Greek Life Needs Inbound Marketing

by Matt Mattson

The big wigs in corporate marketing use a fancy jargon word a lot — INBOUND MARKETING. You don’t need to be a big wig in the marketing industry to understand and use this concept. In fact, if you’re a college fraternity/sorority leader who cares about P.R., marketing, our fraternal reputation, or recruitment, I think you NEED to understand and use this concept.

Here’s the definition from Wikipedia: Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention.

For too long, our fraternities and sororities have focused on OUTBOUND marketing. In other words, we’ve been shouting about how awesome we are, hoping people will listen — we’ve been interrupting, blurting, and “getting our name out there” — hoping that if people see our name enough times, they’ll want to buy. That’s old school marketing. That’s the marketing of yesteryear. That marketing doesn’t really work — especially for organizations like ours.

Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist of Apple, and now bestselling author and speaker once said, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”

We have more brains than money. Greek Life is a grassroots movement. Our marketing should be smarter than it is expensive.

In Greek Life, “PEOPLE JOIN PEOPLE” is more than just a cute saying. It’s gospel truth. We are a relationship industry. The only thing that gets people to trust us, support us, and ultimately join us, is deep personal relationships. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but two stand out: 1) We don’t sell a commodity, we sell a lifelong commitment and deep purpose-based friendship, and 2) We have a very strong negative reputation working against us. So, if that’s true, THE GOAL OF ALL GREEK MARKETING SHOULD BE TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR REAL HUMAN INTERACTION.

Make your marketing BRING PEOPLE TO YOU, not GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE. Those are two very different objectives.