Inbound marketing is not just another buzzword that marketers (over)use nowadays – inbound is an elegant, closed-loop solution, designed to help you grow a sustainable business.
Inbound marketing’s ultimate goal is to help you attract visitors, convert them into leads, turn those leads into customers and delight them until they become your brand’s promoters. Simple as that. Of course, the processes involved are far more complicated.
To help you understand what inbound marketing is really about, we’ve made parallels with today’s most binged TV series. Whether you are a fellow marketer or someone interested in inbound marketing as a service, stay tuned and see how your favorite TV shows relate to this innovative methodology.
Doctor Who: How To Retain Your Audience
Even if you haven’t seen the show, you’ve definitely heard about it – the British science-fiction program recently celebrated its 50th anniversary – yes, you heard that correct, the show has been running for half a century! How many companies can you name off the top of your head that can show a successful track record of 50 years?
And what’s the reason behind these 50 years of success? Audience retention. Doctor Who doesn’t just have an impressive worldwide audience – the show relies on several generations of devoted fans and acquires new ones along the way.
Doctor Who’s Inbound Marketing Takeaway: Businesses across all industries are battling for audience and client retention, but very few are able to show such impressive numbers. Do you want to be the Doctor Who of client retention? If so, you need to produce high-quality, informative and above all, engaging content on regular basis, in order to keep new visitors coming and existing customers engaged.
But above all, you need to be creative, innovative and bold in your marketing efforts. Don’t play on the safe side here – Doctor Who’s writers and producers never did. Your audience will get easily bored if you provide them with the same mediocre and repetitive content that a thousand other companies from your niche are producing.
Keep that takeaway in mind and let’s revisit this conversation in 50 years.
Game of Thrones: The Struggle for Sales & Marketing Alignment
Game of Thrones is one of the most talked-about TV series in recent years. Based on the novels of George R. R. Martin, this show is the most addictive and anticipated shows on television nowadays. You can easily spot Game of Thrones fans in your office – it’s typically the people who called in sick after the Red Wedding episode. But what can this tale of power and gore teach us about modern business?
There’s no doubt that the rivalry between the House of Stark and Lannister can be observed in every office. A similar struggle for power and recognition can be seen between your marketing and sales teams. With each staking their claim on different areas of the business process, aligning their work and finding a common ground for both marketers and salespeople is a daily challenge for every company.
Game of Thrones Inbound Marketing Takeaway: Sales and marketing alignment has always been a challenge for modern businesses – both teams rely on different tools and metrics to calculate ROI and confront each other when it comes to credit and recognition. Unfortunately what most marketers and salespeople don’t seem to grasp is that they are all part of the same funnel – revenue generation.
Inbound marketing aims to close the loop between marketing and sales by providing them with a common platform for mutual collaboration. Without effective alignment between sales and marketing, your company is up for one bloody battle for the new business generation throne. To help you better understand this Game of Thrones reference, take a closer look at Pardot’s infographic that closely examines that rivalry and offers all the possible solutions.
Sherlock: Quality vs. Quantity
BBC’s contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories has caused a worldwide furor. With only three 90-minute episodes per season, the creators of the show did something that no other TV production was able to do – produce such high-quality and engaging series that fans around the world are patiently waiting another 12 months for the next three episodes. Impressive, huh? Of course, once these episodes air, people are so eager to share their thoughts via social media, that Tumblr crashed several times during the season premiere.
But what can Sherlock teach us about running a successful marketing campaigns? Let’s find out.
Sherlock’s Inbound Marketing Takeaway: For content to be King, content quality must be your number one priority. Too many companies focus on mass producing low-quality or mediocre content, which negatively impacts not only their lead generation, but overall online reputation. In a world, where over 75% of leads are sales-ready before they even spoke to a salesperson, your prospects are relying on you to offer them informative and quality content – the worst thing you can do is be mediocre! Follow in the footsteps of Sherlock’s success – three 90-minute, high-quality episodes per year will get you a better ROI than 25 mediocre ones, that will eventually get your show cancelled.
House of Cards: The Power of Engagement
Talking about TV binging, Netflix made one of the smartest moves in show business – instead of following through with the linear programming model of releasing one episode each week, the producers of the hit show House of Cards decided to made allow their viewers to follow through with the entire season of the addictive storyline while they were already in content-consumption mode.
With this move, Netflix were able to achieve more than service subscriptions – they cultivated a far more valuable asset; a hyper-engaged and dedicated audience. Such level of engagement has better ROI – subscribers will be far less likely to cancel their subscription, especially after after having a great experience. On the contrary – people will be more likely to evangelize the service.
House of Cards Inbound Marketing Takeaway: Leads that are hyper-engaged with your content can be easily converted into new customers.Even if your leads are primarily consuming top funnel content, keep an eye on their behavior – it’s not always about what type of content people read, sometimes it’s more about how much they engage with it. Pay attention and adjust your lead scoring system accordingly.
Breaking Bad: Turning Customers Into Brand Evangelists
Those familiar with the hit series Breaking Bad, have probably heard about the fan letter written by Anthony Hopkins. For those of you who don’t know, the cast and crew of Breaking Bad produced a show so brilliant that Hannibal Lecter himself binge watched all seasons during the course of a week and wrote a fan letter to the entire cast and crew to praise their work. Talk about turning viewers into evangelists!
Breaking Bad Inbound Marketing Takeaway: Last year’s Eloqua Experience kicked off with an impressive keynote speaker – no other, but Breaking Bad’s creator Vince Gilligan, whose speech had a big impact to an audience of more than 2,000 modern marketers. Gilligan sat down with Oracle Eloqua VP Marketing, Andrea Ward, and revealed some valuable Breaking Bad lessons for marketers.
The first rule of gaining audience recognition – don’t make the mistake of thinking your audience is less intelligent than you are. “Assume your audience is smarter than you and has a ‘BS’ detector built in.” Gilligan said during the event. Forecasting your audience’s expectations is a great way to stay ahead of the curve and deliver on the promise of relevance and utility.
To be able to do what Breaking Bad did, you must treat your content communications as “teasers” to encourage interaction. “The teaser – or the first 3-5 minutes of the show — is written to hook the audience so that you have to watch the rest of it.” Gilligan said. This is how you nurture your leads to become your brand evangelists!
So let’s recap – if you are looking to come anywhere near the commercial success of today’s most binged TV shows, make sure to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly:
- Be bold and innovative in the way you approach prospects and existing customers;
- Align marketing and sales teams to ensure effective revenue growth;
- Focus on the quality of your content, rather than its quantity;
- Revise your lead scoring system and reward hyper-engaged leads;
- Continue to nurture your existing clientele and turn them into your brand promoters.