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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing - Which Is More Effective?

I’m going to be straight forward with you…people hate ads. They interrupt what you are doing and try to portray the message that their company is the best. Think of the last piece of direct mail you received. Did you even open it before tossing it in the recycle bin? Maybe the company was clever enough to make it look like something important, you even opened it, but did you read it all the way through once you realized it was an ad? What about the last time you went on youtube, did you enjoy the ads interrupting the video that you came there to watch? Do you use an adblocker on your browser to block the pesky banner adds and popups? (If not you need to give them a try) The examples can go on and on. There are alternatives to noisy advertisements, you just need to focus on them.

What is Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing can be thought of as the traditional marketing channels, such as radio, print, direct mail, telemarketing, billboards, and similar. It is more of one way communication; there’s no dialogue between the consumer and the company.

This type of marketing operates on the basis of being interruptive. The marketing messages are being sent out without the viewers’ permission. The downside to this type of marketing is that people that may not be in your target audience will see your advertisements, raising the cost of marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing takes many forms, but overall it creates a pulling effective to attract people to your company. Some examples are blog posts, email newsletter, content creation (podcast, videos, etc), word of mouth, and search engine optimization. Essentially a person is seeking an answer or looking for something specific, you help them; you have their permission to provide information and value. It is more of two way communication, because it can start a dialogue.

With some debate, even Google Ads can be considered inbound. A person is searching for something specific, and you come up as the first result. It’s not interruptive and you have their permission as they are already looking for something of that nature.

The Difference Between Inbound & Outbound

The biggest difference between the two is the effect they create. Inbound pulls potential customers in with their permission, where as outbound tends to push your products and services out to potential customers in an interruptive way.

Looking at the overall longevity and cost of each of these, one stands out. If you stop spending money on outbound marketing, leads will stop coming in. You only bring in customers when you spend more on marketing. On the flip side of this, if you stop spending money on inbound marketing after doing it for more than six months, leads will continue to find you as your content is still out there and working for you. Neither of these options are completely free, but you may see lowers costs associated with inbound marketing compared to outbound marketing.

Final Thoughts

When comparing the two based on longevity and cost, inbound marketing is the more attractive choice. You provide value to potential customers and it makes your company a thought leader in your industry because you are able to demonstrate your knowledge.