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Did you know that Attacat did inbound marketing? If you’ve heard the phrase then you probably will realise that it’s just a way to describe marketing techniques that encourage prospects to find you.

More specifically it includes SEO, PPC, social media, conversion optimisation and opt-in email marketing (a skill set any Attacat client would be very familiar with!)

The growth of the phrase illustrates a dilemma faced by many companies starting out. Should you:

  • market yourself on the back of an already established concept that people understand but risk being a “me too”; or
  • create a demand for something people haven’t figured out they need yet and be seen as the ground breaker, but risk not managing to get your message out.  (The “something” can be quite subtle, such as the inbound marketing case of simply wrapping up existing concepts into one, or it may be something totally new – such as the first company to do search engine optimisation.)

It applies to products too. It might be a new golf product that nobody yet knows they absolutely have to have under the Christmas tree this year. If it’s subtly different to what’s already on the market – do you call it a golf club or do you call it a golf slicer? Call it a golf slicer and nobody finds you, until that is, you create that awareness – an expensive thing to do. Call it a golf club and you can leverage the demand and understanding that others have created (you can tell I don’t play golf!).

Back to Inbound Marketing

Where did this phrase come from?

I’m sure it has origins involving mist, myth and mystery and maybe something to do with call centre marketing (inbound/outbound calls).  Regardless, it is making its way into common lexicon thanks to a company called Hubspot.

But why did they come up with a new phrase? They could easily have used Seth Godin’s perfectly serviceable phrase of “permission marketing” (the idea of marketing to people on their terms, not yours).

I assume that they set out to create their own niche that they could dominate and set the rules in.  I could argue that it’s a naff phrase that doesn’t encompass anything new, but Hubspot surely won’t care about my opinions. The fact is that there are few mentions of “inbound marketing” where Hubspot doesn’t come up. They do dominate their niche and the phrase has gained traction in the marketing world.

Google Trends

People increasingly understand the phrase and associate them with it thanks to Hubspot educating a substantial proportion of the marketing community about the phrase. Their marketing plan has to be regarded as a success.

Rapid Growth Optimisation

Here in Scotland, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is seeking to do something similar with his concept of Rapid Growth Optimisation, which you can probably think of as being a joining up of inbound marketing with more traditional offline marketing.

Gordon dominates his niche. Do a search for the phrase and he or his company Intelligise appear in every result, much like you’ll find Hubspot in a search for inbound marketing.

But Gordon is just starting out on this journey.  The battle to create the awareness and to get people to understand the concept is just beginning.

It’s a high risk, high reward strategy.  If Gordon succeeds, the beach will beckon.  There are, however, plenty of stumbling blocks on the way. Getting a phrase to gain traction is no easy task, and even if it does gain momentum, there is a risk that larger organisations with Mariana Trench-sized pockets could steal the limelight.

If it doesn’t work out, then Gordon may wonder if he’d have been better to build his business around more understandable phrases such as social media, digital marketing etc.  I admire the ambition though, so I wish him every success.

(If you are keen to make your own judgement on whether Rapid Growth Optimisation will stick, then you can hear Gordon explain the concept at the WeDO Edinburgh New Media Breakfast on Thursday 13th)

Keyword Research: a new perspective?

Understanding keywords has long been a staple of SEO and any SEO company will have a process of initial keyword research and ongoing keyword acquisition.

However it’s unlikely that many would include the idea of creating a new keyword niche as part of keyword discussions with clients.  It isn’t a strategy for every business, but the most ambitious should at least think about it, as when it’s executed properly it can provide you with a genuine lasting competitive advantage.

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