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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Written by Nick Simard on 11.10.18

Build Your Digital Marketing Machine 

Mix the "Old" with the "New"


Outbound Marketing, the "Old"

Outbound marketing, a more traditional marketing strategy, is when a company initiates the interaction with a consumer. Outbound marketing examples include TV commercials, radio ads, cold calling, direct mail, outdoor advertising, trade shows, and more.


Inbound Marketing, the "New"

Inbound marketing is the opposite of outbound. Companies that use inbound marketing draw consumers to their product/service using different strategies such as SEO, content marketing, conversational bots, paid search, and more. The initial interaction in inbound marketing comes from the potential customer. 

Traditionally, there are four (4) stages in the inbound methodology: Attract (inbound visitors), Convert (into leads), Close (into Customers) and Delight (turn Customers into Promoters). Each stage is equally important and requires you to consistently add value to your customer's digital buyer's journey.


Something was missing from the four stages so the traditional inbound "funnel" is now represented by a flywheel and emphasis is now placed significantly on customer services and evolving your funnel into a flywheel of service, feedback and referrals to grow better.

Funnel to Flywheel-1

Customer Service

Today, it goes beyond the traditional four stages to include an intense focus on improving the retention of customers with excellent service throughout your organization.


The first stage, attract, is about gaining the attention of your audience. How do you gain their interest? This is where content marketing comes into play. Create relevant content to increase your search ranking and authority. Blogging and social media are also great ways to increase attraction. 


The next stage, Engage, is when you begin to form relationships with your leads. Ensure your communication with them is through their preferred channel. In inbound marketing it is important to personalize communications with leads. Utilize your CRM to capture information about your leads and communicate in the most effective way. 


The last stage is delight. This stage is about connect your success to your customer's success. Do everything in your power to make sure they succeed. If they succeed, they are more likely to become promoters for your business. The most powerful marketing tool is word of mouth. The continuous process of inbound marketing should deliver just that. 


Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

When it comes to inbound vs outbound marketing the terms are quite clear; leads coming at you are inbound leads while leads that you seek out are outbound leads. Outbound marketing produces one way communication, while inbound marketing provides interactive two way communication. Many consumers view outbound marketing methods as interruptive and annoying. On the other side, inbound marketing methods find consumers when and where they are interested.


Outbound marketing can be extremely costly and conversion rates are often hard to track. With the current technology available, marketers are finding that the traditional outbound marketing methods are producing less leads. Consumers can easily ignore telemarketing calls, fast forward through TV commercials, and stream music through their smartphones instead of listening to the radio. The best place to reach consumers has evolved.


Consumers are more in control of the content they receive which is why the companies are shifting to the inbound methodology. Inbound marketing is far less expensive than outbound and generate more quality leads. 


The continuous cycle of attracting, converting, and delighting customers provides the best results. If you're looking to increase your ROI, generate leads, or drive sales, inbound marketing is the best choice for your marketing strategy. 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing