Last December, StraightArrow sent representatives—Inbound Marketing Team Leader Chloe Villanueva and myself—to Ateneo de Manila University in response to an invitation to introduce some of their marketing students to the basic concepts of inbound marketing.
No matter the approach, the goal of marketing is to attract consumers by creating value in products or services. However, most textbooks and even real-life experiences of marketing consider only traditional or conventional methods: cold calls, hard sells, oversized outdoor collaterals, and so on. So we presented these students an alternative, a kind of marketing that people can love: inbound marketing.
At the heart of inbound is a commitment to being customer-centered: producing content tailored to be distributed at the right time, at the right place, and to the right people—not all the people. It’s a form of marketing that aims to understand and respect its market and, in doing so, earn their respect in turn.
To find the right people, you need more than just a profile with demographic information—you need to create a story about the business’ ideal customer, which we call the buyer persona. Personas always go through a path or journey before they make a purchase. An interesting insight marketing students learned through their own consumer habits is that nowadays, consumers are a lot more active, and usually do their research before buying into a product or service.
This is important to take into account while going into the four phases of inbound marketing: what are the best ways to attract strangers into visitors, convert those visitors to leads, close leads into customers, and delight customers to become promoters? These methods are executed mostly through digital marketing efforts, such as search engine optimization, blogging, direct email marketing, and social media.
I admit: inbound marketing is such a new concept for Philippine marketers, and for someone fresh out of college like myself, it can take some getting used to. Unless you’ve taken a digital marketing course, you would have had very little exposure to search engine optimization, the different tools that can be used for it, and the data that can be gathered through it. However, the internet is a treasure trove of information, and if you’re interested, you can learn more about inbound marketing at HubSpot Academy.
During our talk with the students, we showed a sample of a contact and the path he took through the website before signing up on the Contact Us page. There was so much information in the palm of our hand that one student even asked whether this practice was legal. Of course the answer is yes, since this information was just for the record, and we didn’t engage until the customer wanted to be engaged with—when he signed up, in other words.
This is one of the main differences between traditional and inbound marketing. With inbound, you use a more personalised and consumer-centric way to market. You present yourself at your persona’s convenience and wait for them to make a move, which is much less intrusive than some other forms of marketing that we’re used to. We label inbound as “marketing people love” because it is, two-fold. It allows consumers and marketers alike to experience a more genuine engagement, where people talk to people instead of companies talking to sales.
Want to start a career with the marketing method people love? Join the inbound marketers on StraightArrow’s SWIM team (you’ll find out what it means when you get there). Don't hesitate to send us an application.