Before getting to the questions that Sabrina Princigalli, CEO and Founder of YourTarget, so insightfully answered, it is important to address one very prominent conclusion. A year ago, we were all cheerfully saying goodbye to 2020 – the horrible pandemic year. We thought things will go back to normal and the economy back on its track. But unfortunately, it wasn’t good riddance. Month after month, we have been waiting to get back our visibility into the future but there seems no immediate end to COVID-19 as of yet.
Things may not be as uncertain but volatility is here to stay. In such a scenario, businesses are struggling to revive customer acquisition, iron out economical knots, and bring concreteness to the future roadmap, with a robust need to own and satisfy their online traffic.
That’s right; with hybrid work models, virtual events, and work-from-home predicted to prevail for the next few years, the pandemic-evolved customer has an obvious digital-first shift in behaviour.
More smartphones, more internet users. According to a survey, 51% of the total Earth’s population is active on social media! Imagine how many customers are sitting right there on the web, waiting for you to step up and catch them inbound.
Globally, 70% of all companies invested in content marketing in 2021 out of which, 75% of B2B marketers and 82% of B2C marketers claimed success and positive results.
The statistics may go on because, with a full package that comes under the umbrella of inbound marketing, your company is bound to stay ahead of the race in the upcoming virtual world of web and social media.
Let’s proceed with the interview and see what Chief Executive, Sabrina Princigalli – spanning more than two decades in the marketing industry – has to say about inbound, digital marketing, and her overall prediction for 2022.
In Conversation with Sabrina Princigalli: Inbound/Digital Marketing in 2021 and Forecasts For 2022
QUESTION: Hi Sabrina! Thank you so much for your time in agreeing to a detailed and insightful session on the topic. First question, how would you explain to a business owner or marketing lead if inbound/digital marketing is the perfect fit for their particular business?
Sabrina: Well, first of all, we need to realise that people today are tired of being bothered by both the wrong advertising and the fake news. They are tired of being involved in uninteresting marketing activities. Today, our target audiences prefer to rely on serious suppliers. And you don’t just transfer seriousness, you have to prove it by explaining what you can actually do for your potential customer. It isn’t enough to say that you are the best, you have to prove it, you have to be able to help your potential customer.
Inbound marketing can be applied to practically every sector, and when some prospect still tells me that he thinks it is difficult to apply this methodology to B2B, well, I show him that this interpretation isn’t correct. Even in B2B, there are people. And when people go online to look for solutions to their business needs, well, it’s up to the company to create valuable content to get itself noticed.
Just last week, I happened to explain the usefulness of the inbound methodology in the real estate sector. A real estate agency could use, for example, its blog to support the needs of its target audience, like why not help them understand the economic systems of the country? It would help them a lot and could become a great reference point, even for buying a house!
QUESTION: Makes so much sense. So, how long does it usually take to get the inbound strategies implemented for a business?
Sabrina: To make good use of the inbound methodology, it is first necessary to know the customer, the company, to analyse every detail from the buyer persona to the competitors. It is necessary to understand what activities are already in place on the commercial and marketing side, and it is necessary to know the objectives. In short, it is necessary to have a very clear vision. And only with this vision can a correct strategy be set up, a strategy that can therefore lead to every single objective set.
At YourTarget we have good planning in this regard. We study our clients in detail before proposing the right strategy. We usually give ourselves a month to provide a strategy document, which may seem like a long wait, but it is not. Especially if you consider that in most cases, you completely change the client’s working approach. We move from a push approach (most of the time) to a pull approach, which is not always easy to understand but is effective and yields fruitful results.
QUESTION: Right, and what notable results can companies achieve with inbound marketing, plus, how soon should they expect these results?
Sabrina: From the strategy document we discuss with each client, we understand what goals we can and should achieve. In most cases, we are involved in working on brand awareness, improved website positioning, increased web traffic and qualitative lead generation. Very often, potential clients and customers ask me for a timeline, but I never like to make promises; we rely on facts and research. We are not magicians. We need to observe the digital reaction, we can influence it through the use of good content and well-thought-out strategies. But you have to wait at least six months for good results.
There may be ‘faster’ exceptions, but in that case, it has to be said, there is also a push from ads. Doing inbound is certainly not a cheap methodology, but if you compare it over time and with many push activities, well, yes, it is worth it, because the return it can bring is concrete (and long-term).
We have also had customers with very little patience, customers who were already asking for updates after the publication of the first article. Let’s realise that the network takes time and, as I said before, we are not magicians…
QUESTION: In fact, big things take time. Moving forward, how would you explain that Inbound/digital marketing successfully convinces customers to leave their personal information in exchange for content?
Sabrina: I’ve been doing sales for so long and since I’m focused on the Middle East, I really enjoy helping every prospect, potential customer and later client. This is because I realise that so many companies have a blog, media and news section, but without giving it any specific meaning. And when I show them that with different content, with a quality downloadable resource you can attract quality leads… well, I notice the interest.
Having a website, a blog and good content without having a distinct objective is of little use. There is very little point in writing that I am organising an event next week if my target audience does not yet know me. I have to deal with much more important issues for them first, I have to be able to gain their trust.
In the end, we can certainly think that the inbound methodology is complicated, but I ask you this question: when we have a problem, what do we look for online? A solution, am I wrong? And when we find it, what do we do? We get information and if we are convinced, we buy or contact. This is inbound.
QUESTION: Perfect. That simplifies it so much. Sabrina, what are the top 3 digital marketing trends you are anticipating for 2022?
Sabrina: Well, to answer this important question I want to link to our new e-book. This book has a very thorough and intense work done by my colleagues, who I want to thank very much. The e-book has right on point, unrevealed, and reliable digital marketing trends for 2022. This e-book will be launched and available online this February 2022.
Off the bat, the top 3 digital marketing trends that we can anticipate in 2022, out of many others, would be:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) to be used more in marketing and applying it to programmatic advertising to target audiences using AI targeting and algorithms.
- Voice Search Optimisation for SEO as there is an increasing number of mobile phone users globally who are using this technology to search for products online. We explain more of this in our upcoming e-book.
- Account-Based Marketing and Personalization. We will see more content being personalised for brands and companies globally and this will become an industry standard. Many consumers are getting smarter and no longer want to see a repeat of branded advertisements and messages that seems robotic and out-of-touch. There is a study done recently that mentioned that 80 percent of global consumers are likely to support or do business with a company if the company offers personalised services. We share more information on this also in our new upcoming e-book.
QUESTION: We’d love to read it. So, how relevant would you rate inbound marketing for the next 5 years, and why?
Sabrina: Fundamental. But I say this not because it is our core business, but because we need to relate to our customers in a different way, in a truthful, honest way. It’s high time for that. And I will do my best to transfer this methodology to as many entrepreneurs as possible, not only in the Middle East but all over the world.
As the economic world continues to change, it is unthinkable today to stop with only a traditional approach, it no longer helps and it is risky. We need to think about digitalisation because the future is digital and fortune favours the digital!
Things are going to get more challenging as the world goes digital – exclusively. Book a free consultation today with YourTarget to map out your future roadmap of staying visible despite the smoke. Our inbound experts are waiting to talk it out with you!