Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Which Strategy is Right for You?

Even if you’re not new to marketing, this inbound vs outbound marketing business might be confusing. Here are 5 comparisons that will help you decipher what’s what so you can decide what kind of marketing mix is right for you:

1. Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing in a Nutshell

Marketing used to be all about demographics and psychographics. That changed when digital marketing came on the scene.

Inbound Marketing

Pulls customers to companies through digital media and online engagement while taking a flexible, consumer-focused approach.

Outbound Marketing

Pushes companies onto customers through traditional marketing and advertising strategies that seek to reach as many people as possible.

Spending on marketing analytics is expected to increase 60% by 2015.
~CMO Survey

2. Examples of Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is all about online engagement while Outbound Marketing focuses on tried-and-true old school tactics.

Inbound Marketing

Quality web content, infographics, podcasts, white papers, e-books, and social media marketing.

Outbound Marketing

Billboards, direct mail, television ads, radio spots, banner ads, cold-calls, and telemarketing.

By 2014, over 40% of large complex marketing organizations will have developed a pace-layered application approach to integrated marketing. ~Gartner Research

3. Pros of Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

While it’s easy to tell businesses to adapt to the new ways and have a digital plan, both platforms have merit.

Inbound Marketing

Is cheaper, adaptable, and less intrusive on the world while it’s better at matching products with consumers and is easy to track its effectiveness.

Outbound Marketing

Is less work with high payoff, it can be forced onto greater numbers of people, and is particularly suitable for high and low end products like Jaguar and Coke.

64% of CMOs have either an informal or no process to manage their marketing automation. Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. ~The Annuitas Group

4. Cons of Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

Marketing professionals have tried to nail down exactly what works, but when it comes to consumer behavior, nothing is ever certain.

Inbound Marketing

Takes a lot of work and is dependent a number of X factors like the moods of consumers, attention from influencers, dumb luck, and changes in technology.

Outbound Marketing

Is expensive and intrusive with little regard for consumer needs and a high failure-to-success rate that’s hard to turn around if it’s not working.

Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%.
~Digital Buzz Blog

5. The Bottom Line of Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

In the end, Inbound Marketing is less expensive and more effective than Outbound Marketing. While it might be easier to shell out some money and slap up a billboard, taking time to cultivate an online presence, interact, and adapt to what your customers want will ultimately bring you higher gains. Sure, it’s more work, but the good news is that you can likely hire a professional to handle it for you for less than that billboard costs.

In 2014, email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. ~eMarketer

Inbound versus Outbound Marketing

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Jon Whitbeck
As a web designer and developer, I have managed, built, launched, and maintained websites that meet my clients' objectives. I develop dynamic websites with content management systems based on the latest design trends. My background as an educator and instructor helps me create user-friendly interfaces and teach my clients how to update their own sites.

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