Comparing Outbound and Inbound Marketing

Marketing strategy for finding customers.When marketing and advertising agencies start to talk about marketing strategies for your business, you’ve probably heard the terms “outbound marketing” and “inbound marketing.”  What on the surface just seems like insider jargon or buzz words actually explains the two major schools of thought when it comes to advertising and marketing your company, and the disruptive nature the internet has had on traditional marketing. Below we explain the difference that these two strategies have, and how to best use them to your advantage.

The Traditional Advertising of Outbound Marketing

The term outbound marketing is defined by its disruptive sibling inbound marketing. Outbound marketing represents most forms of “traditional marketing,” that was the gold standard for marketing before the internet became the powerhouse it is today. Outbound marketing relies on two major systems: the purchasing of space for ads and directly reaching out to the consumer.

These often include the following types of marketing:

  • TV and radio advertising
  • Telemarketing or cold-calling
  • Direct mail, from letters to catalogs to postcards
  • Conferences and expos
  • Physical ads in newspapers or on billboards
  • Electronic ads on websites
  • Press releases
  • Newsletters (physical or electronic)

The Dangers of Interruption Marketing

As you can see in the above list, there are several marketing practices that the average consumer dislikes, such as flyers in their mail or robo-dialers on their phone. Outbound marketing when improperly employed can become “interruption marketing.” Due to poor audience targeting, automated or outsourced advertising, and attempting to engage repeatedly with the same customers, this type of marketing can produce more spam and frustration than sales, and can negatively impact your reputation.

The Viral New Age of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a relatively new concept, with the term coined by HubSpot’s CEO Brian Halligan (and mirroring the concept of Seth Godin’s permission marketing) less than a decade ago. This term was meant to represent the new type of marketing that is possible with the interconnectivity of the internet. As we’ve talked about in our blog, Organic SEO vs Paid Search: Which is Better?, inbound marketing focuses more on making the customers come to you, instead of using a sales team and print ads to reach out to them.

Inbound marketing usually includes the following types of marketing:

  • Website and app (mobile and desktop) presence
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Blogs, particularly about topical events
  • Social media and social media advertising
  • Branded marketing (keychains, t-shirt, etc.)

Comparing Inbound and Outbound Marketing

From the above description, it might seem this is a battle between outdated advertising (outbound) and organic marketing (inbound). However, there are strengths on both sides that can complement each other and help boost your company’s visibility and customers. The conferences, cold-calls, and physical presence of outbound marketing can help locate and find customer needs, which can then be used by inbound marketing through relevant content online through social media and blogs. Depending on your industry needs and customers, a perfect blend of the two can be found.

If you’re looking to get help on your marketing, it’s time you reached out to Vision Advertising. From inbound marketing like SEO and blogs to outbound marketing like press releases and advertising, we can help. We’re a full-service internet marketing company, from websites to social media, soup to nuts. Contact us today to learn more about all our services and how to best market your business.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by his background, Alex writes “social media content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to whitepapers and beyond. In addition, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision’s clients, along with social media advertising for others. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, compiles tabletop roleplaying system conversions, and cooks a mean Chicken and Dumplings avec Peas. A videogame enthusiast, he is also developing his first video game with the startup game studio, Pretty Weird. He is terrible with plants*.