Inbound Marketing

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

By Dany Ortiz, on 02 March 2020

In the world of marketing, there appears to be two distinct camps: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. 

But what exactly do these buzzwords mean? While their names are similar, the difference between inbound and outbound marketing is straightforward. In this article, I’ll explain inbound vs outbound marketing, define the two, and explain when and how you should use each method.

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Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

The difference between inbound and outbound marketing is actually quite simple. Inbound boils down to letting the customer come to you, while outbound is about interacting with the customer whether they are interested in your product or not

In the past, outbound marketing used to be referred to simply as “marketing”, but just as consumers’ shopping habits and internet use have changed, so have the methods of reaching consumers. Keep reading for a more in-depth understanding of inbound and outbound marketing. 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is a non-intrusive form of marketing that seeks to help users solve a problem or make a decision through relevant and helpful content. Inbound marketing attracts prospects using keywords and then turns them into customers by accompanying them as they progress through the buyer journey. 

Inbound marketing is becoming an increasingly popular form of marketing because instead of disrupting users with invasive ads you are actually attracting the customers to you. The reason why inbound marketing is so effective is due to its subtlety, since the user is actually seeking out the content and materials you’re putting out.

Using different forms of content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media, and newsletters, an inbound strategy seeks to draw the customers to the brand using information that they are actually seeking. Over time the user will begin to trust the brand, leading to a purchase when the time comes.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing includes any kind of paid advertising methods, social ads, SEM, native advertising, and traditional advertisements and marketing methods. It is essentially the opposite technique of inbound marketing because it seeks to interact with any potential customer, regardless of whether or not they’re interested in your product or service.

Over the years, as advertising has become more present in our lives, irrelevant outbound marketing has become less and less effective towards moving sales. Consumers have become blind to advertisements that are not relevant to their needs or wants. 

However, smart outbound marketing still does have a place in a marketing strategy. For example, highly targeted social ads with pixels, retargeting campaigns, and contextual advertisements are in fact relevant to consumers and can be successful. The difference is that they are well planned and targeted to reach consumers based on the funnel advertising methodology.


Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Inbound and outbound marketing use different tools and technique in their respective strategies. So, besides their approaches, what is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing? A study from Hubspot show that only 18% of marketers say outbound practices provide the highest quality leads for sales. Oppositely, 75% of inbound organizations believe their inbound marketing strategy is effective.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

The difference between inbound and outbound marketing comes down to preferences. Inbound marketing is on the rise, while outbound continues to fall out of favor for many marketers. Consumers are tired of disruptive advertisements that are irrelevant to them or their needs.  However, this doesn't mean outbound marketing techniques have no value in a full marketing strategy. 

In the end, both inbound and outbound marketing can serve a purpose in your marketing strategy. Inbound vs outbound marketing is less of a battle of which sole method to choose, and more about which method you should spend more of your efforts and time on. Take a look at your target audience and you analytics and decide which technique will work best for you.


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Dany Ortiz

Inbound Marketing & Content Strategist en Cyberclick. Experta en marketing online, gestión de contenidos, estrategia en redes sociales, y creación y optimización ​de ​campañas ​en ​social ​ads. _______________________________________________________________________ Inbound Marketing & Content Strategist at Cyberclick. Expert in online marketing, content management, social media strategy, and creation and optimization of campaigns in social ads.