Inbound Marketing: Old Beverage, New Bottle

by Lori Saitz on April 14, 2010

There’s a lot of talk these days about inbound marketing.

What’s that?

Well, most inbound marketing revolves around the use of Google, social media and blogs. In contrast, and just to clarify, most “traditional” marketing, such as cold-calling, email blasts, advertising, and direct mail would be called outbound marketing.

It’s a matter of pushing a message out when you want people to hear it vs. pulling interested parties in to your world when they’re ready to pay attention.

When I started thinking more about this topic, it occurred to me that not all inbound marketing involves the Internet. There is such a thing as traditional inbound marketing too.

Maybe you’ve heard of being a source of influence or a connector.

There are some people in the world on whom others rely for valuable information. The influencers know where you can get the best Italian food, view of the Golden Gate Bridge or deal on an HDTV. They know who you should connect with for your particular business issue today and are happy to put you in touch with her.

People call them. They don’t have to go out and shout about what they know or how they can help you. They’ve created an inbound flow through their reputation of listening, learning and then being generous in sharing knowledge. They get referrals and word of mouth business.

Their form of inbound marketing existed long before the Internet.

Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, was quoted at the Inbound Marketing Summit last year as saying, “Listening is the new black.”

Sorry, but this is not new.

This is the main component of traditional marketing, or building relationships, (which is what marketing and customer service is). Maybe the new part is applying it to online marketing.

But it’s always been the starting point for any kind of inbound marketing.

So what’s the relevance for you?

Think about all the opportunities you have to position yourself as the go-to person in your community. You don’t have to be the most outgoing, extroverted person either, if that’s not your personality.

Remember, this strategy starts with listening, which some of those more gregarious networkers don’t do! Be yourself, go out, get to know others and get to know what they know.

See, you don’t have to know everything yourself, you just have to know where to find information. Then you can connect others to it.

And pretty soon, you become that go-to person and, now, you’ve created your own, traditional, inbound marketing.


Image: melgupta’s Flickrstream, Creative Commons

Regular contributor Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She helps people show appreciation for and give recognition to others. The main (delicious!) tool her team uses to help accomplish this important feat is through The Gratitude Cookie™. A thin, crunchy cross between a butter and a sugar cookie, The Gratitude Cookie is so named because if you’re eating the cookies, you’re encouraged to think about something you are grateful for as you munch on each one. Connect with her on Twitter.

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