Outbound Marketing versus Inbound Marketing

 social media In marketing there are those who satisfy needs and those who create wants. – Juan Carlos Castillo

There was a time when the housewife relished the thought of a salesman knocking at the front door; excited to see the latest technology for cleaning the floors. People actually enjoyed watching commercials when they first appeared at the beginning or end of their favorite television shows. Commercials never appeared during the show. Those days are long gone. Perhaps they’re so far in the past that many readers cannot even relate to these experiences.

Today, the average person is mugged by more than 2,000 outbound marketing messages per day. It’s no wonder Caller ID, SPAM filtering and Tivo® are so popular. People are finding more creative ways to shelter themselves from the assault of interruption marketing.

Outbound methods might include SPAM, junk mail, cold calls, post cards, trade shows and radio spots just to name some.

The pros for outbound marketing are…

  • Reaches the masses
  • Measureable results
  • Tried and true outcome
  • Familiarity with methods

The cons for outbound marketing are…

  • Costly
  • Low conversation rates
  • Harder to get prospects to listen
  • Interruption method
  • Less trustful
  • Does not build a relationship

You have to ask yourself does it make sense to try and convenience someone (bend someone’s arm) to buy a product or service or should the company sell to those already on the hunt for what the company has to offer?  The latter seems to be more reasonable. Less costly. Garners better results.

Inbound Marketing is all about going to where your prospects already hang out on the Web. Engaging them in a conversation and sharing information. Information they care about; on their terms, on their time.

Examples of Inbound Marketing include; blogs, landing pages, articles, eZines, social networking, webinars, websites, videos, pod casts, virtual events, Facebook, Twitter et al. The prospect is in charge of these venues. They go where they want, when they want and read what they are most interested in reading about.

Some of the cons for inbound marketing are…

  • Time consuming
  • Learning curve
  • Can be costly if mismanaged
  • May tie up internal resources

Some of the pros for inbound marketing are…

  • Less expensive
  • Effective for large and small businesses
  • Quicker return on investment
  • Levels the playing field
  • Reaches targeted, predisposed prospects
  • Measurable results

Many organizations are producing good results with a mixture of inbound and outbound marketing; usually less outbound. Push Marketing methods are employed when it appears the business’ ideal prospect cannot be reached or wooed with normal inbound methods.

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Take the time to develop some inbound and outbound prototype campaigns and measure the results to see which one’s work best for the clients you’re trying to reach.

Be prepared to change or drop campaigns that have been successful in the past. For some reason successful campaigns do not last forever. Things change. Times change. Prospects change. Good ideas only last for so long. Then more good ideas needs to be implemented.

By John Leavy

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One comment

  • Chris Ryan April 23, 2010   Reply →

    John, good article on an important topic. I especially like your point about being “mugged” by 2,000 or more messages a day. Obviously, propects and customers are getting very weary of this barrage and have put up many barriers to defend themselves. This is one of the primary reasons that inbound/pull marketing is being used by savvy B2B marketers.

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