There’s a lot of competition in the marketplace. The average person is exposed to nearly 5,000 advertising messages every day, including everything from television advertisements to billboards, as well as radio spots and targeted online and social media advertising. Marketers are worried about finding the best possible ways to reach their prospects and getting them to buy-in to their brands, products, and services–and rightfully so.
In this environment, a marketer can take two distinct paths to find and communicate with their target audience; the ‘modern’ way, inbound marketing, or the traditional way, outbound marketing.
Here’s a breakdown of the essential differences between these two forms of marketing.
Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: How Do They Differ?
Marketing in the classic Mad Men way is outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing is when you ‘push’ out information to an audience, in the hopes that they will respond positively and make a purchase.
Outbound doesn’t necessarily mean old technology; it’s just a way of marketing where you would pay to make potential customers see your message – this could include billboards, as well as social media advertising.
It’s used often because of its ability to get brands in front of a broad audience quickly and build a lot of awareness in little time. If done right, outbound marketing campaigns are seen by millions and bring in thousands of new customers every week – but these results usually depend on the amount of money invested.
So, when the spending stops, the benefits usually follow. That’s the problem with outbound marketing: You won’t get tangible long-term assets that can continue to bring in buyers and generate leads once a campaign ends.
Also, there is a general distrust and distaste for outbound marketing amongst general audiences.
Facts & Figures About Outbound Marketing
Consider these statistics:
- 91% of email users unsubscribe from email campaigns they previously opted into, probably because they didn’t relate to the content.
- 86% of people skip TV ads altogether.
- Entire businesses have been built on helping people avoid outbound advertising. Take Netflix, for example.
- Streaming services, like Spotify with its 180 million active users, are putting an end to radio advertising altogether.
The fact remains that while TV ads, print ads, and even email campaigns are very successful, they aren’t very agile. Outbound marketing is hard to ignore, but people are increasingly finding ways to filter it out of their daily lives.
Also, the effectiveness of outbound marketing can be challenging to measure since the strategy mainly relies on raising awareness and not necessarily a hard sell. For instance, it can be difficult to quantify if a surge of sales was due to a TV ad, another outbound marketing strategy, or seasonality trends.
All About Inbound
Then there’s inbound marketing, that is more subtle in its approach. Inbound marketing is a strategy that waits for the prospect to seek the information they need when they are ready.
While this sounds like a passive approach, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a powerful form of marketing. HubSpot’s report shows that inbound leads outstrip outbound leads in terms of quality by 59% and 16%, respectively.
The effectiveness of a good inbound marketing campaign depends on content. 70% of people want to learn about a company through content and not advertising.
It also presents an excellent opportunity to educate buyers, because they are already receptive to and seeking out the information you want to offer them. That’s why blogging is a great inbound marketing strategy: 47% of buyers read three to five pieces of a brand’s content before they decide to get in touch with a sales rep. And, interestingly, 57% of the purchase decision is finalized before they even take buying action.
Inbound marketing’s biggest strength is that it is all about providing value while being non-promotional. Since it aligns with the buyer’s journey, inbound marketing can help businesses build strong relationships with both existing and prospective buyers.
The other major strength of inbound marketing is that it offers fantastic ROI even for the long-term. Inbound leads cost 62% less than those earned via outbound marketing.
Blogs, articles, social media, word-of-mouth, pay-per-click marketing, and others are rendering traditional methods of marketing obsolete. Or–at the very least, they have leveled the playing field for small businesses that can’t compete with the big budgets and big marketing dollars of big companies.
Finding the Right Marketing Strategy for You
Ultimately, the right marketing strategy for your business is one that delivers the best results.
With inbound, the customer holds all the power. They decide when and how to give you attention; you have to make sure you are already there and waiting. With outbound, you can try to demand their attention and entice them to listen to you. Essentially, you need to create a balance of both strategies to ensure your success.
And remember to keep experimenting with the mix to ensure that your marketing campaigns yield long-term results.
Ready to kick off a successful strategic marketing plan that blends inbound and outbound for the best results? At C-Leveled, we help businesses create comprehensive strategic marketing plans that help guide better business decisions, and just plain better business. To learn more about how we can help your business grow, contact us today.