What Are Outbound Marketing Methods, and do they Still Work?

These days, we hear so much about the importance of inbound marketing it can be too easy to forget that there are any other options.

Whilst it’s most certainly true that in 2016 inbound is unequivocally reigning supreme, it’s important for all marketers to take all approaches into account. So let’s today consider outbound marketing and whether or not it still has a place in the modern world.

What Are Outbound Marketing Methods? 

Outbound marketing, aka “traditional marketing”, refers to the old ways that companies went about making connections with customers.
Perhaps it’s best to contrast outbound marketing with inbound marketing – the latter being what most of us are more familiar with these days.
Inbound marketing is the process of creating various content, usually for the web – blogs, eBooks, videos, whitepapers, even websites themselves – in order that your potential customers may find you.
Outbound marketing, by contrast, is all about a company initiating customer connections and conversations itself, sending messages directly to a targeted audience.
Examples of outbound marketing include:

In short, outbound marketing tries to reach potential customers through traditional media advertising and in-person contact. The purpose is to generate sales leads, which are then passed across to internal sales representatives.
When compared to inbound marketing, outbound marketing is very much the aggressive approach – but does it still work?

Does Outbound Marketing Still Work?  

Outbound marketing, generally speaking, is being increasingly regarded with more and more caution by many modern-day marketers – not least over concerns about its costs.
TV commercials, trade show stalls, newspaper ads, cold call initiatives – all of these things are highly expensive endeavors, and require huge amounts of resources to complete.
The other problem with outbound marketing initiatives is that they often have only a short shelf-life. A TV commercial may last 90 seconds, and then it vanishes into the past. Newspaper ads suffer from the same problem – nobody reads yesterday’s papers, let alone last week’s. Cold calls very often end up with the prospect slamming the phone down or the door shut. Emails are very easily deleted – that’s if they don’t end up in spam folders in the first place.
By contrast, most inbound content lasts forever on the web. If you write a blog post, create a video for YouTube, or craft a whitepaper for your website – that content will still be there to be discovered perhaps years after you first published it.
Brian Halligan from HubSpot talks about the difficulties of outbound marketing:
“I think outbound marketing techniques are getting less and less effective over time for two reasons.  First, your average human today is inundated with over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions per day and is figuring out more and more creative ways to block them out, including caller ID, spam filtering, TiVo, and Sirius satellite radio.  Second, the cost of coordination around learning about something new or shopping for something new using the internet (search engines, blogs, and social media) is now much lower than going to a seminar at the Marriott or flying to a trade show in Las Vegas.”

So, Is Outbound Marketing Dead? 

Well, frankly, it all depends on your target customer.
Generally speaking, if you’ve got a product that’s aimed at an older demographic, then writing inbound blogs and posting links to them on Facebook and Twitter might not have much of an impact. By contrast, outbound marketing methods – such as TV commercials and newspaper advertisements – are the types of marketing material that the older generations are already comfortable with. Indeed, many people still make a point of scanning newspaper advertisements when considering a purchase.
In the B2B realm, in-person events such as trade shows have been rated as the most effective marketing tactic for B2B marketers for the past six years running, with a 75% effectiveness rating being cited in 2016, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s yearly B2B marketing report.
And in truth, although inbound marketing is the most cost-effective option – particularly for emerging SMEs with small budgets and tight margins to contend with – there is still a place for outbound marketing in the Digital Age.
And this is something that I want to explore in greater detail next time, where we will be discussing how to combine inbound and outbound marketing to best effect. Look forward to catching you there!

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

From smart homes with smart fridges, smart heating and smart burglar alarms, to wearable technology tracking your health, fitness and sleep, to smartphones talking to your desktop your smartwatch and your home entertainment system – the Internet of Things (IoT) is already amongst us in a big way, and only set to spread its techy tendrils through even wider aspects of all our lives as we head into the very futuristic future.

What is the Internet of Things?

IoT refers to the interconnection of unique and independent objects and devices over the internet.
That being said, when we hear talk of the Internet of Things, what’s being referred to is more than, say, the machine-to-machine (M2M) relationship between your remote control and your hi-fi system. Rather, it’s the more sophisticated end of the spectrum – i.e. the advanced level of interconnectivity between devices, systems and services that’s being described.
It’s your smart fridge alerting your smart car that you’re out of milk as you drive past the shops, and your smart car’s dashboard notifying you to pull-in to the next store to pick up the essentials.
It’s your smart weathervane acknowledging a drop in temperature, and thusly turning up the heating inside your house.
It’s when you step outside and lock your front door behind you, your smart home automatically turning off all the lights and appliances, setting your burglar alarm, and sending a signal to your car telling it to fire up its engine – it’s about to be taken for a spin.

