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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing — Powerful Partners

JUSTINE MURPHY, SENIOR EDITOR, justine.murphy@photonics.com
Inbound vs. Outbound marketing

Batman and Robin. Yin and yang. Peanut butter and jelly. Sure, each can stand on its own. But together, they are complete. Together, they can reach their full potential.

The same goes for inbound and outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing

The invasion of internet and mobile communications in our day-to-day lives has developed inbound initiatives into a new world for marketing. Such inbound outlets have proven themselves as strong, economical options for marketing and advertising in this digital age. These campaigns involve nonpay outlets, i.e., social media, blogs, podcasts, newsletters, search engines, white papers and video. This approach also feeds off word-of-mouth among existing and potential customers, and referrals.

Social media — notably videos for Facebook and YouTube — is a growing resource in the inbound approach, as nearly 50 percent of marketers plan to add these formats to their campaigns within the next year, according to HubSpot, an agency that offers educational software and support for inbound marketing and sales initiatives, in its The State of Inbound 2016 report. Such an approach better engages potential (and existing) customers.

Another noted focus for marketers over the next 12 months is mobile. “Content must fit on-the-go habits. Mobile notification will play a larger role in how consumers discover content.”

However, mobile, social and other such mediums are not playing the only roles in marketing campaigns. Inbound marketing is flourishing, yes, but for many campaigns, it simply isn’t enough — a greater, wider impact is needed, and can be achieved through the more traditional approach: outbound marketing.

The outbound method offers benefits from its tie to the business-to-business (B2B) angle, where marketing targets are already established. In the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, which fits the inbound approach, companies must proactively seek out marketing targets.

Outbound marketing

These campaigns essentially “buy attention,” relying on more traditional marketing and advertising, i.e., TV and radio advertisements, direct paper mail, cold calling, sales flyers, telemarketing and others. These outbound approaches can reach consumers through general media advertising, in-person contact (face-to-face meetings, trade shows, etc.), or the more impersonal tactics (cold calling, blanket emails, etc.). These generate leads and, ultimately, sales.

Outbound marketing is an advantageous way to brand a company or product. And once the brand becomes more established, it becomes easier to market that online via social media, search engines, etc. Inbound marketing is also a good branding outlet, but if the masses don’t have an initial idea or knowledge of your brand (established through outbound mediums), companies’ efforts could be futile.

A powerful marriage

Both inbound and outbound marketing tout separate strengths and weaknesses that can complement each other.

Outbound marketing, such as bulk emails and pay-per-click advertising, can quickly offer companies a jump-start before diving into inbound marketing. “Outbound marketing can (and should) be done in coordination with inbound marketing, and is often successful to identify key areas that inbound marketing can address at a lower cost than outbound marketing,” according to Kris Nickerson Inc., an agency that offers marketing services including content planning, inbound/outbound marketing, copywriting, training and social media.
Inbound vs. Outbound marketing

Inbound marketing involves internet search engines, as well, like Google and Yahoo, to connect customers with businesses in all corners of the globe. A general search will present thousands — sometimes millions — of hits for a product or type of company. Establishing presence via traditional marketing, prior to going online, spreads the word among the masses, and can make that company the recognizable front-runner in a web search.

The mix of traditional (outbound) and new age (inbound) marketing initiatives can work most effectively and reach the most amount of people when done hand-in-hand. Magazine and other print advertisements are highly effective, as are TV and radio spots; follow that up with social media, search engines and other such mediums, and you’ve got the potential for a comprehensive powerhouse campaign.

Categories: Inbound Marketing, Outbound Marketing, Digital Advertising, Print Advertising, ROI, branding, Product Marketing, B2B Selling

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