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By: John Bonini on December 7th, 2012

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An Open Letter to Outbound Marketers

Inbound Marketing

outbound marketers

Dear Outbound Marketers,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I write to you today from a place of great frustration and confusion. I mean, I've been spending all morning crafting this handwritten letter because I knew it would go overlooked in your email inbox due to the fact that you feel it's reserved for coupons, spam emails, and chain letters from that cousin you haven't seen in forever.

It's been so long since I've actually, physically written a letter. I mean, I actually went out this morning and bough a calligraphy pen! Let's just say that experiment didn't go well. I had aspirations of it looking like something written by a 18th century poet. just looked like a pre-school finger painting. (The only difference is that my atrocity of a letter won't be hanging from anyone's 'fridge.)

Anyways, I digress.

Except...I have to tell you how frustrated and disengaged I feel at brands like yours attempt to market to me through outbound marketing channels. What do I mean? Well...I'm going to break it down into several categories to try to paint the picture on why your marketing messages just aren't speaking to me.

And here's the kicker; it's not your message. It's the way I'm expected to consume it. For instance:

(Don't forget to check out our free "Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing" when you've finished and learn everything you need to know to get started with transforming your marketing campaign.)

Your Direct Mail Offers

So those things that are coming to my mailbox? You know, that stuff the mailman brings? Well, it pains me to tell you that most of it is winding up in the garbage.

The reason is simple; I get much more engaging offers in my email everyday, some from your competitors, that I can actually click on (right from my phone!) and be taken to their website or offer itself. I mean, I'm not even getting my bills in the mail anymore, so my stock in the importance of what comes in the mailbox has dropped significantly in recent years.

And the worst part of it all? You have no idea If I'm reading or even seeing your offer at all, are you? So how do you know where the best areas to allocate your resources to if you can't even track the performance?

Additionally, what if I wasn't quite ready for the sale, and just needed a bit more information. How would you know this?

You wouldn't. Therefore, my business often goes elsewhere. To someone who understand how myself and many others are now digesting content and information.

Your Print Ads

As a journalism graduate, this pains me to say, but the number of people who actually read a newspaper everyday is shrinking dramatically. And it has nothing to do with people not having time, I'm so tired of this excuse. People have always had jobs. They've always had kids. They've always been busy.

The reason is they've decided to use that time in which they would be reading a newspaper, doing other things. Most notably; Facebook.

What else are people doing with this leisure time:

  • other social media sites (Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)

  • watching YouTube videos

  • searching Google for what they need to know (it's become the new Yellow Pages)

  • reading articles online (many of which have been shared by friends or followers)

  • trying to learn the 'Gagnam Style' dance (I mean...speaking for myself)

Yet, you're still spending your marketing dollars on a dying source of media. And don't get discouraged. The solutions are all around you. You can advertise on all social media, post videos to YouTube, and optimize your website for SEO to rank high in Google.

Sadly, I don't even look to the paper for my sports news anymore. Instead, I have apps, and I also follow many sports reporters who give me up to the minute news on my team.

You know who else is on Twitter marketing to me? Your competitors.

Your Cold Calls

I mean, let's be honest hear; how many honest responses do you think you actually hear with this method throughout the day? I mean, how many people can possibly be "in the middle of dinner?"

This method is not only no longer effective, but it's also damaging to your brand as it's not received very well – if at all – by your prospects.

Here's the thing, friend. I have caller-ID. And not only that, I have one of those annoying ones that actually speak to you when someone is calling. So I don't even need to peel myself away from whatever I'm doing to even check the phone.

It's safe to say most everyone has some form of caller-ID these days. So ask yourself, how many people do you think are willing to pick up the phone for your sales pitch?

So, I have to say that my hand is extremely tired. I'm afraid I've rendered it useless for all aimless mobile phone browsing for later this evening. All I ask is that you consider where you're currently allocating your resources and budget, because I really do care.

So while I won't have any clue if this letter actually reaches you,  or if you even read it, I hope that you do. And hopefully, I'll see you in the digital world very soon.

Also, be sure to check out our free ebook, "The Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing" for expert tips on how you can get started with transforming your marketing.


John Bonini

The Marketers Buyer Persona Kit

About John Bonini

As the Marketing Director of IMPACT from 2013-May 2015, John lead the IMPACT marketing team. He also wrote for the HubSpot Blog, Social Media Examiner, and Convince & Convert among others. In his free time, John enjoys playing guitar, high-fives, and anything with marinara sauce.

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