and understanding their pain points, speaking to them where they are (not merely sending messages from "above"), becoming a trusted resource for them as they work through whatever problems they ask for help solving (problems they know best).

More than a vendor

When we shift our marketing dynamic from "push" to "pull," we recognize that we're now responsible for becoming part of potential partners' self-directed research, for enriching and assisting them at the moment they decide they'd like us to. It means leaving behind a comfortable, familiar approach to sales (capture an inquiry, nurture it through the sales funnel, sell and close!) and shifting to a much more complicated one: Creating whole environments full of resources that people find useful for solving real-world problems, and developing genuine relationships that encourage people to view you as a partner (not just a "vendor").

It's an approach not focused on abstract messaging, but on the power of community playing a pivotal role in driving conversations happening around the solutions we offer (online and elsewhere).

Communities are important to us at Red Hat, the open source software company where I lead teams focused on brand awareness, corporate marketing, and strategy. But they're also becoming more important to all of us as marketersregardless of our product or sector.

Communities are groups united to tackle shared problems or address shared issues, and when marketing becomes community-powered it immediately becomes more personal, emotional, and context-specific. It becomes less about "campaigns" (which presume that your timeline for offering solutions is the same as your customers') and more about stories, journeys, and brands.

Stories, journeys, and brands

Stories are the community-powered version of what B2B marketers call "customer references" and "case studies." We need to recognize these as the narratives that convey the arc of a customer's movement from problem to solution, one filled with potholes, detours, and trials. These aren't focused on key performance indicators. They're focused on the emotional dimension of a customer's victory in an increasingly challenging space.

Journeys are those customers' movementswhat the stories track and relate. They're what we get when those impersonal "funnels" or "pipelines" become community-powered. They're wider and more ambiguous in shape and scope than what we're used to, because they're non-linear (sometimes frustratingly so!). A community-powered approach to customer experience focuses less on moving customers through a traditional sales funnelobsesses less about "leads" and "velocity" and "handoffs"and instead pours its energy into understanding customers' difficult, non-linear movements through self-defined problems and offering customers help along the way (perhaps access to resources like good data, new stories, or peers in similar situations). Customers may need to lean on you for advice and support multiple times throughout their journeys. Will you be there when they ask for help?

Brands are the identities we leverage to establish trust and credibility with customers throughout their journeys. When marketing becomes community-powered, brands trump "messages" as the face of our engagements with those customers. I've kept this in mind as I've worked with my teams at Red Hat, where we've developed a brand platform that articulates long-lasting, core valuesthen charged individual teams with finding their own creative, innovative ways to express that core. More than ever, brands must clearly articulate their reasons for beingtheir missions. I like to put it this way: Why are you in business in the first place? If your business evaporated overnight, what would the worldincluding your customersbe losing? Answers to those questions should guide your every interaction with customers along their respective journeys, as you craft the stories that see them through what ails them.

Pushing our customers is losing its effectiveness. Messaging, campaigns, impersonal funnelsnone of this is delivering the results we need. That's why, as we continue to define what direction the future of marketing will take, I'm pulling for a community-powered approach that makes us an integral part of our customers' journeys.

PSA: Google Maps For Android Can Navigate To Multiple Destinations (With A Little Help From A Desktop) - Android Police

April 16, 2016

Officially, the Android version of Google Maps can't navigate to multiple successive destinations, which is something that the desktop/web version of Google Maps has been able to do for some time. (It's possible search for stops along a single route, but not add new destinations further down the line.) If users try to send directions for multiple destinations to a phone or tablet, they get this discouraging little message:


But an Android Police reader has found a way around that, perhaps discovering an upcoming feature in the process. Simply copy the full URL for the multiple destination route somewhere that's accessible from a phone, like Pushbullet, Google Keep, or even a simple email, and open it from a phone with Google Maps. Bingo, a trip with multiple destinations appears, complete with the ability to use Google Maps' built-in navigation service to go through the serial stops. This should work on Windows, OS X, Linux, and Chromebooks.

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Google may or may not be planning to bring the multiple destination feature to Android proper. This behavior could be a result of the Google Maps Android client working with something that the platform supports, but not the app itself. Or it could be that Google has already laid the groundwork for the feature without finalizing it on the user end - something that we've seen them do with first-party apps, and Android itself, for years. We'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks: Kai

There Are Always New Ideas About Search Engine Optimization

December 8, 2015
seo services dallas

To put it frankly, the world revolves around Google. If your site isn't optimized for Google searches (or Yahoo! Or any of the major search engines, you aren't reaching your full potential. Implement the tips provided here to optimize your website and increase your users.

