Outbound vs inbound marketing

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The sooner you realize that we live in an age where consumers have all the power, the better. As a sales or marketing manager, you need to know what methods you can use to get your message across – you need to know about inbound and outbound marketing.

Outbound, or outreach sales or marketing as it is also called, has been a popular strategy since the early days of the marketing phenomenon. But more recently, inbound efforts have become increasingly common to increase sales. Most of the time, however, you can’t rely on just one of the methods. For rapid growth, a combination may be appropriate. Therefore, we will now look at how outbound differs from inbound and when both marketing methods should be used, or combined.

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is the same as traditional marketing and is therefore something we all take part in on a daily basis. It can be anything from advertising posters to different types of advertisements and TV commercials, and a lot of work is done with cold calls, direct mail, and email.

With outbound marketing, it is possible to communicate with a large target group. However, this type of marketing can feel impersonal because it is aimed at a larger mass. It can be challenging to capture the audience’s attention as this type of advertising is more often than not perceived as unnecessary and in the way.

As marketers realized that people stopped embracing outbound marketing to a greater extent, HubSpot’s founders developed inbound marketing. The idea was that this form of marketing would be easier to absorb through the noise of everyday life. It reaches the audience on a more personal level – and on their terms.

Benefits of outbound

  • Many people (regardless of audience or need) engage with your content.
  • Can get your brand a lot of attention
  • Can be incredibly successful if done in the right way, and with a little luck.

Disadvantages of outbound

  • Difficult to measure ROI
  • Often expensive
  • A lot of manual sales work
  • Difficult to reach the right target group
  • Can be perceived as disruptive

What is inbound marketing?

With inbound marketing, you always start by identifying the target group you want to reach with your marketing. The target group should then be mapped. You should be able to answer questions such as what they do for a living, what challenges/needs they have, and what their buying behavior looks like – among many other important questions.

There are several strategies for gathering this information. One option is to conduct in-depth interviews with people who are in a similar situation to the target audience. You could also bring sales and marketing people together in a workshop to discuss the challenges and needs of the target audience.

Reach out to the target audience throughout the buying journey by providing assistance, education, and answers to questions. If you can reach your audience with valuable content, your brand will be top-of-mind when a question or problem arises that you can help with.

Now it may sound like inbound is a quick fix and a method that always gives a successful result – but that’s not the case. But if you manage to implement it in your marketing, inbound marketing is usually very effective.

Benefits of inbound

  • Provides value to the customer before a sales opportunity
  • Directs your marketing to the desired target group (ideal customers)
  • Provides good conversion
  • Creates more loyal customers
  • Very measurable
  • Provides good ROI

Disadvantages of inbound

  • A bit more time-consuming
  • Requires investment in digital tools
  • Can be challenging to get decision-makers to understand that it is important to invest resources in inbound marketing.

Inbound vs outbound marketing – what is the difference?

There are significant differences between inbound and outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is about capturing the attention of a large target group with the hope that the right people will perceive the message. For inbound marketing, the aim is to create marketing that allows potential customers to find you on their own.

So when should the different methods be used and which is the best option? And which method can increase sales for my business? Inbound marketing has proven to be very effective, but the fact is that one strategy does not exclude the other. You can see that outbound often works very well in B2C, but for B2B the marketing method works less and less well. What works and what doesn’t depends largely on what your company sells, who you want to reach, and how long the sales cycle is.

Do you want to increase your B2B sales? Then we at Salesonomics can make sure you have a sales team with the right skills to deliver results. We help you recruit and onboard new salespeople and conduct sales training for new and existing employees.

Why is it good to combine outbound and inbound?

Working solely on outbound requires a lot of resources and often comes with lower hit rates. The potential customers will mostly not know you from before and then a large focus on personalization is required to convince them that your offer is valuable.

If you only work with inbound, you risk missing the customers who have not expressed a direct interest in your brand or your products/services. All relevant companies and decision-makers may not be on the very channels you have targeted. Successful companies often combine inbound and outbound marketing to reach as many potential customers as possible.

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Simon Blanche