Have you ever watched The Dark Knight Rises and Batman & Robin back-to-back? Aside from the obvious question of why anyone would watch the latter, what’s the biggest difference? If you answered everything, then congratulations on guessing correctly. One is linked to realism (as close as possible), and the other is campy, stupid and responsible for destroying a film franchise. It’s the perfect example of big business not knowing when the process is broken and hammering an outdated method into the ground. What can this teach us about the dichotomy between traditional/ interruption marketing and progressive inbound marketing tactics?
Lost messages are common in today’s marketing hemisphere because interruption marketing is still accepted as the norm, and inbound is still considered fringe. Avoiding the technobabble, a good comparison would be that if traditional marketing and inbound were juxtaposed, one would be Jim Carrey in bright green tights, and the other would be giving Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne a compelling backstory to keep the audience coming back for more. Guess which is which.
With traditional marketing the company, through sales, held the power. A company would look down from its pedestal and be the one granting the information as it felt obliged. At every instance, the company had power to influence and convince, from the point of product conception to the point of purchase and product confirmation.
In 1995 (about the time that Batman Forever was beginning to ruin a franchise) all that started to change, and the proverbial Tumbler that was ecommerce was sent into a ramp-less jump. With online commerce beginning to match traditional brick-and-mortar commerce in recent years the traditional ad has become just another fading star in the world of cyberspace. The buyer was able to ignore the marketing message and go straight to what others (like themselves) were saying. The decision point became wholly and completely theirs, till death do they part.
The aspect of inbound is the ability to pull the customer into an engagement naturally, using a very real problem to “strike up” a conversation which leads the person to see the brand as the solution. Simply put, you attract the customer, convert them, and analyze the experience to see how you can do it better.
To use an analogy, it’s the equivalent of you being mugged (problem) in an alley and Batman dropping in just in time (solution). Obviously, this would make you a fan of Batman and a supporter of his activities and purchaser of Bat accessories (shirts, mugs, hockey pads sprayed black). It would do so because the experience would be inherently personal, something that was yours and yours alone.
Simply put: the consumer now holds the power. Those marketers who understand this (along with the inefficiency of outbound marketing methods) know that the natural engagements through this method promote problem solving.
What Isn’t Being Said
One of the current conundrums in marketing is that the camps of Inbound and Traditional Marketing rarely listen to one another, citing differences that have more to do with the way they speak to the customer and less to do with the message being presented…but that’s for another article.
Juxtapose the two methods of delivery and you will see what is considered a large, mismanaged police force verses a dark knight keen on accomplishing a specific goal. Through current process of marketing evolution there lies a great opportunity for the marketer to connect in a way that is inherently more personal and effective, discarding the cries and shouts in favor of a conversation that converts to the point that the success of your campaign begs the question, “Where do you get such wonderful toys?”
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