Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing – which one works for your business

Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing is a common discussion at marketing meetings, but what does it mean for business owners and managers?

Sales and marketing has changed over the past number of years – the marketing mix is different, people respond differently to advertising and more information is available to consumers than ever before. It’s important for businesses to catch up, and keep up, with all these changes in order to maintain and build on their customer base. Outbound sales and marketing has been what traditionally works for businesses, particularly in B2B, which has resulted in a resistance to embracing the new approach – Inbound. In this blog post, we take a look at the difference between Inbound and Outbound marketing and attempt to pinpoint which works best for businesses like yours.

Examples of Outbound Marketing

  • Cold calling
  • Direct, unsolicited mailing
  • Trade Show stalls
  • Newspaper Ads
  • Trade Magazine Advertorials

Examples of Inbound Marketing 

  • Blogging
  • Marketing Automation
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Speaking at popular events
  • Email Marketing

close-up-of-documents-with-colorful-graphs_1232-139-inbound vs outbound

As you can see, Outbound and Inbound marketing are very different, but the question we’re asking here is: which one will work best for your business? We’ll answer this under three headings – The cost, the communication, and the concentration.

The cost

At the end of the day, in business, cost is king. Everthing boils down to your ROI. Outbound marketing is a very expensive method to maintain for 365 days a year. According to Hubspot’s 2014 report, the average cost per lead is significantly more for outbound activities, as compared with Inbound. Consider the elements involved in Outbound- printing, postage, media advertising costs, banners and pop-ups for shows, the list goes on. Inbound marketing is less expensive, once you have the right people handling the activities. Your website may need reworking and you might need pay for advertising once in a while, however ultimately you are spending less, and getting more.

The communication

One of the major advantages of Inbound Marketing is that it gives you the chance to directly communicate with your customers and potential customers. Comments on blogs, conversations on twitter and other forms of communication give you the chance to learn more about your target market, and it gives them the opportunity to build a relationship with your brand. You don’t get this with Outbound Marketing.

The Concentration 

People are more focused on getting things done these days. We spend less time watching and listening to ads, we curate the content we see on a daily basis and seeing an ad once isn’t enough to make us think. In the busy world we live in, concentration is at an all time low. Inbound marketing takes this into account. Repeat messages, consistent engagement and valuable information trumps ads that blast from a car radio any day.

Inbound Vs Outbound

We can’t ignore the power of tradition

While the ROI on Inbound Marketing has been proven to be higher than that of Outbound, we can’t ignore the power of tradition. Some elements of Traditional Marketing, or outbound marketing, still work. For example, buying a stall at a big industry event can be a great first introduction to potential customers – encouraging them to sign up to your newsletter or follow your LinkedIn page can be an invaluable start when it comes to gaining new customers. Likewise, when you’re targetting a market that spends around 20 hours a week in their car, the impact of having a radio ad with peak time airplay can be indespensible.

So, who wins in the Inbound Vs Outbound battle?

Inbound is definitely the winner in this situation. The cost is less, the return is higher and you are tapping into the way in which media and information is consumed by people these days – that is something that absolutely cannot be ignored! As prices for traditional media ad space sky rockets, and as less people pay attention to them, it would be remiss of you to suggest only sticking to traditional methods. That being said, as outlined already, you cannot ignore the power of some traditional outbound methods. While cold calling is a quick way to build a reputation as an annoyance, there are other outbound activities that could get you in the eyeline of the exact person who will become your next big client. It’s all about finding the most effective combination of outbound and inbound methods, and being flexible in your approach to marketing. Being willing to adapt to change is the biggest marketing asset you have at this moment in time.

Want to see the facts laid out? Download our free factsheet on Outbound Vs Inbound for more information. 

Inbound Marketing

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Richard Coen

With over 21 years of experience in Digital Marketing, 31 years in sales and 25 years in business development, Richard assists companies to develop key growth strategies on a local or international basis. He can assist marketers to achieve balance in their approach to key areas affected by the growth in digital marketing.