The debate of Inbound vs. Outbound marketing has become increasingly one-sided over the past few years. Many marketers across the globe have all but jumped ship on the traditions of Outbound marketing, instead placing the Inbound method at the core of their strategies.
Is it smart to ditch Outbound marketing? Should marketers be focusing solely on bettering their Inbound successes, instead of sticking with the dwindling ROI Outbound is reportedly providing?
The answer is quite a complex one. Although experts and gurus are readily pushing Inbound like glowsticks at a 90s rave, the truth is it varies from business to business, and from strategy to strategy, while the line between both methodologies is not as polar as one might expect.
To help you decide if Inbound or Outbound are right for your campaigns, here’s a quick rundown of a few pros and cons.
What is Outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is any type of marketing that reaches out to prospects and leads, more often than not with the specific intention of closing a sale. Traditionally, these have included things like TV, Radio, direct mail, and event marketing, as well as telesales, door-to-door canvassing, and general cold calling. In the digital sense, this also covers things like PPC, email blasts, and banner ads.
- Deliver a single message en masse: Whether it’s a commercial, banner ad, or email blast, being able to get a single, concise message to a specific audience is a huge benefit.
- Quick results – easier to optimize: In the digital sense, it can be quite easy to know when outbound marketing is working, and therefore easier to see where improvements can be made.
- Potentially generate a huge amount of brand awareness: One of the biggest plus points to Outbound marketing is it gets your brand in front of eyes. After all, one of the main goals of outbound is to get more eyes on your brand.
- Often feels less authentic: The main gripe that marketers have with outbound, is the sense that it is not as authentic, and thus less appealing than inbound.
- Expensive to succeed: Mass audiences and fast results don’t come cheap. Without plowing a decent budget into your outbound efforts, chances are your single message will reach fewer eyes and ears than you need it to.
- One and done: Reliance on outbound methods can mean that once this advertising stops, so does the attention and sales it generates. In many ways, adopting a completely outbound approach can make it harder to focus on anything else without taking an initial hit on your conversion rate.
What is Inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is the golden child of the marketing elite. Essentially, it is any type of marketing that improves the likelihood of attracting prospects and leads to your brand, including things like blog posts, SEO, ebooks, and more creative content, and more recently app-based marketing.
- Cheaper to succeed: Inbound marketing is not always cheap, but improving the chances of success can be more cost effective than with outbound. SEO, blog posts, and content marketing, for example, are all cost effective to produce and implement.
- Ongoing success: Inbound isn’t “one and done”. Over time, the more effort and focus you place on creating content, the more likely your brand will continually show up in search results as a source of reliable information.
- Success is not simple and takes patience: Although success with inbound is cheaper than outbound, it can take a lot of time to see any substantial results. In many cases, this can lead marketers to abandon their inbound strategies before they have a chance.
- Lots of noise: By far the biggest downfall of inbound marketing is its popularity. Most marketers are already making a huge impact with their inbound strategies, which in turn makes it harder for new brands to rise above the noise.