Inbound? Outbound? Fox-in-socks-bound.

By Julia Briggs / 18 Nov 2015


Did you know Dr. Seuss got his start in advertising and marketing?

The first ad campaign he ever wrote — “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” — promoted an insecticide called Flit. His “Flit” ads became a Roaring Twenties media phenomenon, as popular then as “Got Milk?” or the “Where’s the Beef?” were in recent times.

Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was fond of saying he ended up writing children’s books because of his contract with Standard Oil (makers of Flit). In his telling, the contract had no language prohibiting him from writing children’s books, so that’s how he got started.

Seuss wanted to stretch his creative wings, and he wasn’t afraid to try something different. It worked so well that by 1991, the year he died, he had sold 600 million copies of his children’s books.

Seuss’s promoted early literacy skills by using limited vocabulary and providing fewer words to digest on each page. He often started with a list of 348 words familiar to most 6-year-olds. His job was to craft a story that would capture a child’s imagination with just 225 words from that list.

This might sound like a nightmare for a writer — but if you are Seuss, you stick to the parameters of the assignment, add your own style and humor, and sprinkle it liberally. Ta da! Fox-in-Socks.

So what does Dr. Seuss have to do with Inbound Marketing?

Absolutely everything.

Inbound marketing is all about limited vocabulary (searchable keywords) and digestible content (articles, podcasts, white papers and such). It’s discovering the “348 words” your average client is hunting for online, choosing the top 225 from that list and using them to craft a likable story that will capture your prospect’s imagination.

You stick to the parameters of the assignment, add your own style and humor, and sprinkle it liberally with opportunities to encourage your prospects to click or download information. And ta-da, you’ve got Fox-in-Your-Socks. Kinda. Sorta. You get the picture.

All around you’re bound to outbound?

If you’re working for a large company, getting top people to adopt inbound methods can be a tough slog. Large companies tend to move more slowly than their smaller counterparts, especially if they have to change how they conduct business. There are some specific reasons why inbound is a sticking point for enterprise companies: large bureaucracies, fear of change, a tendency to flaunt big budgets, etc.

So how do you get your executive team on board with Inbound Marketing?

  • Turn your executive team into your first inbound marketing campaign challenge.
  • Define their personas and understand their point of view.
  • Make a list of common words they understand and create a likable story that captures their imagination.

Here’s a start:

Define outbound for your executive team
Outbound marketing casts a wide net to catch a few customers in a sea of loosely targeted prospects, using mass media to impose marketing information on consumers regardless of their desire to receive it. Typically, outbound methods include:

  • Cold-calling sales prospect
  • Creating advertising that interrupts people watching TV shows, reading newspapers and enjoying other mass media
  • Sending brochures and fliers to potential customers

Define inbound for your executive team
Inbound marketing attracts prospects to your message and nurtures them through a buyer’s journey. It happens by:

  • Making a business easy to find through Internet search
  • Offering relevant and interesting content via media such as blogs and podcasts
  • Engaging customers in discussions through social media
  • Using targeted media for prospects who opt in to your messaging, like through targeted email campaigns

Customers who get to choose their messaging gravitate toward organizations that provide it. The inbound method builds trust over time by publishing information that’s valuable for each moment in the buyer’s journey, helping them make better decisions and reduce purchasing risk. Businesses craft messages consumers want to hear, often in the form of:

  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • Videos
  • Social media post

Explain the Pros and Cons of Both

The ultimate goal of Outbound and Inbound Marketing is the same — higher revenues and sales.

Outbound Marketing
Pro: Reaches people who may not know to search for your product or service. Reinforces brand imprint.
Con: High cost, low yield. Lifespan of outbound is very short; ROI can be difficult to discern. Customers aren't always ready to buy when they get the message.

Inbound Marketing
Pro: Cost effective and non-intrusive. Aligns with the ways today’s buyers want to engage with brands. Inbound is built around the lifespan of content types, allowing you to discover and fill in gaps that appear over time. You have access to very specific ROI data.
Con: Must commit staff or outsource inbound strategy and tactics to be effective. Can be time-consuming.

Give 6 real marketing metrics that speak to your executive's bottom line.

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Marketing % of Customer Acquisitions Cost
  • Ratio of Customer Lifetime Value to CAC (LTV:CAC)
  • Time to Payback CAC
  • Marketing Originated Customer %
  • Marketing Influenced Customer %

Now, as Dr. Seuss would say…

“You’re on your own. You know what you know. And you’re the one who’ll decide where to go. “

Want some help determining those marketing metrics? Download our free guide.


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