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Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing: How are They Unique

Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing

Let’s face it; planning a successful marketing strategy isn’t a piece of cake. Trends keep on changing, and you’re faced with the challenge of keeping up with these changes while building a predictable sales pipeline. 

Inbound marketing, for instance, was the big change that transformed how marketers approached their lead generation strategy. Now a decade later, inbound marketing is still the go-to strategy for most marketers. But does it mean traditional outbound marketing has lost its charm? Not in the slightest.

So how do you choose between the two? This blog will talk about the key differences between inbound and outbound marketing and why each matter. 

What is Outbound Marketing? 

Outbound marketing is the traditional marketing approach of sending out marketing messages to potential customers. Simply put, outbound marketing endeavours to “push” information to the customers to create brand awareness with events, billboards, direct mail, cold calling, and more.

It focuses on targeting a large audience (most of whom might not even know about the product) to boost interest in the product and generate higher leads. 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on attracting potential customers through valuable content and social media tactics. Rather than pushing cold emails or marketing ads onto the audience, inbound marketing is all about creating intrigue for your products and services through content. 

Inbound marketing allows marketers to spread brand awareness, and engage audiences by solving their pain points. This way, valuable content gives the audience an incentive to learn more about your business, and you are likely to generate higher leads.

As a result, inbound and outbound lead generation differs in the way that inbound leads initiate contact with your business after engaging with your content or through referrals. Outbound leads, on the other hand, are generated through active communication initiated by you. 

Bonus Read: Designing an Effective Outbound Motion

Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

To give you a more accurate picture, let’s see the key differences between inbound and outbound marketing based on-

  • Audience engagement
  • Marketing strategies
  • Distribution 

A. Audience Engagement

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing primarily focuses on finding a channel with mass traffic and interrupting the target audience (hence, the name interruption-based marketing) with marketing ads.

When done right, the hope is that even a small percentage of this target audience might find your ads relevant and be interested in doing business with you. 

Inbound marketing

On the contrary, inbound marketing is a permission-based approach where you can engage the audience by-

  • Connecting with them through various permission-based channels like social media, blog subscriptions, email subscriptions and newsletters, and more
  • Addressing the challenges and pain points of the audience and answering the questions they might have through a robust keyword targeting and content strategy.

B. Marketing Strategies

Outbound marketing

With a linear approach to targeting, outbound marketing involves adopting only those channels that will most accurately help you connect with the target audience. Ranging from tradeshows, events, direct mailing, cold emails, and more, marketers allot a higher portion of their marketing budgets to the more effective mediums, leaving out the less effective ones. 

And ultimately send out unified messages across various channels, and done. Moreover, outbound marketing has evolved as the digital era takes on. Marketers can leverage highly targeted social and contextual advertisements and plan retargeting campaigns to reach the audience via their preferred digital channels.

Additional Read: How to Build a Qualified Sales Pipeline

Inbound marketing

When it comes to targeting the audience, inbound marketing adopts a more complex, holistic approach. It all starts with a well-planned and engaging website that offers an incredible user experience. 

Next up, you must fine-tune your content strategy with your sales and marketing goals and use different distribution channels simultaneously with a personalized content approach for each. However, this approach requires constant attention and adjustments to make sure the various channels and content are working well together. 

C. Distribution

Since outbound marketing is all about actively reaching out to your audience, outbound distribution tends to be more aggressive with the expectation of converting at least a few. Marketers with outbound strategy need to stand out from the crowd with their messaging. And hence, the distribution channels are such that they can attract a bigger audience. 

On the other hand, inbound marketing lets you own your distribution. Since it focuses on content creation intending to draw in higher web traffic, your distribution approach is far subtler, focuses on a specific group, and keeps on giving results even once you stop creating content. 

That said, combining the inbound and outbound channels is a great way to ensure maximum reach for the brand and generate higher leads. 

Also Read: How to Streamline Your Outbound Sales Strategy

While both inbound and outbound sales strategies differ in how they reach and connect with potential customers, both play a unique role in creating a predictable pipeline for your business. Depending upon your target audience, marketing and sales goals, and budget, you can go with inbound marketing as a long-term strategy or adopt an outbound strategy to boost brand awareness and get immediate results.

The Bottom Line

Now that you are aware of the major differences between inbound and outbound marketing, you can aim to combine the two to double the potential of your marketing efforts. Here, the most important thing is to clearly understand your target audience and approach them in a way that works best for them.