Guest post by Darren Terpstra (author bio at end of post)
As you most certainly know, Halloween has come and gone. Ghosts, goblins, and other ghoulish figures were either at your door, or at your side as you knocked on doors. Bags upon bags of candy changed hands during the course of one night. One thing is for sure, at the end of the night, many kids and adults (you know who you are) were clutching their stomachs in what has become the traditional post-Halloween stomachache. This is the gut-wrenching pain where you know you have consumed more than you should have, and you think over your poorly made decisions. Hopefully, this pain has subsided by now. However, this entire experience creepily resembles outbound marketing.
1. Once you start you just can’t stop
The much awaited moment has arrived. Whether it’s a bag of leftover candy or your trick-or-treating treasure trove, once you take the first bite, the second comes that much easier, and the third. Soon, you’re surrounded by wrappers unaware of what has just occurred.
It is the same with outbound marketing. You start up with the expectation of “merely” boosting this one metric. A year later you look up and discover, you have poured Mounds (candy bar joke) of money into outbound marketing with no real clue of where it has all gone.
2. Costs just keep on rising
Was the scariest Halloween sight this year the prices of individually wrapped candy? Does it seem you said the last thing last year? It is not a localized trend; these prices have been creeping up progressively year after year with no end in sight (costs at Willy Wonka’s factory have to be passed on somehow).
Have you noticed the same trend with outbound marketing efforts? Ad spaces are getting increasingly expensive across the board. Whether it is internet, print, TV, or even (gasp) radio, the prices seem to be climbing with no end in sight. If only there was a way to invest in our own marketing…
3. People keep coming… till you run out
Have you ever wondered how kids discover you are out of candy? There has to be some audio or visual nationwide signal between kids, because once that candy bag runs out (and all you have left are popcorn balls) your visitor count plummets. Somehow they know, and you are now just a regular, old, boring neighbor.
Does “boring neighbor” describe your company once the fancy ads have run their course? Do you place another ad just to get some attention? This is the recurring cycle with outbound marketing. You are living the dream, until the ad dollars run out. Then you are left with only the memory to hold onto.
4. It is one way communication
Oh sure you try. You comment on the costumes or how big the kids have gotten since last year. However, you know there is only one thing on everyone’s mind, CANDY! No one really cares what you are saying, focusing instead on the sweet, chocolate treats you have in store for them.
Does this sound like your company? Do you feel like people only come for your store promotions or sales? Still, you talk at these customers instead of with the customers. You need to really learn about them. Do they have feedback which could lead to positive changes? How will you ever know if your communication merely spoon feeds them sugar rush after sugar rush.
That pain in your stomach may go away in time. But the costs of outbound marketing will continue until you make a conscious effort to make a change.
What other ways does this “Post-Halloween stomachache” resemble outbound marketing?
About the Author: Darren Terpstra is the lead marketing agent at Matrix Product Development. He runs the company’s inbound marketing efforts including a recent website optimization and redesign. You can follow MatrixPD on Twitter @KristieMatrixPD or on MatrixPD Facebook Page.