Sit with Gerard Fitzgibbon for a few minutes for an invaluable lesson in the techniques of the new marketer. Be prepared to eat humble pie in the process.
“There is a new world order where the buyer is king — however the simple fact of the matter is a lot of companies haven’t come to grips with that so I help them (particularly technology companies),” says Gerard Fitzgibbon, managing director of Go2 Inbound Marketing Ltd.
He refers to this marketing approach as ‘permission based’ or ‘in-bound marketing’.
The rule of thumb is “I give you permission to sell to me” so the buyer has complete control over the process. They will engage with you as long as what is provided through a multitude of many channels including email, website, blog and brochures is framed in a totally different way.
Google Seth Godin, one of the global gurus on the subject for a crash course in the ‘buyer centric world’ to see what Gerard means.
Traditional selling and marketing back in the day involved interruption, shouting, chest beating, domination — “all negative constructs” that simply do not work anymore. “We will get cut off at the knees if we aren’t emotionally attuned to where the buyer is at nowadays,” Gerard warns.
In the past decade, the internet has substantially changed everything and “flipped selling on its head”. Drop the past attitude of controlling the buyer. Now customers are “70% through their purchase process before they even want to engage with a sales person”.
Holding the mirror up to our own buying behaviour quickly confirms this truth — it all rings true. The marketplace has gone from being a seller’s world to now a buyer’s world yet many businesses seem locked in the old way, Fitzgibbon says, making many marketing gaffes in the process.
“They either send contacts in their database too much stuff, too early, or superficial stuff too late in the buyer’s journey,” he says.
Conversely, what he advises is based around “the 3 Cs” — customer, content and communication.
It begins with your customer. Know who they are. Target the right range of people involved in the buying process. Take a hard look at your content to determine if it’s fit for purpose or if it needs to be completely rewritten. “Know your buyers journey — always looking at your content and messaging from the perspective of the viewer,” Gerard says. “It all starts on the internet. Your website is the 24-hour sales and marketing resource.”
Do the audit of your communications.
“Is it stale, boring, out of date, or provides too much emphasis on shouting without being able to articulate what people are looking for and the possible solutions you offer to match their needs?”
Gerard helps put together websites that are attractive, pitch perfect with a “repository of content” that can be tracked and converts visitors into leads and ultimately customers.
He uses a fishing analogy to introduce people to the concept of ‘content burley’. When fishing you have tools like the depth finder, fish finder, and your favourite spots where you know that the type of fish you want to catch congregate.
Same with in-bound marketing. Publish content that is valuable with relevant topics placed in areas (like a burley when fishing) to attract people. This is in contrast to cold calling which is a no-no.
“You have to stop your sales people from being like an old-school insurance guy who goes to a party, grabs everyone’s names before ringing them on a Monday to see if they want some insurance — it’s not about that,” says Gerard.
The lesson in savvy marketing concludes with a reminder about Google and the key role authoritative content plays in leapfrogging its ranking pecking order thanks to the aggregators.
“Remember Google has never strayed from its original philosophy which was relevance — all it’s done is redefine the parameters of relevance,” he says.
Words: Sarah Sparks