Hipsters of the world unite!Wait a minute...they already have. They teamed up with the programmers, some MBAs and a couple artist types and created an innovative discipline called "content marketing."
The natural base of customers? The types of companies, products, services and business sectors where they feel most comfortable and intuitively understand the business value and buyer persona.
It makes sense - you work within your comfort zone. That's often where you're most effective.
The end result?
- Although hardly ubiquitous, inbound marketing is pretty well recognized and established in areas that were first identified.
- There are huge gaps between Cambridge and Menlo Park and between islands of software and service companies.
"Fly over country" and manufacturing industries haven't yet embraced the potential of inbound marketing. (I know that there are practitioners - both agency and company - that represent geographic and industry diversity. This isn't an absolute, and some may contest the generalization. But there are indisputably huge gaps.)
Workers of the world unite!Wait a minute....we've tried that a couple times and it hasn't worked!
But seriously, there are huge swathes of American industry that are slipping between the content marketing cracks. And in many of these cases they have innovative technologies, quality differentiators and effective solutions to real manufacturing problems.
Somehow we've allowed a business "digital divide" to develop - between the SaaS, mobile app hip crowd that showers before work, and the metal bending, hydraulics-using manufacturing workers that shower after work.
This isn't to anyone's benefit. How do we overcome it?
Digital marketing isn't just for digital businessThere's fault on both sides. The carefully cultivated, slightly crusty, down home folksy rejection of new fangled stuff is endearing (and those of us slaves to email may be envious), but self-defeating.
Conversely the hyper-caffeinated, buzz word laden, BYOD techy approach tends to dwell in a parallel reality — brilliant, intellectual and creative, but slightly detached from the core.
But there's real power in digital marketing even (or perhaps especially) for industries that may be constrained by self-limiting beliefs.
So those of us in the content marketing community have both opportunity and obligation. If we can figure out how to distill the benefits of content marketing into a language and presentation that is sensible for traditional industries, there's gold in them hills. (Not to mention over seas and oceans - the international value of inbound marketing is enormous for American industry as well!)
And if you believe that American manufacturing can regain its role as the soul of a strong middle class (at least until additive manufacturing/3D printing becomes fully established), then you have an obligation as a practitioner of the inbound marketing discipline to help make it accessible.
Let's take responsibility as a group to figure out how to distill the amazing value of content marketing to a heartland audience. Let's have the discussion. We can all benefit regardless of when we shower!