Let’s say you’re driving to the mall and, while you’re stopped at a red light, something bright and colorful catches your eye. You look across the street and see a giant inflated gorilla balloon, surrounded by multicolored streamers, all billowing from the roof of a mattress outlet store.
And, of course, you immediately think to yourself, “I need a mattress, now.”
Well… probably not.
At best, that gorilla balloon might draw your attention to the fact that there is a mattress store at that intersection. But unless you’re already in the market for a new mattress, you probably don’t think you need one now, and seeing a giant inflated gorilla isn’t going to change your mind.
So why do mattress stores (and used car lots, and thrift stores, and antique shops, and…) use garish outdoor displays to get your attention?
Because buying a new mattress isn’t the kind of thing you think about. Either you need one, or you don’t. But by drawing your attention to the fact that they exist, a mattress outlet store can plant the seed that you may need a new mattress someday soon. That gorilla doesn’t earn his living today; he earns it a month or a year from now, when you finally buy that new mattress you started subconsciously considering while you were stopped at that intersection.
Inbound marketing is a lot like that inflatable gorilla. It may not pay off today, because your audience may only just be noticing that you exist. It could take days, weeks or months of exposure to your message — and your purpose — for an observer to become a customer of your business or a supporter of your cause.
But because inbound marketing takes place across everyone’s social media channels on a regular basis, it has the power to generate immediate feedback. Your videos, tweets, blog posts, photos and status updates are an ongoing opportunity to develop a real-time dialogue between you and your audience.
Meanwhile, a giant inflatable gorilla can’t talk. And, unless it comes unmoored from your roof, it can’t move, either.
Your digital marketing efforts should be focused on bringing your audience to you, but if they’re limited to taking place solely on your own website (or inside your own “walled garden“), they’ll only work for the people who are already looking for you in the first place, or the ones who stumble in by accident. In that sense, they really are inflatable gorillas, tied down in one spot and hoping to get noticed by the people zooming by.
Are you creating messages that travel? Are you sparking dialogues and creating impressions that last longer than a passing glimpse?
If not, why are you chaining your ideas down?
Don’t miss another post!