Inbound Marketing Versus Outbound Marketing

The Tables Are Being Turned on Marketing Approaches

ground crew apron marshall
Be On the Lookout for Incoming Marketing. American Airlines © 2012

Marketers looking for ways to connect with consumers and increase brand equity are shifting from a focus on outbound marketing to inbound marketing. What is brand equity? Brand equity is the value attributed to a product or a service in the eyes of a consumer because it is a well-known brand.

Different marketing approaches do influence consumers' purchase journeys. To learn more about this topic, take a look at the examples of different approaches to marketing below.

How Do Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing Differ?

HubSpot simplifies the distinction between outbound marketing and inbound marketing in this simple way:

Think of outbound marketing as a hammer; think of inbound marketing as a magnet.

What is Outbound Marketing? - Outbound marketing occurs when a company focuses on generating sales leads by paying for media. With outbound marketing, a firm’s tend to emphaisze activities to fill the top of their sales funnel.

Outbound marketing consists primarily of the following activities:

  • Cold calling
  • Trade shows
  • Advertising
  • Outsourced telemarketing
  • Seminar series
  • Online surveys and polls
  • Email blasts to purchased lists

Each of these methods pushes out a message both far and wide with the hope that the message will resonate with customer targets out in the market.

What Is Inbound Marketing? - Inbound marketing occurs when a consumer pulls herself quite far along in the purchasing journey.

When a potential customer engages strongly with the brand well in advance of actually becoming a sales contact, it is very likely that they are participating in some version of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing can be used to scale for exponential effects. Customer driven marketing is often invited through the portal of a blog.

For example, starting with a blog, search engine optimization can be applied to increase the hits on the content. Adding social media networking to the inbound marketing constellation can many more links to the blog content.

Consumers Prefer Inbound Marketing - They Like to Have Their Say

Conventional marketing strategy has been heavily invested in outbound marketing. But new technologies have enabled consumers to avoid a lot of outbound marketing. In fact, consumer tolerance for outbound marketing strategies is very low. Consumers are taking an increasingly active role in filtering the advertising they permit, and they are using both inbound and outbound marketing at different points in their purchase journey as part of their particular approaches to consumer research about products and services.

Creating lasting connections with customers through outbound strategies is an increasingly loosing proposition. Consider that, on average, people are inundated with more than 2000 per day outbound marketing interruptions.

These marketing interruptions are so irritating to consumers that they eagerly employ ways to block the advertising from getting into their personal and professional spheres.

Caller ID was one of the first methods for interrupting the marketing interruption chain. It was quickly followed by a stream of innovative technology, such as spam filters for email, Sirius satellite radio, subscription pay-per-view cable channels, and Tivo. In addition, where consumers used to flock to high interest seminars at hotels or travel to trade shows in major cities, today, consumer research and information gathering about products and services can easily be conducted online.

How Are Things In the Conversion Tunnel?

A fundamental advantage to inbound marketing is that it moves in the space where consumers are already learning about particular products and services, and many are already in a shopping mode. So, with inbound marketing, the arduous task of trying to find ways to penetrate the barriers of established by people who are trying to block every form of marketing is not relevant. The objectives of inbound marketing are to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find a company’s product or service offerings, and then to offer compelling content that acts to tip them from being interested viewers to consumers willing to commit to a purchase.

Although the inbound marketing movement is steadily growing, the profile of most marketers today still shows about 90% of marketing effort going to outbound marketing and 10% dedicated to inbound marketing. Experts are increasingly advising companies to flip those numbers, concentrating their resources and marketing spend on inbound marketing. Extending the metaphor of inbound marketing as a magnet, the magnet fragments that gravitate to a company’s product or service hub would be coming from the blogosphere, search engines, and social media.

Inbound marketing strategies encompass a constellation of methods that consumers tend to favor.  Unlike outbound marketing that is perceived by consumers as an interrupting force, inbound marketing is more entertaining, less intrusive, more timely, and generates higher ROI than does conventional outbound marketing. Marketing strategy that capitalizes on best practices for inbound marketing will solidify consumer-brand engagement in this evolving marketing arena.

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