Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing are in great discussion these days as new entrepreneurs have entered the marketplace. Over the last decade or so, Inbound Marketing has been deemed the new way to market. Out with the old Outbound Marketing approach that doesn’t work. Or does it? To know which is best for your business, you need to understand a little about marketing.

Marketing is most often known as the promotion of a product or service to sell in a marketplace. Everyone will agree that markets change due to supply and demand of the product or service needed. So, marketing helps fill the gap between the supply and demand for businesses. Sometimes creating a demand for a product that has a great supply (like hotel rooms that aren’t full) and sometimes creating a supply for a product that is demanded by the public (like shovels when it snows) and sometimes expressing a need that we may have in the future (like prescription drugs).

In fact, according to the Business Dictionary, marketing is much more than promotion of a product or service. It is a process through which goods and services move from concept to customer delivery. Identifying a need, selecting or developing a product or service to meet that need, determining a price point, choosing how to distribute the product or service and promoting the product or service to the customer base intended. This is the full process of marketing. However, for the purpose of this article we will focus on promotional marketing, both inbound and outbound.

Digital marketing, or marketing on the Internet, has changed the channel of delivery or promotion and to some degree changed the marketplace. Marketing on the Internet has made sales super fast and access to information really easy. What used to take many days can now be done in matter of minutes. Social media has made the marketplace much more accessible in a few minutes by creating a huge network of people closely related. Although, print ads still work, they may need to be delivered in a different way.

Let’s talk about each type of marketing plan and what advantages and disadvantages they might have for your business.

Inbound Marketing:

Inbound Marketing is the new way of thinking to get noticed in the marketplace more quickly. The driving factor behind Inbound Marketing is to get noticed by connecting with people. It creates an interest in knowing more, not necessarily in buying. It’s target is to reach potential customers, so Inbound Marketing can help reach lots of users quickly and can generate lots of likes and fan followers.

Inbound Marketing methods include:

  • Blogging/Content Creation
  • Social Media
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • eBook
  • Reputation Management
  • Landing Page

Benefits of Inbound Marketing:

  • Potential buyers do not get annoyed with the advertisements. All content is filtered to what they like.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) can be higher and more long term.
  • Trust is built in something more than just a product.
  • Loyalty is created by a potential client being invested in something more than just a product.
  • Promotion never ends! Even if you are offline, your content will continue to work for you.
  • Potential customers begin to feel like they have a voice and their opinion matters.
  • Keyword blogging and content creation can improve search engine results and bring more traffic to your website.
  • Your audience knows whether to trust your motivation over time. They learn whether your motivation is to sell them something or to build a relationship that will help them for the long haul.

Outbound Marketing:

Outbound Marketing is considered a traditional marketing method and too old to work. The driving factor behind Outbound Marketing is to get noticed by telling customers about a product or service. It creates a need to buy to a much broader audience which may include non-related audiences. It is not targeting at a certain market but rather is intended to create a market out of the unknown.

Outbound Marketing methods include:

  • TV Ads
  • Cold Calling
  • Billboard Ads
  • Print Media
  • Newspaper
  • Radio Ads
  • Email Blast
  • Lead Generation Software

Benefits of Outbound Marketing:

  • Can drive lots of traffic to business.
  • May work well in highly saturated markets.
  • Initial introduction of a product.
  • First contact in a market.
  • Can create plenty of leads.
  • Message is viewed by many.

Even though Inbound Marketing has many quick advantages, Outbound Marketing is still effective and can’t be ignored. As digital media becomes more widely used, traditional methods become less expensive and can be used to communicate with a broader audience, keeping your message top of mind. Print can still be effective when used as a sales lead and TV ads are still a big deal at the Super Bowl, right?!

Which one serves your business better?

Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing have their own benefits and approaches to sales generation. They both have a reasonable presence in the marketplace. In my opinion, both should be a part of your marketing strategy. The best marketing plan is one that is diversified and uses both approaches.

Outbound Marketing can be expensive and is more short term while Inbound Marketing can take a lot of time and effort initially, but more beneficial in the long run. Understand your available resources, the investment you want to make and work you want to put into it and then decide which marketing technique fits your needs the best.

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