Today, there are basically two distinct approaches that advertisers use to meet the customers they need: inbound marketing and outbound (or “traditional”) marketing. Let’s take a look at the key distinctions between the two. Outbound vs Inbound marketing has long been a debate amongst marketing professionals.
- Pulls interested readers in
- Settles the needs of customers
- Interactive with the reader
- When beneficial information is consumed, members of the audience become leads
- Where you can see: websites, forums, eBooks, opt-in emails, SERP, social media.
- Pushes the message to everyone
- Written for selling of goods
- One-way communication
- Disrupts any material that is being consumed
- Where you see it: TV advertisements, billboards, Web pop-up advertising, telemarketing, magazines.
According to Google, consumers are today, on average, performing 70% or more of their buying decision research before they even think about approaching anyone in sales or calling a company for more information about their products and services.
Inbound is designed to introduce potential clients to your company who are involved in the market. It’s about figuring out where they’re looking, rather than pushing the message on people who may or may not be involved.
Another way to look at it is that inbound marketing is built to better match the company with the Customer’s Journey, the normal cycle that a typical customer is going through while looking for an online solution.
The Buyer’s Journey
Knowledge Stage – Prospect has a dilemma they want to fix or a opportunity they want to grab.
Consideration Stage – Prospect has researched, learned, and defined possible solutions to their problems.
Decision Stage – Prospect has limited its products / services and must determine which one to buy.
Typical inbound marketing strategies that help to take someone on a purchaser’s journey include:
- Social Media:
- Email Marketing
- Creation of content
- Lead Magnets
Inbound marketing strategies like these are designed to help buyers discover your company in the early stages of the Buyer’s Journey and to inform them about the advantages of your approach, while building trust in the process.
While selling to customers who are already searching for a solution like yours, outbound marketing seeks to seek to meet as many people as possible, whether or not they are potential consumers.
In the past, old school marketers have put their goods and services in front of people with outbound strategies, such as:
- Print the ads
- Billboards are
- Direct mail
Yet again, in sharp contrast to the inbound, these techniques (traditionally) have been brought into the environment as interruptions. The piece of mail you didn’t ask for, the ad that you skip through (thanks to on-demand technology), the Google Ad that’s in the way of the organic results you ‘re searching for.
And which one should you want for your business? Which is the alternative between outbound and inbound marketing?
To decide which one is best, you need to understand your particular company, audience and marketing goals.
Inbound Marketing Advantages
Some of the main benefits of inbound marketing is that it focuses on adding value to the prospects. It’s both educational and often non-promotional.
Because inbound marketing is associated with the Buyer’s Journey, it creates a connection between your prospects and your brand. It also draws customers to the brand at the right moment, rather than interrupting them at a moment when they’re NOT on the lookout for what you’re offering.
For this reason, consumers prefer inbound marketing to outbound marketing. It benefits them instead of being distracting.
The other main attribute of inbound marketing is the long-term ROI.
Generally speaking, inbound marketing needs higher initial investment and will deliver slower returns in the first few months. Nonetheless, those initial steps are required to develop your digital marketing assets, increase your online presence, and rank higher in search engines.
Over time , the value of these properties rises at a greater rate than the expense of sustaining or developing them. Online assets such as blog posts and premium deals will continue to produce leads years after they were initially generated without costing an additional penny.
Outbound Marketing Advantages
The greatest strength of outbound marketing is its ability to quickly get ahead of a large number of people and build awareness.
If done correctly, you can start an outbound marketing campaign, earn millions, and have new customers within a few weeks, but the results are more based on the money you spend.
Normally, you have to invest more to see more results, because when you stop investing money, the benefits stop. Like inbound, you don’t get a lot of measurable, long-term assets that continue to produce outbound marketing leads.
In reality, whole companies were founded on the premise of regaining leverage over the loss of customers to outbound marketing.
So, what’s the right thing for your company?
There are businesses that have experienced considerable success by the exclusive use of inbound marketing or outbound marketing. There are still a lot of people who have done well by using them. At the end of the day, you have to find out what is best for your business by considering the following:
Next, you need to know who your potential customers are and how they usually shop for what you’re offering. How are they going to know more about the types of solutions you offer?
To get a better picture, take a look at the whole industry and the direct competitors. Which marketing strategies are most common and tend to be most effective?
What are you trying to do? Would you like to create brand awareness? Push traffic? How many customers are you aiming for, and what’s your timetable for that goal?
Inbound marketing is the best long-term approach, but it probably won’t boost sales significantly in the first few months. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, will help you get consumers to the door quickly, but it comes with a diminishing return.
More often than not, the best strategy is to mix a little of both, while taking an inbound approach to both – ensuring that you calculate outcomes specifically and look for long-term brand building alongside short-term growth.
Eventually, you will understand how your marketing strategies would impact the reputation of your brand. Launching an aggressive cold call might get some sales up front, but how is it going to affect your credibility in the long run?
You just want to use marketing tactics that your company can be proud of and that your customers would appreciate if they understood how you did it. Most often than not, the reality is coming out, so it’s extremely difficult to fix a poor name.
This means using outbound tactics to keep the business ahead of potential customers, while concentrating more on helping than selling upfront.
Incoming and outbound marketing are two different strategies that can be used either on their own or even together.
That has its own particular set of advantages and disadvantages.
Outbound marketing is a better short-term solution with low long-term costs, while outbound marketing appears to be a better long-term solution with slightly higher short-term costs.
The technique most successful for most companies is to use both inbound and outbound marketing while retaining an inbound approach.