What’s the Secret of Inbound Marketing: Nelson Mandela & The Paradigm Shift
by Andrew Millar
In an odd way, Nelson Mandela and Inbound Marketing share a common trait. His recent death has generated the kind of discussion of his legacy that we have come to expect from the passing of a famous head of state.
The single striking aspect of his life to me was not his bravery as a political opponent forced underground to a life of violence. Nor was it the 27 years of hard labor while imprisoned on Robben Island.
Nelson Mandela’s singular contribution was his embracing of those who sought to oppress him. It was his willingness to forgive them, seek conciliation and move forward. This action of his stands as shining example of the choices we can make in our own lives.
How does this action relate to content marketing, you ask. Mandela released the hold his captors had on him by playing a different game from resentment and revenge. Inbound marketing does the same. Consider for a moment what drives all business. In a capitalist system, after all respect is paid to the value of the goods and service rendered, it is the bottom line, the literal profit/loss of the accountant’s spread sheet, that has its hands around the jugular vein of the sales process. We all know this. Sales is the engine that runs the train. If we don’t make the sale, we don’t get paid: from operations, to marketing, to sales, to the c-suite.
Now here is the wonder of inbound marketing and why it resembles the greatness of Nelson Mandela’s philosophy: it frees us, if only temporarily, from the grinding urgency of making the sale. For you see, the major tenet of inbound marketing is that we take time to create a relationship of trust with our prospective customer. In effective inbound marketing we become friends with our prospect because their welfare comes first. As Michael Gerber, author of the E-Myth series and CEO of The Michael Thomas Corporation, used tell us when he would debrief the sales force: “Relationship sales is about finding a match between our customer’s needs and our solutions.”
Synchromesh the Sale
Of course we still need to make the sale, but now we are able to take some of the pressure out of the process. It’s like shifting gears in cars. Before the introduction of synchromesh to transmissions, drivers would often grind the gears when they shifted. This is because the gear box requires both the lower and the higher gear to be rotating at the same speed and only very skillful drivers could create this. When synchromesh was introduced, it automatically matched the speeds of the two gears, allowing for a smooth transition.
By establishing a trusting relationship, we are coordinating a common speed with our customer and reducing the pressure of the sales process. Here is how Bruce McDuffee sees it:
“You want them to place your brand and associated offering top of mind and with a great deal of credibility. If you are able to achieve this position in their minds, when they are ready to purchase, your firm will get the call.” http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/12/convert-content-marketing-revenue-puzzle-pieces/
The central secret of inbound marketing is the trust and credibility you foster with your prospect. Don’t fake it. Mean it. Satisfaction in life and business comes from serving the needs of others. If you pretend to be of service to your customers, in the end, they will sense it and either not make the purchase or not make the subsequent referral.
Whereas, if you sincerely care for your customer’s welfare, they will sense your integrity and want to do business with you. Much of life comes down to the quality of our relationships. Let the inbound marketing of your products and services allow you to create positive experiences.