How Does A Brand Transition To Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing

In 2012, the Encyclopedia Britannica – the go-to source for information for more than 200 years – announced it would no longer print its pricey reference books. It makes sense – why pay nearly $1,400 for a set of books when Google is free?

Technology has changed the way we access information, including how we respond to advertising and marketing. We can record our favorite TV shows and skip through commercials. We can install pop-up blockers to keep pesky ads from annoying us while we’re online. And many people can’t even recall a time when they answered a “land line” and took a survey about their product preferences.

Unlike the leather-bound reference books of yore, marketing departments are still relevant. But in order to be successful, they need to learn how to transition to inbound marketing.

What it means

Seth Godin coined the term “permission marketing” in 1999 – eight years before the first iPhone hit the market. Writing about this concept for his blog in 2008, Godin said, “Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.”

So how do marketers use permission marketing – also known as inbound – to make customers care about their brand? And how do they transition from traditional approaches to a new way of connecting with people? For the answer, look no further than the world’s most dunkable sandwich cookie.

What we can learn from Oreo

The Oreo cookie celebrated its 100th birthday in 2012. Already a household name in many countries around the world, Oreo expanded its reach last year with a social media campaign that won top honors in the 2013 Facebook Studio Awards.

Two ad agencies partnered to create Oreo’s “Daily Twist” campaign, creating 100 posts in 100 days, on behalf of the time-honored treat. Drawing on current events and pop culture trends, the creative team came up with images that captured people’s attention and inspired conversations, beginning with the rainbow-colored “Pride” Oreo in June 2012. During the “Daily Twist” campaign, Oreo picked up 5 million “likes” and increased customer engagement by 110 percent. Today, more than 33 million people are fans of Oreo’s Facebook page.

What Oreo did that was sheer genius was to create Facebook posts so intriguing, the media couldn’t help but write about them. The campaign was the subject of 2,600 articles, resulting in 231 million media impressions.

Where to begin

Inbound marketing is constantly evolving, so there’s no standard approach that will work for every company. Developing a Facebook and Twitter profile is a good way to start experimenting with inbound, though – your goal is to connect with people and to make them feel like they’re part of the conversation. Forget about search engine rankings; the companies that will be the most successful in the future are those that understand how to build a following.