As I began my own journey of inbound discovery, I absorbed everything around me from books to blogs to white papers to old fashioned face-to-face conversations. While there is a plethora of information out there about inbound marketing covering a multitude of topics, one theme I gravitated towards with great passion is the generational gap, both perceived and actual.
I rapidly ingested Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, and when I finished the book thought “I guess I need to step into the 21st century and join the kids on Twitter”. I didn’t understand or appreciate the grand expanse of reach Twitter covers…boy was I missing out on so much. I have access to insights from top industry leaders and can quickly reach my followers and their followers, so on and so forth, within moments, instead of waiting for an email campaign to bounce around, maybe reaching .1% of those Twitter touches. Ok, great, I am on Twitter…who cares? As a 30-something gal in the marketing industry, I need to be, but what about customers, existing and potential? Your audience cannot simply encompass the Millenials and industry experts, but are others tweeting?
About 2 weeks into this journey, I attended my mom’s 50th high school reunion. Of course, all her friends were excited to hear about my new venture, but I was hesitant to dive too deep, assuming they would simply stare at me with a smile and nod as I explained the world of the social mediasphere. Shame on me! The majority of her classmates are on Facebook, spend time tweeting, following tweets and do their research online both through websites and their social peers. They thought the concept of inbound marketing: reaching people where they already are and providing them with great information, was sheer brilliance and “it was about time”. This experience put me in my place and helped remind me to keep a more open mind and not let the generation gap exist in our customer base.
Great, we have engaged customers, but how are companies transitioning into the age of inbound? Turns out my preconceived notion of ageism still exists to some degree. It is not fair to say it is purely age-based, but experience-based. Those CEOs who built their business through traditional marketing tactics want to stay on trend, but are weary. They hire “young blood” into their marketing department expecting instant change. As we all know, though, change doesn’t happen overnight! If you do not allow the new marketing hire to spread their wings and actually apply the theories of inbound marketing, you simply have a new person doing the same old thing, yet expecting different results. The key to successful inbound marketing is coming together as a company, determining your goals, and adopting a plan of inbound attack to reach those goals, then executing together. Fortunately inbound marketing firms, like Adaptive, exist to help with this creation and execution process.
Inbound marketing made Forbes list of “5 Trends Your Marketing Team Should Budget For In 2015”, because of its continued success and measurable ROI. So, if all ages of customer are in the social mediasphere talking and researching AND you see a nice return on your investment, why aren’t all companies investing in 2015? I say let go of the past and start building your inbound marketing bridge over the generational gap today.
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