If you’re promoting your business at all, you’ll be using either inbound or outbound marketing. Knowing the difference between these two terms, as well as when, where, why and how to use them, is key to running a successful campaign and generating valuable leads.

With that in mind, what are inbound and outbound marketing, what’s the difference between the two and how can you use them both to your advantage?

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing is essentially another term for traditional marketing. This method’s goal is to grab the attention of all consumers with messaging that is crafted to make your goods and services seem attractive. This is a more in-your-face form of marketing that is less personalised and targeted, which means it’s often more expensive. It’s more of a grab for attention than a two-way conversation. Outbound marketing methods include:

  • Print marketing
  • TV and radio ads
  • Telemarketing
  • Billboards
  • Digital banner ads
  • Tradeshows and conferences
  • Buying email lists and cold email marketing

These methods can be effective. However, since they are usually less targeted, they may reach more people while converting fewer into leads.

Inbound marketing

Inbound is the new school of marketing. The term describes a less intrusive, more personalised form of marketing that aims to spark a two-way conversation and build a relationship with prospects in order to sell. It’s about giving customers what they need to purchase.

Inbound methods include:

  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Social media
  • Carefully crafted and personalised email marketing

This new approach has evolved due to a shift in power and knowledge from sellers to buyers which have made outbound methods less effective. This shift means B2B purchasers don’t need salespeople to educate them – they have access to endless information via the internet and will make a decision based on their own logic and research.

What’s more, TV is often prerecorded and the ads are skipped, ad blockers are installed on browsers and email clients filter promotional content to be lost in a sea of similar emails. To cut through the noise, you need to personalise.

Why use inbound marketing?

The goal for your marketing should be to maximise your return on investment – that means getting the most leads and sales for the least ad spend.

If it’s well executed, inbound marketing is usually superior to outbound in this respect. In fact, The Whole Brain Group’s data shows that 14.6 per cent of SEO leads result in a close, while only 1.7 per cent of outbound leads do. Done By Friday agrees – their numbers show that inbound gets the same results as outbound for 64 per cent less.

What’s more, inbound techniques are measurable down to the last click, whereas it’s impossible to count how many people looked up at your billboard during their 5 o’clock commute or spilled their morning coffee on your newspaper ad. This measurability allows you to A/B test – comparing two different approaches and comparing results to continually improve.

Inbound techniques are also generally more agile, which is important with the speed at which culture and news moves today. For example, if your social campaign isn’t generating results, then you can instantly edit the copy, refocus the targeting and adjust the imagery to improve it. On the other hand, as soon as you plan and shoot a TV ad then buy a slot, your money’s gone regardless of its performance. The same goes for billboards and print.

Using inbound marketing effectively

B2B buyers are bombarded with noisy advertisements all day. To cut through the noise and get the best return on your marketing spend, you need to aim to start a conversation and educate prospects who may already be interested in your offering, rather than shout into the void.

With that said, there is still a place for outbound marketing but it needs to be as targeted and personalised as possible, and used to compliment a well-thought-out inbound campaign.  

Are you ready to start exploring the endless possibilities of inbound marketing? Get in touch with the team at Pounce Marketing to organise a free inbound consultation.