One aspect I love about marketing is how complex the field is. There are many different marketing strategies, all useful for different situations. The inbound marketing and content marketing strategy are two useful strategies when branding a business.
Content marketing and inbound marketing are two very similar strategies, but are also very different on an individual level. The Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Content marketing does not always push the company’s products, but it is a way to slowly build relationships with customers on a more personal level, in hopes that it will lead to sales in the long run. I believe content marketing to be on the less pushy side of marketing, because it is purely focused on providing high quality content that is applicable and appropriate to those individuals. Neil Patel made a compelling point that business who use content marketing in their strategy are proving that they actually care about their customers instead of producing advertisements to push their customers to purchase a product. This is a great use of content marketing to setting your business a part from competitors.
Content marketing does have its many advantages. By developing long lasting relationships with customers, this marketing strategy tends to build brand awareness, increase customer engagement with the brand, and boost brand loyalty. It is useful whether you are marketing for business to business or business to consumer. Also, by using high content on your webpage, it has a better chance of educating the customer base on how your brand solve the target market’s problem. That is what marketing is all about, solving consumer’s problems. With that, Lyfe Marketing produced the article, “Top 25 Benefits of Content Marketing and How Content Marketing Can Transform Your Business” explaining that by having polished content ready available to customer may help a business build trust with their target market because the business is providing value to their customers thus building trust and credibility. A main disadvantage to be aware of when using content marketing is difficult to measure customer conversion, revenue, and the return on investment, it is important to keep this in mind when deciding whether content marketing is the right marketing strategy for your business.
On the other hand, Optimizely describes inbound marketing as “a marketing methodology that is designed to draw visitors and potential customers in, rather than outwardly pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects in the hope of generating leads or customers.” Essentially, inbound marketing is creating a marketing strategy that is meant to attract customers to the business, instead of asserting an advertising agenda onto them. Inbound marketing uses two media channels to secure customers: owned media and earned media. Owned media will be those channels that the business has complete control over, these channels could be a company’s website, blog, and any of the brand’s social media. The great thing about owned media is the business has a control of what is publish, how it’s published, and the posting time frame. Earned media is the traditional media coverage like newspapers or magazines mentions, it is called earned because it usually results after your business’ hard work. A concern about earned media is the fact the company does not have control over this media, but it may seem more authentic to their target audience because there is no company influence over this media coverage.
Inbound marketing is a great idea for many businesses as it comes with many benefits, but does have its drawbacks. Starting with inbound marketing’s benefits, MatchCraft points out that in inbound marketing setting up a website is a fairly inexpensive marketing activity. Adding a blog and producing content is an additional step to creating a web page that can be a beneficial technique in inbound marketing. Similar to content marketing, inbound marketing does help businesses build relationships with their customers because this strategy of consistently providing helpful information over social media can build trust and communication between the customer and the business. With that, inbound marketing is has its disadvantages, it does involve a large investment full of time and money to construct high quality content to its customers. It can also be unrealistic for smaller companies as inbound marketing can require a large skill set full of web designing, content writing, SEO, and have a knowledgeable expert in social media.
Content marketing and inbound marketing are two great strategies each marketers should consider when deciding a marketing plan for their business.