Outbound Marketing: The Shifting Tide
This week, we discuss outbound marketing, where the field’s been and its future role in the marketing field.
When this former print, bindery and graphic arts machinery sales rep first hung a consulting shingle a couple of decades ago—in what surely must have been a libation-influenced moment—little did I know I was entering the profession of outbound marketing at its pinnacle.
In the mid-1990s, graphic arts companies began to recognize the need to compete on something more than just quality/service/price. About the same time, "drip marketing" and "prospect nurturing" started entering our business lexicon. Having been a reasonably successful but relatively uninspired sales rep early in my career, these new opportunities allowed me to create and implement systems to organize cluttered "push" marketing activities for my retainer clients.
Within a few short years, my clients and I were referring to this new lead generation system as a prospect nurture program (PNP). We also created PNP’s fraternal twin, the customer nurture program (CNP), focused on managing upsell and cross-sell activities to existing customers. For nearly two decades, these PNP and CNP activities constituted the bulk of my sales growth agency’s billable work.
I used every outbound (i.e., push) marketing channel imaginable. In the mix were self-mailers, letter campaigns, postcards, broadcast emails, telesales campaigns and ahem (cough, cough), broadcast faxes—long before the FCC passed judgment on this notorious channel.
Since the earliest days of my company in the mid-1990s, my team rigorously adhered to the old direct marketing adage: 40 percent of a campaign’s effectiveness depends on the LIST, 40 percent the OFFER and 20 percent the CREATIVE. Back then, these percentages were good enough, but today’s a different story. Content is now king. Without great content, read rates and engagement (click-through) rates will rapidly plunge into the toilet.
The days of outbound marketing being the bully on the hill are in the past. However, there most certainly is a place for outbound marketing to augment inbound marketing efforts. After all, direct marketing always has been and will continue to be a good way to upsell and cross-sell your existing customers into additional purchases.
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Join me next week as we arm wrestle the promising, but complex beast known as inbound marketing.