Recently, I was walking through our local mall and was met with perfect examples of outbound verses inbound marketing.
Entering the mall, I proceeded, head down and full steam to my desired destination, trying to successfully avoid all distractions and temptations. Suddenly, and without invitation a mid-mall, kiosk sales person intercepted my path and tried to squirt me with some rejuvenating substance.
I don’t care what you’re selling, how much it will positively affect my experience, or how “no risk” or “free” it is, if you are aggressively forcing your product at me, the answer is NO! This is the OUTBOUND approach so many companies employ and, hey, your cold calling, randomly emailing, or intercepting my otherwise peaceful day is annoying and, once again, the answer is NO. More than any benefit, we value our privacy and personal boundaries most and anything that violates that sense of security is bound to be met with hostile reactance at best.
Later in my mall navigation, a simple set up by a local bike shop caught my eye. Members were riding on stationary trainers, conducting tune-ups, and sharing stories of local routes with other riders and passers by. I like bikes so I slowed down, listened to what they were saying, and then stopped to watch. I was greeted by a friendly, unrehearsed “hi” and some anecdote by one of the mechanics about “don’t you hate when the chain binds”. Yes, yes I do! A welcome conversation about something that intrigued me was sparked by the simple, interesting, and unobtrusive set up (and eventually led me to buying some needed chain products).
This encounter captured the nature of INBOUND MARKETING which is, according to leading experts at Hubspot,
“…marketing that’s useful. It means acquiring customers by attracting and nurturing prospects with exceptional content, data and customer service, not interrupting them with spam. It means pulling prospects in with a magnet, not beating them over the head with a sledgehammer.”
The bottom-line here, the products I ended up buying and the experience, which I considered positive, helped reinforce my video production approach and education in sparking new, welcome, and meaningful conversations that lead to positive connections.