There are so many types of marketing popping up today. It's easy to be seduced by the promises of newer, easier ways to market. Here's the trick of inbound marketing: The inventors of inbound marketing give away white papers. You download, and your phone rings immediately. It's the trigger for a telemarketing call. 

Great! You say. It still has a higher hit rate than direct mail. This may be true. But so what?

Imagine launching a campaign that had people rushing to your website. Hits are spiking. Why are they coming? What do they want? What are you going to do to make their lives better? 

You can ask questions when you interact with your customers. But they'll likely just tell you what they think you want to hear. To make a difference, watch. Observe their behaviors. Or ask different questions. Ask what they think you think of them. Meet them on their turf. I once asked an interior designer how his life had changed post-Great Recession and learned he made all of his purchasing decisions between 11 pm and 2 am, when my company was completely closed. We developed a suite of new tools to make ourselves easy to interact with 24/7. Sales grew exponentially. We gained huge market share. Site traffic was up. But it was because we realized purchasing behaviors had shifted, and we adjusted more quickly than our competitors. That's what marketing should be: Observing what's happening, aligning your organization internally to deliver, and getting to market better and faster than your competition. It requires insightful observation, high levels of collaboration, and, above all, a desire to meet your customer where they actually are. Not where you think they are.