Inbound marketing is a strategy that utilizes many forms of pull marketing – content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media, and more – to create brand awareness and attract new business.
In contrast to outbound marketing, where marketers attempt to find customers, inbound marketing earns the attention of customers and makes the company easy to be found.
Inbound marketing targets customers through online platforms such as blogs, social media, and search engines and is intended to create content that shows up in these places in order to drive organic traffic (rather than advertising-driven traffic) to a company’s website. The main way in which traffic is generated is through the use of inbound links that maximizes the visibility of content on search engines and other websites by boosting its ranking in search results.
What is Outbound Marketing?
“Outbound” marketing is what most people probably think of when you tell them you work in marketing.
This means all the traditional forms of getting your message out there:
Radio and print advertisements
In the pre-internet era, when people didn’t have instant access to the world’s information at their fingertips, outbound marketing was de rigueur. Times have changed, though, and a lot of your customer base now finds outbound marketing a little too aggressive, in-your-face, and pushy.
Drawbacks of Outbound Marketing
Difficult to Segment/Target
Difficult to Analyze
Not Aligned with Modern Buyer Behavior
Believe me, the last thing you want is to come off as desperate to your customers (“buy my product? Please?”).
That’s not to mention outbound marketing is expensive. You need to make a big up-front capital investment, and the return on that investment can be questionable. Even if you create an amazing ad for your burger restaurant, it won’t help increase revenue if it’s on a billboard outside a vegan commune.
The impersonal nature of many outbound marketing strategies, the inability to target certain market segments or analyze how a campaign is performing—all of these are big reasons why outbound is struggling to adapt in the 21st century.
While some people are rushing to proclaim outbound marketing “obsolete” and “dead” in the quest for clicks and attention, however, we think that’s a little bit premature.
In fact, companies that use an inbound-driven strategy combined with smart outbound tactics can bring about even more successful than those who use only inbound.