Danger-sign-smWe live in an instant gratification society. We are addicted to “quick fix” solutions.

Lose 20 pounds in one week! Garbage.

Make $90,000 a year by only working 5 minutes a day! Crap.

Who wants to drink 50 ounces of grapefruit juice and cut out all carbs for the rest of your life? No one, it’s just not sustainable. It’s a band-aid quick fix solution.

Quick fix marketing tactics, like fad diets which may work in the short-term, end up failing in the long term. They don’t work because they simply can’t be sustained.

Marketing Band-Aids

There are a lot of short-term quick fix solutions in the marketing world. Two of these are direct mailings to rented lists, and pay-per-click advertising or PPC. I like to relate both of these examples to a water faucet, once the money turns off the results go dry.

Direct mail campaigns start with a large upfront investment. Thousands of mail pieces must be printed, lists must be paid for, and then a fat check sent to the post office. Campaigns like this can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars, to tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a risky endeavor because you never know if that rented list is going to perform. If you like gambling then this is the strategy for you!

PPC campaigns show a small advertisement to people searching for keywords chosen to trigger your ad. These keywords can cost anywhere from a few cents a click to $40-$50 per click. It all depends on the words you’re targeting and the industry. These campaigns can be successful if properly planned, but again they are quick fixes, a marketing band-aid. The leads and traffic stop as soon as the money stops. There’s no long-term rock-solid foundation with this strategy.

Let’s pour some concrete.

Building a Solid Foundation

Legendary ad man Howard Gossage once said, “People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them.”

A strategy called inbound marketing is relevant content that interests people and helps solves their problems. It is what quality lead generation is built on. It’s not a quick fix, it takes time.

You could expect to see a return in 3-4 months on average. This doesn’t mean you won’t see any results after 5-6 weeks, it just takes time to produce a reasonable ROI. Showing people the right message, at the right time, in the right way will result in sustained lead generation.

Inbound marketing is relatively new, but it’s methodology has been proven time and time again. Inbound marketing is the process of creating targeted content that helps answer people’s questions, educates them, or entertains them. This content is specifically targeted to reach your buyer personas, or the people most in need of your business’ services. This content brings people in from search engines like Google, then works to convert them from visitors to leads with relevant call to action offers. It’s a powerful strategy that works long after the content engine is turned off. It’s a foundation, not a quick fix.

How is this done?

In a Business Insider article, ad man George Parker sees how more and more businesses are chasing “instant gratification” over quality work and strong relationships. Quality work and building relationships is exactly what inbound marketing is based on. This is the concrete foundation your business is looking for.

Creating rock-solid remarkable content that appeals to people’s interests and solves their problems is a sustainable strategy. This content lives on your site, coming to life when people need it via search engines like the almighty Google. This content will continue to give you results for years to come.

As a marketing professional, you have a decision to make. Do you want a quick-fix solution or one that will position your business as an industry leader, develop relationships, and solve people’s problems? There’s a place for band-aid solutions in your marketing mix, but don’t become addicted to them. They’re not sustained solutions. Inbound marketing is a foundation forming strategy that takes time to build. After awhile the results will amaze you, turning your website into a sustainable trust engine bring you highly qualified leads.