As an inbound marketing agency, we well know that when it comes to marketing, it’s easy to get swept up in the buzzwords of the day and the latest trends in the industry. Marketing automation, content marketing, social media presence and Agile for marketing teams are all well and good, and have proven their effectiveness—we’ve even written a few blogs on these topics.
However, when you really get down to it, marketing always comes down to two simple concepts that often work together for the best result: outbound marketing, and inbound marketing. But what exactly do we mean when we say outbound marketing, and why should you take note of inbound marketing?
Integrated marketing - inbound and outbound cooperation
If you’re alive today, you know exactly what outbound marketing is.
Outbound marketing is the marketing of yesteryear, where companies would market their products and services top down to the public, with little to no interaction or feedback. It is still around today because of how effective it actually is.
The Coca-Cola billboard you see in Times Square, the radio advert for the local plumber and the tele-marketer you just put on indefinite hold are all examples of outbound marketing.
The inbound marketing revolution
After decades of outbound marketing came inbound marketing—a way for customers to support and interact with the companies they chose.
Inbound marketing focuses on drawing customers to the company in question rather than the company in question pushing their marketing out to potential customers, like with outbound marketing.
The term inbound marketing was popularised by HubSpot’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Halligan in 2005. Inbound marketing slowly gained popularity until it became fully realised in 2012 and accepted as the best way to market to an audience.
Content marketing, where users interact with useful information sources like a blog, informative video or white paper forms the basis of inbound marketing. Other forms of inbound marketing include opt-in emails, SEO based marketing and virtually anything that draws the potential customer to you by giving them something that they want or need without selling to them.
Modern marketing - an alternative
However, since inbound marketing was praised and accepted as the best way to market to an audience, outbound marketing has still remained relevant today. Billboards are not left unadorned, adverts are still as prevalent as ever, and every week I add another telemarketer to my phone’s block-list.
Despite what you may think, you do not have to choose between an exclusive inbound strategy or a solely outbound strategy for your marketing. There is another way, an alternative based on cooperation between the two strategies.
Here are some ways outbound and inbound marketing work together for the best possible result.
Outbound Notification and Inbound Participation
Outbound marketing is really effective at gaining widespread attention. However, it traditionally has a high bounce-rate, that is the rate at which people ignore what you have to say once you have their attention. On the contrary, inbound marketing has more of a slow-burn effect. It’s slow to gain an audience, but once you have that audience they typically stay. In other words, inbound marketing has a low bounce-rate.
It is possible to combine both inbound and outbound marketing by focusing on their respective strengths. Outbound marketing can focus on notification, while inbound focuses on participation. Outbound marketing’s job is to get eyeballs to your inbound marketing content—inbound marketing’s job is to keep them there.
For example, it is far more effective to let everyone know (outbound) about your amazing research paper (inbound) than to simply let everyone know about your product (only outbound) or just produce a research paper (only inbound).
Inbound Keeps, Outbound Closes
Inbound marketing is really good at finding and nurturing the right audience. However, if you’d like to accelerate your sales and really take advantage of your new-found group of followers, you’ll need outbound marketing techniques to close. In other words, inbound marketing brings prospects to you, while outbound marketing brings you to prospects.
For example, your inbound marketing strategy has grown a natural following for your company and products. Your followers want to hear from you, so they sign-up to your email marketing list. Here’s where outbound marketing can drive the customer journey through targeted email campaigns and calls to action. The beauty with this approach is that if prospective leads feel too pressured by your outbound marketing, your inbound marketing is always there to soften the blow and nurture them until they are ready to close—it’s a win-win situation.
In Supports Out, and Out Promotes In
As marketing efforts become more sophisticated over time, the line between inbound and outbound marketing becomes more blurred—but this is not a bad thing.
Read the following example, and try to figure out which type of marketing tactic, inbound or outbound is the following:
A sales person monitors targeted keywords on Twitter. They see an interesting question posted. They respond and include a link to a product video. The video is informative and entertaining, so the viewer likes it and shares the video on their social media.
If you answered "all of the above: you’d be right.
Both inbound and outbound marketing strategies can promote and support each other—each sales person becomes an ambassador for your content marketing, and each piece of content marketing should encourage participants to speak to a sales person. We call this integrated marketing.
The Best of Both Worlds
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be one-way or the highway. While inbound marketing is the slow, nurturing aspect of your business, outbound marketing is the fast closer that brings back quick results—if sometimes a little haphazardly. By combining both inbound marketing and outbound marketing, you give your company the best chances of success with your prospects.
Finding balance between the two marketing techniques will garner the best success for your sales and your company. With decades of experience, Demodia is well versed in both outbound and inbound marketing, particularly in the digital marketing sector.
If you’d like to find out more about outbound or inbound marketing, contact Demodia today. We’d be more than happy to share our knowledge with you.