In previous decades, the best way that brands could raise brand awareness is by “buying” consumer attention through traditional advertising. Buying attention is when brands use media space – television advertisements, billboards, radio time – or contact lists to reach a mass audience to repeatedly send them their brand message. However, this marketing tactic has proven to not be beneficial to all businesses and is really expensive.

Big brands like Coke can afford a massive billboard in Times Square to raise awareness but a smaller business can’t. Even if they did rent the platform, small brands won’t even benefit from a strong ROI because the billboard’s reach is too broad. For example, if Elegant Candles want to promote their products, they shouldn’t expect the billboard to increase sales. Even though the reach is high, the audience engagement is low. Most people passing by that billboard don’t want to buy a scented candle and will soon forget its presence because it didn’t bring any value to their lives.

You see the problem here? Promoting through a billboard doesn’t narrow down an audience that will most likely buy from Elegant Candles. This marketing tactic is attempting to appeal to an immense audience while serving no one.

Technology is Changing How We Consume Content

Huge billboards and direct mail marketing are not the only traditional advertising strategies being ignored. Mobile, television, and video advertisements are also becoming less effective to the average consumer. Technology has revolutionized how we consume content and how we ignore the ones that don’t benefit us. For example, the fast-forward button on a remote allows me to move past a TV commercial, AdBlocker in my window browser allows me to ignore YouTube video ads, and a scrolling bar element on my phone allows me to move past a mobile ad.

If I can ignore a brand’s content by the click of a button and browser extension, then how can brands successfully compete to get my attention? The answer: Don’t compete. Attract.

How to Practice Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating content that attracts an audience rather than competing for their action. Brands create opportunities where they can be found by Google so they will be available when their audience searches for relatable content. This way they are not bothering people but instead providing a service. Interesting content like blog posts and ebooks addresses and solves a problem that the readers can use. It allows brands to become a reliable resource that their audience can use whenever they need important information.

For example: What would happen if Elegant Candles decided to practice inbound marketing instead of traditional advertising? They open a blog about the different ways to decorate a home with candles, how to safely place them and protect your family from accidental fires, and the different types of candles they sell. They embedded keywords into their posts so they can be easily found on Google when a person wants information on candles.

Elegant Candles are no longer trying to use expensive marketing tactics that doesn’t attract their target audience because if an audience doesn’t see value in content or an advertisement, then they will most likely ignore it. It’s through inbound marketing that they become relevant.