Most people are familiar with the idea that there is both outbound and inbound marketing, but may not be as clear on what inbound marketing entails. Inbound marketing is a process of doing market research in order to understand the market better. These are the main objectives of inbound marketing:
- To find out who wants what. That is put simply. The idea is to figure out which markets have what needs. If you are looking to start a new company, this is hugely important as you want to look for opportunities to fill needs that are not being will addressed at present. If you are an existing company, the same principle applies. You have the ability to identify new opportunities for your company to meet specific needs of specific groups of potential customers or clients.
- To find out how you can meet the needs of these groups. Now that you have identified the needs of the various markets, it is time to look for ways to accommodate the needs of your target markets. In other words, you figure out how to adjust your product or service to better meet those needs. Your inbound marketing efforts should pinpoint what it is the target market is looking for, and you then have to apply that to what you have to offer, often making some adjustments to better serve them. For example, you may need to build a more user friendly online store, or open a more centrally located retail location, or expand a product line, etc.
- Find out what kind of packaging is going to appeal most to your target market. Part of your inbound marketing efforts is to figure out the best way to appeal to the customer through the packaging. For example, if you sell beverages, what shape of bottle would consumers prefer? Glass or plastic? If your target market is moms, plastic is always going to be better, as glass is more likely to break when dropped by a "helpful" toddler. The research done should help you determine the best packaging that will appeal to the widest amount of people in your target market.
- Find out what customers will be willing to pay for your product or service. You also need to figure out how they will want to pay for it. This is a pricing analysis where you determine what your price will be, and whether you will accept cash, credit, checks, pay once, pay on credit, pay monthly, weekly, etc. You use inbound marketing to figure out pricing structure.
- To determine who your competitors are, and to do a competitor analysis. This means identifying direct and indirect competitors, and determine their strengths and weaknesses, what threats they pose in your market, and what opportunities you have.
- To determine your competitive advantages. In other words, what does your client offer that will set you apart from the competition? What can you offer or change to make you a better value?
- Lastly, it is used to identify the best tactics for naming and branding of products and services.