Heavyweight Marketing Strategy
I recently watched the Rumble in the Jungle, arguably among the most famous boxing matches of all time. I was familiar with some of the basics of the 1974 Heavyweight belt title in Zaire, but the rerun was even better than I expected. Long before Muhammed Ali defeated George Foreman in the eighth round, winning his 2nd championship, I realized something phenomenal. We can all learn a lot about inbound marketing strategy from Ali's infamous technique in the match, known as the "rope-a-dope."
I'll give a little background for the sake of any millennials reading. Though Ali was the crowds' favorite, sports analysts favored Foreman to win. At 25 years old to Ali's 32, the younger fighter was known for throwing some seriously hard hits. Ali decided to employ an edgy technique that ultimately won the match, which was to do very little. He backed up towards the ropes and spent the majority of the game blocking Foreman with his arms. Foreman grew exhausted by the fifth round and Ali eventually jumped off the ropes and knocked him out. While accounts vary, it's generally accepted that the term "rope-a-dope" arose because it seems so incredibly stupid to lay back and take punches for eight rounds.
Is your business fighting like Foreman or Ali? Are you chasing down business or letting qualified leads come directly to your website? We'll examine several ways in which a great inbound marketing strategy is more like boxing than you may realize:
1. It's All About Positioning
From the moment the first bell rang at the Rumble in the Jungle, Foreman began to throw hits. Ali focused on getting his positioning right before he started to block. Is your company website taking advantage of effective web design techniques? While SEO and content marketing require ongoing effort, if you're you're missing ways to convert leads, focus on making sure you have your position right before you start trying to push leads through the sales funnel.
Positioning is also critical in the arena of social media. Optimize before you email your segments asking them to follow you on Twitter or run the risk of looking pretty unprofessional. One of our Agents recently shared that his dentist's Facebook page still lacks a profile picture. Don't start fighting before you're grounded!
2. Work Harder, Not Smarter
I'm no boxing expert, but if Ali hadn't made the edgy choice to do very little for most of the match, the belt could have gone to Foreman. There's no question that Foreman expended much more energy, but he just couldn't compete with Ali's strategy. The success of a marketing campaign isn't entirely determined by the size of your budget. It's also influenced by whether or not you get your channels right.
Do you remember the last time you sat down and chatted with a telemarketer at length, sat down to watch television commercials or listened carefully to advertisements in between songs on the radio? Chances are, you're on the FTC Do Not Call list and use Pandora and Hulu as a way to avoid disruptive marketing efforts! Inbound leads cost on average 61% less than leads from disruptive channels such as telemarketing, direct mail or billboards. Don't blow your budget with an aggressive strategy but inferior positioning like Foreman.
3. Think Funnel
Even though Foreman was showing signs of exhaustion in the fifth round, Ali waited 3 more rounds to make the hits. By that point, Foreman was so tired he looked like a "bee harassing a bear." Are you trying to close sales from the first moment someone follows you on Twitter or hits your website home page? A great inbound marketing strategy employs the concept of a funnel to ensure you're in the perfect position throughout the entire sales process. Through brilliant content marketing, you attract people to your website where they're converted into leads with TOFU (top of the funnel) offers like informational eBooks. They're nurtured into full-fledged clients, but they're not faced with a pitch a moment before they're ready.
Estimates vary, but Kissmetrics research has indicated around 90% of first-time visitors to your web site aren't ready to make a purchase. Google and other major search engines are now the primary channel for prelimary research on product and service solutions. Getting your position right and realizing the first-time visitors are probably just going to enter the funnel can be the difference between winning the title of Inbound Marketing Strategy Heavyweight or being knocked-out.
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