“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing. “–Guy Kawasaki, Former Chief Evangelist, Apple Corporation and Co-founder of Alltop.com
It’s been a long time since Guy Kawasaki worked for Apple. But even way back then, Guy and Apple were way ahead of their time. They understood that pushing people to buy wasn’t the wave of the future. Kawasaki’s title (Chief Evangelist) signaled a shift in the way marketing was done. Even though people weren’t talking about “inbound versus outbound marketing” in those days, the concepts were there. A true evangelist doesn’t interrupt and demand that you conform. He or she says, “Come and see what this will do for you.”
For many years, a lot of businesses have treated marketing as a numbers game. If response to their message lagged, they cranked up the volume. They ran more ads. They aired more commercials. They mailed more flyers. In short, they threw more money at the problem.
These days, companies can’t afford to throw more money at their marketing problems. Instead, we have to work smarter. We have to use our brains. One of the ways we do that is to learn to think like our customers. What are they looking for? How do they like to buy? How do they gather information that will help them make a good decision? That’s the essence of inbound marketing. It’s recognizing that the customer is in control. We need to give our customers the information they want in the way they want to receive it. And then we need to make it easy for them to complete the transaction.
One of the problems we face is that we’ve been conditioned to think like businesses rather than like customers. We have to learn to think differently. Don’t be deceived. Thinking is hard work. And it can be frustrating because (initially) there doesn’t seem to be any activity associated with it. In the long run, however, it pays off. The alternatives to rethinking are to continue doing what we’ve always done or to try to throw more money at the problem.
We all have limited resources, including time, effort, and money. And unless you’ve got a lot of the latter sitting around, you’re probably going to have to invest more of the first two if you want to succeed.
What are you doing to learn about how your customers think?