What is the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?
Inbound and outbound marketing are fairly new terms, as inbound marketing was coined by HubSpot in 2005 with the inception of their product (Hubspot.com). Inbound marketing was coined as a term to differentiate itself from outbound marketing, but what is the difference between the two, and which one is more effective?
Let’s start with outbound marketing, as it is the form of marketing you are most familiar with. Outbound marketing is also referred to as “push” or “interruption” marketing. It falls under the category of “traditional advertising”, expounded upon in the “content marketing” blog. In outbound marketing, the company puts out unsolicited content to as many potential customers as possible. This could look like commercials, pop-up ads, billboards, or telemarketing, and is a one-way form of communication with your client.
However, outbound marketing has become increasingly deft as of late. It should be noted that some outbound marketing techniques, such as telemarketing (cold calling), are no longer simply calling as many people as possible asking them to buy your product. Rather, sales people making cold calls now have a bevy of information at their fingertips that allow them to decide who to call. Let’s examine this from a B2B point of view. In an ideal outbound marketing situation, the marketer would already know the name, job title, and why that job title would give them the power within their company to buy your product. This is much more cost-effective than calling as many businesses as possible trying to get them to buy your product.
In any case, this interruptive method of marketing is not often well received by its audience. More often than not it is seen as a nuisance. By now, people are used to being bombarded with sales tactics, and do not want to be asked to buy something when they are not looking for something to buy.
On the other side of the spectrum is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing, in contrast to the “push” of outbound marketing, is a “pull” tactic. Inbound marketing is aimed at a demographic of people that are already interested in buying and want to know more about the product. Through inbound marketing, you give your client the ability to explore the many facets of your product thoroughly and decide if they want to buy it. This is most usually done on the company’s website, where you can lead your customer through the steps of learning about your company, and right out the virtual door with your product. Further advocating for inbound marketing is its ability to build a two-way channel of communication between the company and the buyer. Inbound marketing falls under the category of content marketing because it is a way to inform your clients of valuable and useful information, build brand awareness, and cultivate a loyal following of customers. Inbound marketing sets itself slightly apart from content marketing in its ability to usher website-goers through the steps of actually purchasing the product. According to HubSpot, the three main goals of inbound marketing are to attract, engage with, and delight customers. This is done through the personal channels of communication like email, chat, blog posts, and videos.
The disparity between both the effectiveness and traits of inbound and outbound marketing are clear. The former utilizes humanizing techniques to create a relationship with buyers, inform them about the company, and usher them through the buying process. The latter is casting a much wider net, advertising to anyone that will listen, though times are changing and outbound marketing techniques are becoming a bit more personalized. When in their purest, most polar forms, inbound marketing is unequivocally more beneficial for both the company and the client, though it can be difficult for clients to initially hear about one’s brand without any sort of outbound marketing strategies.
Fogle, K. (2019). Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing in a Nutshell. Weidert.com.
SEOPressor - Best SEO Wordpress Plugin. (2019). Inbound vs Outbound Marketing – Which Is More Effective?.
Hubspot.com. (2019). What Is Inbound Marketing? | HubSpot.