Inbound marketing and outbound marketing are basically two very different approaches. In this blog, we take a closer look at the main differences between these two methods.
While the marketing world is always moving and changing on a tactical level, this is rarely true for the basics of marketing. The most recent change to this is the shift from traditional, outbound marketing to inbound marketing.
The application of inbound marketing methods has grown rapidly in recent years, partly due to the many success stories and results of, among others, entrepreneurs who have embraced the inbound method. To understand what inbound marketing actually is and what it entails, in this blog we describe how it differs from outbound marketing and the marketing tactics you may have used so far.
‘Outbound’ describes any marketing technique in which you actively (and unsolicited) approach customers and prospects. You push a message to your target group and hope to get a response.
Another name for this approach is ‘interruption marketing’ because it breaks into the activities of the consumer and ‘forces’ their attention to the product offered. Classic examples of this are direct mail, telemarketing, unpersonalized email marketing, and banners. When conducting an outbound marketing campaign, it is the marketer, not the consumer, who chooses the subject, the moment of contact, and the channel of communication. In addition, most outbound tactics lose their effect as soon as no more money is invested in them.
While the tactics themselves may still be of value, the way they’ve been deployed so far has become less and less effective as they go against today’s consumer buying habits.
Consumers want control over their purchasing process. They don’t want to be forced to do anything and choose to do their own research. Only when they reach the stage where they might want to make a purchase, are they open to a party that can deliver it?
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, uses marketing techniques that are in line with the way consumers make their purchasing decisions today. By using this technique, you attract your target audience instead of pushing a message in their direction. Inbound marketing ensures that you are better found by your target group during their online search. You give the public valuable information and advice without promoting your product or service. This information and advice are adapted to the different stages of the purchase process.
As someone goes through the purchase process, information or advice is offered that fits the stage the person is in. We also refer to the course of this purchasing process as the buyer’s journey.
Another term that describes inbound marketing is ‘permission marketing’. This means that you let prospects find your content online and only make contact when they explicitly indicate that they are interested in it, i.e. with their permission. By also letting prospects choose the time and place of communication, they remain in control of the entire process.
Marketing aimed at consenting prospects builds trust and strengthens the bond. This in turn leads to more opportunities and more customers.
Examples of inbound marketing tactics are blogging, content marketing, lead nurturing, and social media.