Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
In today’s concrete jungle, advertising is about self-preservation. The marketplace is full of competitors trying to out perform one another to put food on their tables. The more the world around us evolves, the more the hunt changes. It’s called evolution, folks and it’s a force of nature you can’t oppose. Just ask the Dodo bird. Oh, wait…
There are two marketing camps within this concrete jungle, outbound and inbound. To properly furnish your hunt for success, you’ll need to know how each camp operates to survive. Grab your safari gear and let’s get started, mate!
Outbound marketing is considered the primitive method. Here, companies initiate interactions based on the theory that, the more people they reach, the greater their odds of stumbling upon a lead. Think of it like casting a net, hoping to catch as many fish as possible. Just because you’re hungry doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to eat. Examples of outbound marketing tactics include:
Inbound marketing is considered the new frontier. It utilizes the Internet and highly specific targeting tactics to connect with individuals searching for information on a given product or service. It’s scientific, measurable and when done correctly, the effort you put in equals what you get out. Examples of inbound marketing tactics include:
Social media networking
The two methods live in completely different worlds. Outbound marketing combs the physical world using ancient paths to connect with a lead like face-to-face conversation at trade shows, paper ads or telephone calls. It does not bother defining the who, what, when, where and why details of a prospective audience.
Inbound marketing is happening everywhere via modern methods of communication like email, social media, blogs and downloads. It’s mobile. It finds specific people through keywords and phrases that align with search terms. It takes into account real time data about consumer activity and it targets every move according to the who, what, when, where and why details of a prospective audience.
Outbound marketing is intrusive and pushy, like a door-to-door salesman. It wants to attract attention by taking up time or space. A full-page ad; a 60-second elevator speech; a radio or TV spot. In this camp, the enterprise is king of the jungle and the consumer has little to no control over how or when they hike the trails.
Inbound marketing is sophisticated and noble. It does not attract attention through flashy ads but rather, by educating consumers, building trust and developing relationships. Emails are subscribed to. Blogs are searched for and found using search engine optimization. Downloads are requested. The key difference - consumers are in control. Hear them roar!
Outbound marketing provides little to no value to a prospect unless he or she is ready to buy. But guess what? Majority of your leads are nowhere near sales ready! What outbound marketing fails to recognize is that a non-sales ready lead is still important to business.
Inbound marketing nurtures every lead by providing valuable information that educates and enriches the lead’s decision-making process. The whole point of inbound marketing is to build trust and guide leads to that sales ready point through information sharing that is directly in line with what the lead is searching. In this way, the relationship between buyer and seller becomes mutually beneficial.
Outbound marketing only provides one direction for communication. Information goes from the seller, to the buyer…period. It’s like that one friend we all have that talks too much and never lets you get in a word (you know who you are).
With inbound marketing, communication is 2-way. Conversation is welcomed and encouraged. Consumers educate marketers and marketers educate consumers. There are rainbows and unicorns and… OK, no there aren’t but it is a symbiotic environment where questions are asked and answered, experiences are shared and relationships are built to last. Inbound marketing values customer loyalty.
Everything has a price tag – right down to the air you breath! Marketing is no different. Choosing the outbound marketing methodology will have you bidding for space and time. At this camp, you are forever spending on material, and a lot of it because the goal is to get your name in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
With inbound marketing, space and time is somewhat irrelevant and the goal is to attract attention. Many of the tactics are free and organic (provided you have a computer and opposable thumbs with which to type). Creative content and vigilant campaign tracking fuels this camp. What you will spend money on is pay per click advertising, CMS/CRM solutions to help track and manage progress, premium profile accounts and promoted social media posts. But it’s important to remember that each penny you spend can be carefully tracked to evaluate the return on investment. You can’t as easily track 500 postcards that slug around the snail mail trail.
Which camp is best for you?
Crikey, mate. That’s a lot of information to take in! Let’s digest this brain feast…
Outbound marketing methods are familiar territory and businesses that have been surviving in the marketplace using outbound tools are apprehensive to change ‘what isn’t necessarily broken’. Outbound methods cater to an audience of people who have not yet embraced the market shift to technology. But beware; this audience is dwindling – and fast.
Inbound marketing is predictable, measurable and highly adaptable, but it requires constant effort and attentive tracking to be successful. It appeals to the modern consumer and takes place everywhere. Its goal is to spend time, money and energy only on targeted, quality leads that are genuinely interested in the product or service and uses valuable information sharing to fortify strong relationships, develop customer loyalty and create brand advocates.
The way we see it – a company in today’s jungle can survive without outbound marketing methods. If you never again send a post card or make a cold call, there are other (more popular) forms of marketing that will sustain your goals. But a company that refuses to participate in inbound marketing will eventually die out. Don’t be the Dodo of your industry; team up with a digital agency that can help you develop a marketing strategy that caters to your unique goals.