Make a number of mini-sites that lead back to your main site. This way, each site can focus on one or two keywords and have a fully functional site that you can optimize and get traffic for, but serves a dual purposes since it will link back to your main website. The more mini-sites you have, the more point to your original site, and that will cause it to rise in the search engine page rankings.

If you operate a WordPress blog, the best way to handle SEO is to grab one of the server's many plug-in options. Instead of looking around and reading articles, you can handle everything on-site. A lot of the difficult steps of the past have been automated on a site like WordPress, so tinkering with the site a little bit, can turn you into an SEO aficionado.

Take care when using your social media presence to boost your main site's PageRank. The data you provide on your social media pages (e.g. Twitter and Facebook bios) should dovetail with the main keywords of your website. This establishes a relationship between the two that can help improve the positioning of both your social media presence and your main site.

Be smart with where you place the keywords in your site. Makes sure to place them in aspects of your sites such as URLs, titles and content image names, etc. Think about what terms your visitors would use to find your content and what they'd expect to see when they arrived.

Make sure that your URLs are SEO user friendly. Your site will instantly become more visible if your site has a name that people may search for. This is a fairly easy step that can bring your website to a whole new level of visibility and popularity.

Before hiring an SEO company to represent your business, make sure you dallas seo expert ask a lot of questions and what risks may be involved. Take a few days and do your own research. In broad terms, "shop around" so you get a sense of what sort of results you should expect from the company you are to deal with.

Find your keywords. Search through other sites to find out what keywords will be most likely to link back to your website. Use this information to plan the keywords you will use to increase volume to your site. The better matches you have, the more likely you will be to increase visitors.

Publish content with as little HTML code as possible. Search engines prefer pages that favor actual content instead of tons of HTML code. In fact, they consistently rank them higher. So, when writing with SEO in mind, keep the code simple and concentrate on engaging your audience through your words.

If you are going to make progess on your search engine visibility, you are going to have to continually work at it. The tactics to get to the top of the search engine are constantly changing, so you are going to have to stay on top of all of the new techniques and processes.

A very simple strategy for SEO is to use your own site to boost traffic. Use the integration of internal links to your site. Create back links to your archives often, but be sure that the links that you are providing are appropriate to the information that the readers are seeking.

When using Twitter, employ a URL shortener that utilizes a 301 redirect to ensure you're getting the full benefits of the inbound link. provides great statistics in addition to using the 301 redirect, and therefore is an excellent choice. You can keep track of the click-through numbers on each link that you shorten.

To get an immediate increase in search engine traffic pay attention to the news. Most search engine algorithms will place your link at the top if you cover a soon to be searched for topic before other sites do. To get the latest scoops you can follow people relevant to your site's topic on Twitter.

Try using Adwords in connection with geo-targeting. This can help you see how visitors from different areas all over the world affect your rankings. Global figure conversion can questionable, but Adwords does give you a bit of insight as to how well you are doing in other countries.

When designing your website, focus more on long-term SEO efforts than short-term. Long-term SEO efforts mean designing high-quality content and updating your site regularly, in order to encourage linking. Short-term SEO focuses on beating the search engine algorithms. The flaw there is that those algorithms are constantly changing, while users' desire for good content is continuous.

When you choose an SEO services company, remember that they are working for you. If they ask you to provide a lot of information that you have no way of having, they are not doing their job. For example, if they ask you to provide keywords, that's a sign you should run away! The SEO services company you hire should generate strong keywords for you, not vice versa!

You can optimize your blog for search engines by using SEO-friendly URLs for each blog post. If you are using your blog to make money, most blogging services offer this option, which is a must-do. Rather than allowing the service to assign a generic URL, create your own post URL that includes keywords.

Don't ignore long-tail keywords. when optimizing your content, long-tail keywords could grab you traffic faster than your primary keywords because they have far less competition. Do your research and find keyword combinations that are related to your main keywords in any of a number of ways. Brainstorm all the different reasons why people would be typing your keywords and research related issues, problems and ideas to find new long-tail keywords to use.

Search engine optimization is something every website owner should be knowledgeable about. Thanks to this article, you now have the information you need to ensure your own site is search engine friendly. If you follow our advice, you should see new visitors finding your site through search engines in no time.

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