Search marketing, SEO, SEM, pay-per-click, social media – if you read marketing journals or talk to a recent marketing college grad, you might think these are the only tactics that matter.
There’s also lots of press being given to artificial intelligence (AI)-driven analytics and bot-created content right now, and it’s common to see recent articles on topics like “blogging is dead” or “long-form content is a waste of time because no one reads it anyway.”
If you’re a small to midsized business – especially a B2B one – these articles are just talking about the “latest and greatest” thing. They skip ahead of the important core work, assuming you already know it and are already doing it, and focus on what to do next.
So let’s back up and discuss the important stuff: the foundation that every business needs to build to have an effective strategy and balance of marketing and lead generation tactics.
We’ve written a lot on setting up a good strategy:
- Defining your ideal customer
- Setting your differentiation
- Getting your purpose clear
- Getting your messaging tuned
So in this post, let’s further the discussion about the balance of tactics.
We’ve discussed in the past that an effective marketing plan will have a balanced approach of inbound, outbound, earned media, and referral marketing. But like striving for balance in our personal lives, this is more easily talked about than implemented. The reality for most of us is that it’s no longer is about work-life balance, but rather about work-life blend. Our mobile, always-connected world has made the lines between work life and personal life blurry and squiggly, and it’s had the same impact on our sales and marketing.
For example, we categorize email as an outbound tactic. After all, you are sending OUT emails to people whose email addresses you already have (and hopefully have permission to use). But some emails serve as inbound content as well. We have a very popular blog post that was based on an email we wrote to clients. The blog is called If I Ran Your Marketing and has hundreds of views – a good example of the perfect blend of inbound and outbound marketing based on content repurposing.
Another effective blend might be to leverage earned media – say, a press release – and referral marketing, specifically your referral partners. You could, for example, expand your offerings by adding a new service or capability.
From the earned media perspective, you could then write and send a press release and look for an industry publication to do a story on your new capability. You can also leverage your press release with your strategic partners by asking them to include it (or a link to it) in their customer newsletter, on their website, or other relevant content they publish.
Of course, publishing your own press release on your blog or new section (you have those sections, right?), blends your tactics one more time by combining earned media and inbound.
A third example (and then I’ll stop, I promise) would be to blend your customer referral process and your inbound marketing tactics by doing a guest blog post on your customer’s website. If your customer likes you (and you know they do because they referred you in the past), then their website site is the perfect place to post about how you helped them get better at something (it doesn’t have to be directly about them in the text, however). Your customer has prospective customers, industry-related peers, and competitors that view their site – your guest blog helps drive awareness and likely inbound traffic via links back over to your site.
So while we tend to think of marketing tactics as belonging in various buckets, the reality is that they bleed across boundaries to create a blended approach. Next time you develop a marketing program, make sure you consider and work in a way to blend your tactics for new and different results in the plan.
Have a great example of how you blended tactical areas for great results? We’d love to hear about it – leave a comment.