The IoT Is All About Automation

IoT is a broad term, but what it essentially refers to is the smart communications that smart objects and devices use between each other to enable the automation of functions – completely bypassing any deliberate human input – and covers everything from smart kettles to heart monitoring implants.
The Internet of Things is a big thing indeed, and is only set to become an even bigger thing as more and more “Things” are connected.

 (Image source: forbes.com)
(Image source: forbes.com)

Gartner forecasts that there will be 26 billion connected “Things” by 2020. ABI Research reckons that the figure will be even higher – 30 billion. And there’s more dispute. Cisco says that there will be 50 billion objects connected. Intel says 200 billion. And IDC says it will be more like 212 billion!
Whichever of these research giants have made the more accurate guestimate doesn’t really matter – the IoT will have a staggering presence in just a few short years.

Beyond Consumer Products

Unsurprisingly, the IoT goes far beyond the interconnectivity of smart devices designed to enable greater consumer laziness convenience.
No, apart from objects and devices, the Internet of Things is also about sensors and the gathering of data. It’s “Things” like iBeacons being attached to every shop wall and street corner, monitoring consumer behaviour. Other innovations such as smart cement that monitors cracks, stresses and warpages in the very buildings, bridges and roads underneath, up above and all around us – these “Things” are the IoT. As an article in Wired puts it:
“If there’s ice on the bridge, the same sensors in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information via the wireless internet to your car. Once your car knows there’s a hazard ahead, it will instruct the driver to slow down, and if the driver doesn’t, then the car will slow down for him. This is just one of the ways that sensor-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication can take place. Sensors on the bridge connect to machines in the car: we turn information into action.”
In the medical field, the IoT is already being used for remote patient monitoring. In aerospace, Rolls Royce aircraft engines in flight today contain sensors that send real-time data on the engine’s functioning back to command centres on the ground. Microsoft uses software to detect which features on its products are being used the most, so it can thusly strip back support on those that are being used the least.

Final Word

In short, the Internet of Things is set to be a global disruptor of practically every organisation in every industry. Try and imagine having to go back to using phones that are just, well, phones… It almost doesn’t bear thinking about.
The same will soon enough be true of roads, cars, homes, medicine, shopping, marketing, government and everything else.
What is the Internet of Things? Well, it’s everything. And, in a minute, it will be everything else as well – and all businesses need to consider the forthcoming impact the IoT will have on their industry and prepare.

Why Your Business Needs Digital Transformation

The effects of Digital Darwinism are being felt by enterprises the world over. The business world has always been governed in cut-throat “survival of the fittest” terms, but, as the relentless barrage of transformative technology continues to disrupt markets on every level, what constitutes a business as being the “fittest” is quickly being redefined.

Take the entertainment retailer and self-declared “Top Dog for Music” HMV, for instance. Here a company that once dominated the music retail market – and later gaming, video and DVD retail markets – became a most notable victim of Digital Darwinism, calling in the administrators in January 2013. Its failure is epitomized in the words of Managing Director Steve Knott during a meeting with HMV’s advertising partners some ten years previous. The story goes that upon being warned that among the greatest threats to HMV were music downloads and online retailers, Knott shut the speaker down, barking angrily, "Downloadable music is just a fad and people will always want the atmosphere and experience of a music store rather than online shopping.”
Its failure to evolve in a fast-changing market – changing consumer demand, changing technology and changing competition – ultimately left HMV whimpering to the administrators with its tail tucked between its legs.
This is the problem that Digital Transformation is trying to solve for the modern enterprise.

What is Digital Transformation?

Let’s begin with a concise definition: Digital Transformation refers to all of the changes associated with the application of digital technology on all aspects and operations of an enterprise.

It’s important, however, that it is fully understood what is meant by “Transformation”. Transformation does not mean a mere shake-up of processes, the exploration of one or two new marketing or sales avenues, nor even the diversification of current offerings. No, transformation means a fundamental, wholescale change to the very foundational components of the business – from its infrastructure to its marketing models to its operating processes, and even to what it sells and to whom.

But let’s not forget the “Digital” element. Digital Transformation involves harnessing the combined powers of the four great digital disruptors of our time – social media, analytics, mobile, and the cloud (known collectively as the “Third Platform”) – in order to transform the business from its current state, and ultimately save it from the onslaught of Digital Darwinism.

What Problem Is Digital Transformation Trying to Solve? 

Let’s be clear: businesses don’t one day embark upon a Digital Transformation overhaul through choice – rather through necessity.

