Inbound Marketing VS Outbound Marketing

October 16, 2019
Inbound Marketing VS Outbound Marketing

Jonathan Harrison

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Outbound marketing is traditional marketing. As opposed to inbound marketing, in outbound marketing it is companies that find customers, most commonly through advertising.

Outbound marketing, also commonly called push marketing, is a one-way discussion of a company, not a two-way communication between a company and a customer as it is in inbound marketing. Outbound marketing is usually highly impersonalised. Outbound marketing is an approach that includes both online and offline marketing tools, such as direct mail, email, cold calls or print advertisements.

Efficiency of methods

Currently, outbound marketing is becoming less and less effective. One of the main reasons behind this is that people receive extensive amount of advertisements daily and so they tend to find different ways on how to block them, including caller ID, spam filtering or TiVo. To outline this trend, the steep growth in active AdBlock plugin users worldwide, from 21 million in January 2010 to 198 million in June 2015, can be seen in the figure below.

Image: Number of active AdBlock plugin users worldwide from January 2010 to June 2015 (in millions) (Statista 2015)

In addition, nowadays, customers are self-directed, they want to be in control of the buying process, it is not as in the past when brand managers could directly shape a prospects discovery experience from start to finish. Forbes in 2016 mentioned that based on a survey of 250 retailers, 82% of customers research major products online before purchasing them. People are commonly looking for information using Google or another search engine.


As an outcome, there are various opinions whether companies should replace outbound marketing with inbound marketing or whether they should use both. Rather than doing outbound marketing to the masses of people who are trying to block you out, I advocate doing inbound marketing where you help yourself "get found" by people already learning about and shopping in your industry”. On the other hand, any good marketing mix should utilise both inbound and outbound marketing strategies.

Key Inbound Marketing Components

The most successful inbound marketing campaigns have three key components content, SEO and social media:

  • Content: Blogs, Videos, White Papers, Ebooks

  • Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Forums, Blogs

  • SEO: On-page, Off-page, Link Building, Key Analysis

The first key inbound marketing component is a content. Content creation is the centre of inbound marketing campaign. By creating useful content and tools that people are looking for, a company is able to naturally pull potential customers into the business. The content can be presented in several forms, for example in the form of blog, video, eBook or white paper.

The second key inbound marketing component is a search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engine optimisation is essential if a company wants their content to be easily found by potential customers. Search engine optimisation can maximise a company's ranking in search engines, where most of the customers start their buying process. On-page SEO, off-page SEO, link-building or use of key-words are some of the elements of SEO.

The third key inbound marketing component are social media. Social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, blog or Facebook can amplify the impact of the content which the company produced.

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