Advisors: Stop Selling, Stop Advertising, Stop Interrupting.

The game done changed, but it didn’t happen overnight. Here are the highlights:

Since marketing was a thing: Traditional advertising was the way. Brands dictated what consumers were supposed to want, and consumers, in turn, believed that they wanted what brands were selling. Advertising messages like print ads, radio spots, tv spots, billboards and (worst of all) telemarketing reigned, and nobody really complained.

Nineteen-ninety something: The internet is a new thing. Savvy consumers now have access to a wealth of product information. Traditional advertising channels are completely saturated, and, more and more consumers tune these interruptions out. Companies find it increasingly difficult to measure the effectiveness of their traditional campaigns, plus these campaigns now cost more than ever.

Two thousand and RIGHT NOW: The internet has been around for a while, and the new thing is social media. Consumers are smarter and now they have a voice – they can talk back and tell companies exactly what they want. They can also put down brands that they dislike. Smart brands learn to listen to these consumers, and adopt aggressive digital, viral and word-of-mouth marketing strategies. These brands win. Brands with traditional campaigns stick around, but only because of their size. Often, these big brands don’t understand how to listen to and win over this new breed of consumer.

So, is marketing dead? No. But advertising is dying.

That’s right. Traditional advertising is dying – at least for the small business. But what’s taking it’s place?

Inbound marketing.

But what is inbound marketing – how does it work and where does content fit in?

Inbound Marketing works on the principle that brands ought to earn their way into customers lives by letting customers find them. In this case, inbound marketing is the opposite of outbound or traditional marketing, which is any mass market (read: advertising) message – like television, radio, and print advertisements. Inbound Marketing focuses on digital marketing efforts like search engine optimization, digital content creation (ebooks, blogs, how-to videos), and social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) because these efforts are inexpensive, highly targeted and quantifiable. Inbound marketing is also known as permission marketing, as opposed to advertising which is known as interruption marketing. Inbound marketing works to establish thought leadership, generate leads and convert those leads into clients.

Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot, is believed to have coined the term “inbound marketing” in this sense, while the term “permission marketing” was coined by Seth Godin – both are extremely potent inbound marketers. Flip through this slide deck for a bit more on inbound marketing, straight from the source:

In previous posts, we’ve covered a bit about content marketing (as a tactic and a strategy), and this is good. Delivering quality, consistent content is an essential part of inbound marketing, but there’s more to it than that! Parts 2 and 3 on inbound marketing will cover measuring campaigns and search engine optimization!
Stay tuned, #BLNation – we’ve got more on inbound marketing on the way!
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DJ DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web (about.me/djswitz) or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!