Home Articles What is inbound marketing? Ask Kramer. Giddyup!

What is inbound marketing? Ask Kramer. Giddyup!


A marketing colleague used to tell me regularly to “Giddyup!” during marketing meetings.

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you remember well the demented antics of the bedeviling Kramer, who used the word with side-splitting effect (in a good way). As its origin among cowboys in the American West implies, “Giddyup” means quicken the pace, quit hesitating and dare yourself to put all that you have into it.

In today’s marketing world, marketers have more incentive than ever to dare themselves. The new game in town is called inbound marketing. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you’re going to be hearing a lot more soon.

But nothing exists in a vacuum: inbound marketing has its predecessors. So to understand how to Giddyup your marketing today, it’s important to look at what used to work, what you think should work and what won’t work anymore. To do this, I’ve provided a brief history of where marketers have evolved from.

Traditional Marketing

If you are a marketer who studied Marketing in Australia in the 80s or 90s you will recall Marketing being defined in a number of ways.

Traditionally, you had the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion.

If you learnt this one, you would have to be quite ancient like me. For non-marketers (the general population) their perception of Marketing was that it was “advertising” or the obvious latter “P” (“Promotion”).

Most of the Marketing conducted from the 50s through till the 80s is what we would term Mass Media Marketing.

This was the heyday for advertising agencies, when we had large homogeneous markets willing to accept standardised and mass-produced marketing of products and services. Most of the marketing communication was ‘push’ and interruption-based via mass mediums such as Newspaper, TV and Radio.

Market Segmentation

Toward the end of the 80s and early 90s global marketing and globalisation became more common.

This resulted in larger market places, a growing consumer sophistication and eventually fragmentation of markets (different needs and wants emerging).

In response to the growth of lots of different market segments, marketing segmentation and the development of specific offerings for various segments arose. Marketers realised mass broadcasting was no longer reaching valuable and viable segments.

Intro, Direct Marketing

Direct marketing involves marketing to specific segments that have commonalities, such as age, income, geography, education or usually a combination of these specifics.

This form of marketing is/was in the format of direct mail, telemarketing, email marketing, trade shows and door-to door selling.

Itbecame more sophisticated as marketers analysed segments scientifically with customer profiling and predictive modeling techniques.

Permission-based Marketing

The problem with direct marketing (even digitally-based direct marketing) was/is that the population is saturated with sales, marketing and advertising messages.

And technology increasingly allows us to turn off, shout out and/or filter such messages.

Legally, we have the Spam Act, Privacy Law, Do Not Mail Lists and Do Not Call lists, where companies can be fined if businesses contact customers who opt out.

Consumers increasingly need to give their permission for companies to communicate with them, particularly if they are not existing customers.

Direct marketers have seen response rates from Direct Marketing fall from around 3-5% response (on average across industries) in the early 2000s to less than .08% by the end of this decade.

Average email marketing outcomes involve a 2.5% click-through rate and 20% open rate, to existing customers (Source: Mailchimp, Oct 2010).

Enter Search-based Marketing

As the internet grew, marketers noticed customers spending more time using Search Engines than on big brand websites.

They shifted their online display advertising to search engine based advertising.

Increasing competition online has sent the prices of search engine advertising up and effectiveness of that advertising down. Online users now pay far more attention to relevant “Search Results” (Organic search) than paid online advertising. In fact, less than 10% of users click on the paid listings and 95% don’t go past Google page one.

We arrive at “Inbound Marketing”

Inbound Marketing, similar to a magnet, draws people to your product/service/site through great content creation, social media strategy, link building and Search Engine Optimisation. To draw in qualified leads you need to:

  1. Get found
  2. Attract qualified visitors
  3. Convert visitors to leads

The new paradigm involves engaging with others, creating compelling offers and providing outstanding value.

The tools of Web 2.0 can empower businesses like never before in history. Marketers can use video, audio, forums, blogs, PDF whitepapers, RSS  and a host of free open source tools like WordPress.

Finally, the consumer has the control and the power to search for information they want. Inbound Marketing finally achieves the ultimate goal of marketing, to put the customer at the centre of all of a company’s activities.

Now that you have that goal in sight, get ready to unleash your inner Kramer: Giddyup!

Jen Bishop is a marketing strategist with twenty years experience across a range of ASX organisations. She is passionate about Inbound Marketing, and is the current Director of Content and Copy Australia.