The question of what marketing methods to invest in is one that troubles all businesses. Of course there can be no universal answer for the most effective way to allocate a marketing budget – best scenarios will vary by industry. But recent research has shown that consumers do tend to show higher levels of engagement and positivity towards certain forms of marketing.

Inbound vs Outbound

Image: Walter Lim
Image: Walter Lim

The meaning of inbound marketing is somewhat open to interpretation and at risk of manipulation depending on who is trying to explain it! But on a basic level, inbound simply means that you provide something of value to your audience to pull them in. Outbound marketing, on the contrary, involves going out and shouting about your services to potential customers, it’s more ‘push your services’ than ‘pull in your audience’.

Since inbound marketing first started to hit the mainstream, marketers have been attempting to determine and demonstrate its ROI. Recent survey results from Fractl and Moz have certainly helped in that regard.

Consumer Engagement Levels

The study, which looked at the opinions of more than 1,000 people, the majority (73.2 per cent) of whom were in the 18 to 34 age bracket, found that certain forms of marketing tend to resonate more effectively with audiences, and more modern forms of inbound marketing were perceived as particularly effective.

The research found that content marketing, appearing in search results and direct mail were the marketing tactics that were most effective for attracting new business.

Furthermore, when asked about the marketing approaches that were most likely to have a positive influence on their buying decisions, the consumers who took part in the survey cited online articles, search and customer reviews as among the most effective marketing channels. On this point, however, there was some crossover between old and new as traditional advertising and direct mail were also listed.

Changing Platforms

Image: Moz and Fractl
Image: Moz and Fractl

The study results come at an interesting time for online marketers in particular. Many outbound marketing routes are being closed down or their scope reduced significantly as ad blockers grow in popularity.

Research from Adobe found that some 198 million people are blocking adverts online at the moment and with the news that Apple’s iOS9 will enable ad-blocking extensions in its Safari browser, this number will no doubt continue to climb.

Fractl and Moz themselves found that around 58 per cent of people they surveyed are already using ad-blocking software. Clearly consumers are not responding well to interruptive adverts during their online browsing experience.

The Solution

At the moment, content marketing looks like one of the best marketing channels to invest in to navigate the issue of adblocking. If you can’t force your message on to your audience’s screens, you need to entice them to choose to view your message. More and more businesses are seeing the value in this and creating innovative content-focused campaigns to help share and amplify their message.

Some, like Dreams’ Sleep Matters Club, are taking the long-term view and building whole information-focused websites publishing articles they know will be of use and interest to their customers. In cases like these, the most successful campaigns tend to be those that don’t even try to monetise their content until they’ve built up their audience’s trust over months or even years.

On the other hand, there are thousands of businesses already providing news feeds and blogs on their own websites with snippets of useful information for their target audience to find. Not only do these help readers to find websites through search and social media channels, but, when written well, they build trust between company and consumer, and deliver that all important positive first point of contact that helps smooth the journey from enquiry to sale.

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