In order to stay competitive in continuously-evolving markets, it is necessary that enterprises keep pace with technological disruption – in fact, it’s imperative. Businesses need to be continuously embracing new online marketing channels, bringing new digitally-evolved products to market, refreshing the value propositions of their offerings, and utilising cloud technologies to enable scaling and globalisation at pace. Indeed, it is only with Digital Transformation that businesses will continue to be able to reach new sets of customers and increase the lifetime value of existing ones.

HMV needed Digital Transformation. Continuing to base its business model around in-store customers buying expensive CDs and DVDs, when consumer demand had monumentally shifted in favour of digital downloads and online streaming, meant that its doors were always doomed to shut eventually. Indeed, by the time the retailer decided to reinvent itself, iTunes, Netflix and all the rest were already in ascendancy, and HMV was no longer “Top Dog”.

Today’s digitally empowered, mobile-ready, 2016 consumer causes many problems to the enterprises which aren’t equipped to cater for modern needs and demands. These problems manifest themselves through loss of custom (to digitally equipped competitors), inefficient marketing, poor consumer insights, and an inability to scale.

And it’s not just in retail where these difficulties are felt. Financial services, telecoms, media, marketing, aerospace & defence, travel & leisure – in fact, there’s barely an industry landscape in 2016 that isn’t undergoing rapid digital revolution as you read this, and indeed none that will forever be impervious to Digital Darwinism.

What is the problem Digital Transformation is trying to solve? The answer is simple – the problem of businesses in all sectors going the way of HMV through failure to evolve.

The Advantages of Digital Transformation 

Of course, Digital Transformation does more than simply rescue enterprises running on dated models from a doomed path – the digitally transformed business is set to reap huge benefits and advantages as it finds its place in an evolved and internet-dependent marketplace.

Here are five key advantages of Digital Transformation for the enterprise.

  1.        Enhanced Customer Acquisition and Retention

Losing custom to emerging, digitally evolved competitors is a real threat to the modern, established enterprise that is still relying on legacy marketing operations – and even more so for those that haven’t been constantly refreshing their products and services in line with advances in technology and consumer expectation. Digital Transformation will reinvent the offerings and the reach of such enterprises, providing access to larger online markets that are currently out of reach.

  1.      Streamlined Workflow and Operations

A digitally transformed business has powerful technology oiling the machinery behind internal operations, enabling teams to collaborate seamlessly across departments, and streamline communications across a whole workforce and supply chain. The ability, for instance, to share material and inventory data from the warehouse can quickly and efficiently determine production levels and shipments from the manufacturing plant. This level of digital structuring on every operating level enables accurate sales and income forecasts, which in turn facilitates the company’s ability to plan for future growth.

  1.      Greater (i.e. Global) Reach

It is the advancements in digital technology that have enabled the globalised marketplace. Recent advances in cloud technology in particular have removed barriers to entry for even the smallest companies, whose growth now is only limited perhaps by ambition or access to funds – for the technology is there for them to expand as far and wide as they like. Geographical location is no longer an issue for a growing company, as cloud resources are accessible anywhere with an internet connection. Communication processes – even across borders – are streamlined and comprehensive through the use of cloud-based and often freely-available collaboration tools. Software resources can be distributed to a worldwide workforce, all the infrastructure a rapidly-expanding company needs is a simple click away, and the storage, security and backup recovery of a business’s digital assets are all safely handled by cloud service providers. In short, with Digital Transformation there is no limit to a company’s world-wide reach.

  1.      Gained Insight and Foresight to Improve Management and Marketing Decisions

A Digital Transformation program will streamline management on every level. Digital tools will gather, analyse and visualize (graphs, charts, etc.) data gathered from every corner of the enterprise. From this, predictive models will be produced to help CxOs and managers identify business opportunities and risks. All equipment and machinery will be analysed in such a way, which will aid in the formation of the most effective maintenance programs to prevent breakdown. Consumer behaviors will also be analysed to predict the next market trend. The hottest sales leads can be reliably identified early in the sales cycle. And areas of workflow inefficiency in production chains can be recognized and singled out for improvement.

  1.      Speedier Development of New Products and Services Going Forward

Businesses that need Digital Transformation are those that have not kept up with the pace of market, technological and competitor evolution. Once they have embarked on the process to put themselves back in the game, they will then need to make sure that they don’t start slipping behind again. The implementation of modern systems and technology will aid in the market research, production and subsequent sign-off of all new services, campaigns and products, ensuring that, once regained, their place in the modern market does not later give way once more.

Is your business embracing Digital Transformation? Take a look at the LeadSeed sales and marketing platform – our technology can help you identify and convert more qualified business leads with ease, and ensure that your business does not succumb to the fate of Digital Darwinism. Get in touch today to find out more. 

