Ever since I became ravingly enthusiastic and truly convinced that traditional marketing is dying, and replaced by a new type of marketing, I have been following Hubspot.
This company acts on this new type of marketing.
This new type of marketing throws away manipulation, spin-wizzards, and interruption in its marketing strategy. This new type of marketing is about authenticity, being human and open, and being relevant to your audience. They embrace and understand the digital and social world that companies and people live in today.
Although the company was founded only a few years ago, they are already seen as one of the thought leaders in this area of new marketing. Their marketing is impressive, educating a whole new fleet of young, and not so young anymore, marketers of today.
They preach inbound marketing, or content marketing if you will.
“You must do inbound marketing to survive”
More and more marketers I meet start seeing this as the answer to their problems. They see it as a solution to problems like:
- advertising is not working anymore, or not as it used to do.
- buyers become very informed and lead the buying process.
- search engines and social media are changing the way companies buy.
And Hubspot keeps on pushing out and impressive array of content, which keeps building on these thoughts:
- YOU NEED TO BUILD EPIC CONTENT
- YOU NEED TO DO DIGITAL PERFECTLY
- YOU NEED TO DO SOCIAL PERFECTLY
- IF YOU DON’T DO THESE THINGS, YOU WON’T SURVIVE
This inbound model is about attracting and converting buyers further into the buying cycle. And to be honest, the model really makes sense. I myself am a big believer and defender of this type of marketing. And I really admire Hubspot for what they are doing, and what they mean to B2B companies. Every B2B marketer should check them out.
In essence, you are building content that creates trust from your buyers. Trust that cannot be overthrown by competitors.
But what happens if all B2B companies start following this model?
Imagine that all companies go through this learning cycle, and become great in building content, spreading content digitally, and engage with their audience on social media.
- They all listen to their buyers’ needs.
- They all answer the content needs of their buyers along the customer life-cycle.
- They all have “conversations”.
- They all build trust through “giving”.
What happens then?
If content marketing and social media is all about being open, how do I act when some parts of my business are not perfect ?
Isn’t content marketing about showing that you understand the business of your customers, and helping them to better understand what your products or services mean to their business ?
But if you are fully open and honest about your offering, doesn’t that show your imperfections?
Won’t that show your weaknesses?
The chance is high that at a certain moment you bump into a weak point in your offering.
What do you do ? You try to hide it ? Or do you try to “bend the truth” ?
The effect of hiding imperfections
If you hide your imperfections or weaknesses, 2 things can happen :
- Customers buy your products, and because you didn’t inform them enough, they are disappointed about what they’ve bought. You’ve just harmed your brand.
- Customers see your weaknesses, and assume you don’t have an answer to the competition. This weakens your position, and as such it weakens your brand.
How to act?
Competitor attacks, product weaknesses, product issues, customer service issues, … all these can be your imperfections.