inbound marketing

You need to focus on inbound marketing

This cold open was originally featured in the January 13, 2021 newsletter found here:

Well, That Happened

With all the major news happening (new daily records in the pandemic, armed insurrection, etc.), how are you handling it from a marketing operations perspective? Earlier this week, Katie and I sat down and discussed it (which you’ll hear on our podcast episode below) but one of the strongest conclusions we reached was that now is the time to add focus on true inbound marketing.

What does that mean? True inbound marketing is a focus on things that are actually inbound. When we publish social posts, we’re broadcasting, we’re outbound. Even this email newsletter is technically outbound because we’re sending it to you. True inbound marketing is when the customer comes to you, not the other way around.

So, what meets that qualification? The contents of your inbox. Inquiries from your website. And most critically, all forms of search. Organic search, paid search, podcast search, YouTube search – if someone’s looking for you, be there.

This shouldn’t be a strategic shift of much consequence; after all, search is already part of your marketing mix. What’s changed is that we want to add focus to it. Add budget, add resources, add inventory.

Why? What does this accomplish? In a very charged, volatile environment, you can do real reputational damage to your company by appearing tone-deaf, by carrying on “business as usual” when the circumstances affecting the lives of your customers are anything but usual. Depending on your customer base, business as usual may be perceived as a personal affront.

When you focus on search, you’re focusing on people who have demonstrated through their actions that they are conducting business, that they’re trying to get things done and not just spend the day doomscrolling (no judgment, lots of people are doing it). Search indicates intent, and we want to fulfill that intent as quickly as possible.

So, what should you be doing right now?

First, make sure your organic and paid search operations are powered up and running as efficiently and as effectively as possible. It’s okay to pause your outbound marketing and focus on inbound for a little while until things settle down a little.

Second, put together a Twitter list of your top 10 or 20 customers and prospect’s individual personal Twitter accounts as well as brand accounts, and use that to read the room. If all your best customers and prospects are talking about business as usual, you probably can, too. If all your best customers and prospects are doomscrolling and doom-posting, you know it’s not the time to resume business as usual. Let the data guide your decisions.

We did this for ourselves; many of our customers, prospects, and friends were focused on anything but business as usual, so we’ve suspended most of our social posts and our livestream shows, etc. until we see indications people are ready to begin thinking about business again more fully.

Finally, make sure to take care of yourself. It sounds all granola-crunchy and New Age, but the reality is that any kind of crisis situation puts stress and strain on your body, provoking a cortisol response – the fight or flight response. Be sure to take time for yourself in whatever health-giving ways help you relax. Take a walk, take a five-minute break to listen to a favorite song, browse cute animal photos, play a round of your favorite mobile game – whatever it takes to stimulate the neurotransmitters that counter cortisol’s effects.


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Trust Insights ( is one of the world's leading management consulting firms in artificial intelligence/AI, especially in the use of generative AI and AI in marketing. Trust Insights provides custom AI consultation, training, education, implementation, and deployment of classical regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI, especially large language models such as ChatGPT's GPT-4-omni, Google Gemini, and Anthropic Claude. Trust Insights provides analytics consulting, data science consulting, and AI consulting.


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