There are two basic approaches to business marketing: inbound and outbound. Outbound means going to your audience, while inbound refers to attracting your audience to your brand. There are pros and cons to each approach, but the best marketers use a blend of both.
What’s the Difference Between Inbound vs Outbound Marketing?
Outbound is essentially pushing marketing messages out to an audience. This means going to the channels where they are and broadcasting to a broad group.
Inbound flips that by trying to attract people back to your marketing channels. It’s usually about creating content that people find and willingly enter your marketing funnel.
What are some examples of each?
Outbound looks like advertising, sponsoring conferences and trade shows, sending direct mail pieces, or cold calling. It’s pushing your brand to people.
Inbound can include blogging, lead generators with email automation, or free educational webinars. It’s pulling people to your brand.
What are the big differences between the two?
Outbound is more traditional. Jumping on someone else’s platform used to be the only way to do marketing. It can reach a broader audience that doesn’t already know you so you get better brand awareness and have an immediate impact. But it’s more invasive and can have a higher cost with a lesser return on that investment.
Inbound marketing is newer and more built around the digital space. The goal is to provide value to a smaller, targeted audience and then nurture them to make a purchase. However, this can also take more time to build content, and it can take more time before you see results.
Is one approach better than the other?
Inbound is becoming more popular because it’s not as invasive, it’s more focused, and has lower direct costs. However, it’s usually best for businesses to take a balanced approach. There are pros and cons to both, especially depending on your industry.
Try a mix of both to see what works for you. Especially if your industry is dominated by one or the other, taking the alternative approach can help you to stand out.
Are thee the only two marketing approaches?
These are two of the most recognized approaches to marketing, but I wrote an article a few years back about a theoretical third approach: what I call outlandish marketing.
The idea is to do something different that helps you to stand out even if it doesn’t obviously or immediately improve your bottom line. Some examples of this are the Guinness Book of World Records, the Michelin Restaurant Stars, and Domino’s Paving for Pizza.