Free Tools for Beginners in Content Marketing

“Content Marketing” is such a broad term that covers so many different avenues that it can be difficult to know where to start with it.
So perhaps it makes sense to begin with a definition…

What Is Content Marketing? 

Here’s how the Content Marketing Institute defines the practice:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Ok – that might seem a little woolly for those just starting out. So let me try and extract something a little more useful.
To understand content marketing, the most important thing to get to grips with is what we mean when we refer to the actual “content” itself.
Content is the word content marketers use to describe every single bit of free information that they publish online in association with their brand.

Amongst other things, content is:


Content marketing, therefore, is the process of creating and publishing many forms of content, with the design to raise brand awareness, establish the business as an industry authority, attract visitors to a business’s website, and ultimately increase sales.

Importantly, one of the key theories of content marketing is that it is designed so that users find you, as opposed to you finding them and hitting them with a sales pitch.
For instance, let’s say you’re in the business of selling paint and other DIY goods. What might be a useful piece of content for your potential customers is a blog explaining “How to Gloss the Skirting Boards Without Getting Paint on the Carpet”.
And so you write it – and other similarly valuable posts – and promote the post on social media. What you hope is that people who are about to embark on a bit of DIY home decorating will find this blog, read it, be inspired to check out what other useful tips and tricks you offer, and then consider you for their next purchase.

That’s the theory – and it works, and I’ll show you some stats to prove it as we move on now to reveal some of the great free tools that are available on the web to content marketers the world over.

Free Tools for Beginners in Content Marketing 

For Blogging 

All content marketing begins with a good, regular blog. Indeed, 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI from their inbound marketing – and I have to say that the remaining 18% simply must be doing it wrong.
So here are a couple of free tools to help you do it right.


Yes, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and content management system (CMS) for good reason – it’s simple to use, secure, and effective. Other CMSs are available, but often require users to be able to code. Forget about them, is my suggestion. For beginners, it’s WordPress all the way, and, with a huge catalogue of plugins available, you can quickly build your blog site to a point that you are ensuring that all your posts are search engine optimised, your keywords are strong and competitive, and that your site is secure for making sales.

Google Docs 

Google Docs is essentially an online word processor. Although it doesn’t quite have all the bells and whistles of the likes of Microsoft Word, it’s still pretty darn close, and for blog-writing purposes it’s got everything you need. The most important feature, however, is that your documents can be shared, viewed and edited with multiple users simultaneously, meaning that everything you write can be collaborated on with your whole team – for free!

For Making Video 

As a beginner in content marketing, you’ve arrived at a time where the emphasis on video has never been stronger.
Here are just three stats that prove it:

Thankfully this is also a time where creating videos isn’t a particularly expensive or difficult endeavour. Here are a couple of free resources to get you started.


You don’t even need a camera to start making videos. All you need is Screencast-O-Matic and you will be able to start making how-to-style recordings to help your visitors navigate your site, or walk them through your new app or piece of software. Perhaps not suitable to all businesses, but if you can make use of it for yours, then you should.

Windows Movie Maker 

Beyond screencasts, you will of course be wanting to experiment with producing some proper action footage. Smartphone cameras are pretty powerful these days, so you might not even need to invest in an expensive camera at first. But what you will need is some editing software to mash all your scenes together. Try out Windows Movie Maker which is completely free to download and start using immediately. If you can’t get on with it, then TechRadar has a list of 19 others you can experiment with.

For Infographics 

Infographics are brilliant things to be producing. They help you tell data stories which will convince your audience of the valuable figures that you can promise them.
Here’s a couple of free tools.


Using Canva is as simple as dragging and dropping the pre-created illustrations into your infographic. No design skills necessary, templates available, and it’s as simple as filling in the blanks with the relevant information that you want your audience to be able to digest at a glance.


Another great free infographic creator is Piktochart. The free version has more than enough features for the beginner, and allows you turn all that boring yet essential data into gloriously consumable visuals.


Colorcinch is a powerful online photo editor that lets you quickly enhance images, add text, and create stunning visuals without any design skills. Elevate your brand's online presence with professional-quality graphics in just a few clicks.



Found this post useful? You’ll surely like this one, too: “How to Write an Effective Content Marketing Strategy” – our easy-to-follow guide in getting you set up to start content marketing with aplomb.

Main Digital Marketing Acronyms

AnyTime, AnyWhere, Any Device !

Got it.  So that’s another thing we need to bear in mind when we’re thinking about how our prospects might be consuming our content.

Anyone need any more TLA*s decoding?

If there is anything else that you’re looking for => JGI**

* TLA is a three letter acronym.
**Just Google It