Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

Why You Need Both Types of Marketing – Inbound and Outbound

By: Frank DePino | May 22, 2024

Experts still argue about which method of Inbound vs Outbound marketing is more effective when it comes to planning marketing strategies and budget allocation for the next quartile: Is it ok to use both methods and can they be aligned to support and strengthen each other?

From a traditional standpoint, while outbound marketing is an excellent tool for those looking to push their message to a wider, unfiltered audience, inbound marketing is great for businesses actively looking to attract targeted prospects. 

Of course, the parameters of these types of marketing have evolved greatly in the past decade, some of which might surprise the average marketer! So, which kind of marketing should you prioritize for your brand? Come dive in with us as we explore the pros and cons of each.

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The Differences Between Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing distributes content that is meant to funnel people to your website. Conversely, outbound marketing is made to proactively reach out to customers so they garner interest in a given product or service.

More often than not, outbound marketing is more wide-sweeping and aggressive in its approach. The expectation with outbound marketing is that potential consumers will convert.

On the other hand, inbound marketing is often more subtle, focusing on providing groups of individuals to make purchases over time. 

Let’s look at both of these marketing approaches more closely to get a better understanding.

Inbound Marketing 

The focus of inbound marketing is on attracting potential customers to your products or services. Remember, consumers are always searching for new products online. A recent study suggests that 63% of consumers begin their journey of buying new products online.

Consumers will often begin searching for products or services as a solution to a problem they have or a void they need to fill. Where you come in is crafting content that can show these consumers how your particular products or services can help. Provide people with the answers or solutions to the burning questions in your industry, and you will see conversion. 

Ways to approach inbound marketing:

There are several ways to approach inbound marketing, including video content, photos, blogs, guidebooks, and much more. The important thing is figuring out a way to differentiate yourself from the competition with this type of content. 

To do so, try embedding testimonials, product comparisons, reviews, or competitive pricing in your content. You want to make sure that your messaging is consistent and your content is thoughtful. 

Example of how an article has been SEO optimized to support inbound marketing

Inbound Marketing example:

Let’s say you have a customer that is on the hunt for a new lawnmower. They might type in “best lawnmowers on the market today” into their preferred search engine. If the very first organic blog post they see is “The Best Lawnmowers for Homeowners,” they’ll hopefully be able to get helpful, unbiased reviews to base their buying decision.

Once they’ve read your article, they might be interested in learning more about outdoor home improvement.

Luckily, you’ve left a convenient link at the end of your article encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter, where they can learn more about everything that has to do with outdoor home improvement! 

As they begin receiving your emails, they realize that you’re the main authority when it comes to home improvement, providing you with leverage to sell your products or services to them in the future. 

Of course, inbound marketing goes much deeper than that. Let’s take a look at some of the main advantages surrounding inbound marketing so you can get a better idea as to why it’s a good idea to implement it in your marketing strategy.

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Pros of Inbound Marketing

There are plenty of unique benefits that inbound marketing can provide. Here are some of the top benefits: 

  • Educational Content – Inbound marketing can provide educational content at every stage in the sales funnel.
  • Non-Invasive – Your potential customers can read your blog posts and check out your content whenever they’d like.
  • Up-To-Date – Because you continuously update your website, you continue drawing in leads who are interested in new content over time.
  • Quantifiable Results – Every piece of your inbound marketing strategy can be tied to a specific metric, which you will be able to monitor as time goes on.

Cons of Inbound Marketing

While there are many benefits to inbound marketing, it certainly isn’t right for every company. Here are a few of the main disadvantages of inbound marketing:

  • Consistent Maintenance – When it comes to inbound marketing, it’s important to continuously maintain your content so that it speaks to the ever-evolving needs and desires of your customers.
  • Time and Effort – Developing and testing out different inbound marketing strategies to find the right one for your brand can take a lot of time and can cost a lot of money.
  • Holistic Approach – You’ll have to purchase tools that help you integrate and implement cross-channel campaigns.
Call center operators are applying outbound marketing techniques

Outbound Marketing 

Outbound marketing differs from inbound marketing in that it sends out messages to vast amounts of people in the hopes of making sales. People often associate outbound marketing with traditional marketing, including billboards, events, direct mail, radio, newspapers, and cold calling. 

You can also apply outbound marketing to modern technology too, such as pay-per-click advertising

When most people discuss inbound marketing vs outbound marketing, they only discuss outbound marketing from a traditional standpoint. However, digital outbound marketing is still alive and well, and can be extremely beneficial for modern businesses. 

More often than not, consumers are not even looking for, and in some cases aren’t even aware, of the product that is being advertised to them. A consumer might be looking through a random website or watching TV when an ad pops up about your product. 

Mediaboom has created a billboard as an example of outbound marketing

Outbound Marketing example:

Suppose a person is driving down the freeway and sees a billboard for a major phone company providing deals on monthly plans. For a split second, that person might think about how much money they spend on their current phone plan and how they’d like to spend less. However, that thought most likely sits in the back of their mind. 

When a few weeks pass by, they’re watching TV when they get hit with a commercial talking about that very same phone plan. Once more, they consider buying into a new phone plan that can save them money, though when their favorite show comes back on, they forget about it again.

Finally, a few months go by, and they open their mailbox, finding a mail offer with a coupon for 15% off the first month of a new phone plan. Luckily, that person also received their exceedingly high phone bill through the mail at the same time and is finally ready to make the switch. 

That person never knew that they wanted to buy a new phone plan, though when ads kept popping up in every aspect of their life, their brains kept telling them it was time. 

Ways to approach outbound marketing:

While traditional outbound marketing may not be for every business, most every business can still find success with digital outbound marketing

Some of the most popular digital outbound marketing tactics include:

These kinds of new-age outbound marketing tactics can be very helpful in delivering a story, which many consumers want now. 

Of course, outbound marketing goes deeper than that. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of outbound marketing. 

The marketer is making a phone call after getting a client through outbound marketing

Pros of Outbound Marketing

There are many benefits of outbound marketing that we urge you not to overlook. Some of those benefits include:

  • Quick Results – Consumers that find interest in the products or services you offer are more likely to hop on them fast. 
  • Targeted Digital Advertising – While traditional outbound marketing is less targeted, you can choose your digital advertising channels carefully to target your preferred audience.
  • Brand Awareness – There are people who may have never heard of your products or services. With outbound marketing, you can reach those people.

Cons of Outbound Marketing

Of course, getting outbound marketing right can be a difficult game. Here are a few of the main cons of outbound marketing that you should consider:

  • Hard To Make Relevant – Outbound marketing is far more generalized, which is why it can be difficult to make it appealing to everyone.
  • Can Be Costly – Purchasing billboard space, digital advertisements, television advertisements, or store banners, can be very expensive. Even smaller forms of outbound marketing, such as direct mail, can add up.
  • Easy To Tune Out – Because consumers are so unphased by outbound marketing, many tune it out. We guarantee that even YOU throw out your junk mail or mute your television when the commercials come on.

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Finding The Right Strategy For Your Needs

Of course, the ultimate question is, inbound marketing vs outbound marketing, which is better?

Basically, outbound marketing is for those who want to spread a message on a large scale. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is ideal for those who want to target smaller groups of consumers directly.

The cost of implementing outbound marketing can be expensive, though the yields can be high. If you want to take a more targeted approach with a smaller financial risk, you might consider sticking with inbound marketing. 
Regardless of the strategy, you choose to implement, our team at Media Boom can help. We specialize in SEO solutions and digital marketing, navigating the ever-changing world of marketing. Make sure to get in touch with us today to learn more!

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals, building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.


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