Ask most consumers what they think of marketing and they’ll tell you it’s some company pushing them to buy something they may or may not want. Those of us involved in marketing may claim that’s an inaccurate definition of marketing (and it’s not even a good definition of sales!). Guess what? It doesn’t matter what we think!
One of the major shifts in business over the last few years is that the consumer is now in charge. Her impression of what your company is all about is more important than what you say your company is about. So if she thinks she’s being pushed, that’s all that matters.
Guess what else? People don’t like being pushed. They don’t like being manipulated. And they often have a mistrust of people who are trying to sell them something. It’s no wonder that traditional forms of marketing and advertising are less effective today. People don’t believe the messages that are pushed out to them. That’s what’s now known as outbound marketing. It’s focused on the company and it’s pushed out to the consumer.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, pulls people in. It’s an invitation rather than an edict. It starts with the consumer’s needs and desires and offers to help him meet those needs.
To be honest, good marketing has always had this focus. It’s just that today the consumer has more control over the messages she receives. Mute buttons and TiVo give consumers a lot of power. And if people can’t get impartial information from businesses (which many feel they can’t), the Internet is full of sources of information.
And that’s where smart businesses and organizations have gone. But just being on the Internet isn’t enough. That’s just a tool. The key is learning to use the tool wisely. It’s attitude before action. It’s learning to think like a customer rather than like a purveyor of goods and services. It’s learning to pull people in with legitimate offers and information and winning their trust.
Is your business pushing . . .or are you pulling your potential customers in with your messages?
What are your thoughts about push versus pull when it comes to getting your message out?