Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

If you own or work for a company, you’ve probably done some marketing. But if you’re starting one or launching a new product, service, idea and you don’t know how to reach your customers. You’re in the right place.

There are 52 types of marketing. I’ll be looking at two types; inbound and outbound marketing. You’re probably wondering what those are, but we’ll get to that.


First Things First. What Is Marketing?

  • There are so many definitions you can look for that may end up confusing you even more. I’ll give you 3 clear ones to help you understand.
  • It’s any relationship your company has with someone who isn’t related to your company. For example, customers or clients both current and prospective.
  • It’s the art of creating a message that will be able to resonate well with your clients. The message may be to sell an idea or make them change their minds about something
  • It’s the process of researching, identifying, creating, distributing, managing and evaluating your clients likes and dislikes. It ensures all of their needs are met. Either through products/services/ideas.

What Is The Difference Between Marketing And Advertising?

Advertising– is a non-personal process of communication by an identified sponsor/partner. It’s supposed to persuade you to get a product/service/idea. It uses relevant media to compel you to take a certain action

Marketing– is a more personal process of communication. It convinces consumers that you have the product/service/idea they need.


Inbound Marketing

Definition- it’s the process of ‘pulling’ your prospective consumers to you. This can happen without getting agents to go out into the streets to bombard people with the idea. Or try to capture their attention. A good example is if you sell tires for vehicles and you’re getting a new brand. You can allow the consumers to view a video of a vehicle for them to imagine the experience.

Why Choose Inbound Marketing?

  • It forms an idea in the mind of the consumer from their preferences. Such that if you manufacture detergent, your consumers will prefer yours instead of others’.
  • Marketing is personal. Inbound marketing allows the consumers to make changes on certain things about your product/service/idea. This is done via research. You get to know what the consumers want, and you improve on it or implement it. This will make your consumers feel appreciated and in charge.
  • It will make your company top the search engine sites. This is important because if anyone types in a word or letter present in your company as well, that’s the first thing they see. It will then cause curiosity, and you will have a lot of views. These views can be for both current and prospective consumers. It would, in turn, elevate your company.
  • It raises your company awareness. Having products/services/ideas that are very beneficial to your consumers will cause them to spread the word. They will share their experiences with their families/friends who will also share the word and your company will be known. For example companies like Coca-Cola and Colgate are known all over the world.
  • With inbound marketing, your consumers can easily keep tabs with you every day. You can do this by asking you questions about your offerings or the company itself through your website or social media sites.
  • They can also call to ask for advice or just to find out if there have been any more products. They can volunteer to help you carry out a few activities for the company. They can also order your products online. This enhances a close and personal relationship with your consumers. This is because a level of trust and dependency will be formed.
  • Through inbound marketing, there can be procreation of social media likes and shares. The consumers mainly do this.
  • If your pages and sites have a lot of shares, likes, and links about your company, it will attract a huge following. This can be fueled if one of your clients is a famous person who attracts a lot of following. It will put your company on a high pedestal.

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Channels of Inbound Marketing

Social Media

Nearly the whole world population know and use the internet and social network sites. They do that to either share information or search for information. You need to put social media as your priority channel. Sites like Facebook, Twitter are free. You don’t pay to get your products known to the market. They can contain links that lead your consumers to your website to read more about it. Other types of social media sites are YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram and so on.

E-Books and E-Newsletters

Instead of using a lot of money to print books and newsletters, you can use e-books and e-newsletters. For this to be effective, you will need the consumers’ email addresses to send them. This material can be for new product launches or even events of the company. This method will reach a large number of consumers in a short while compared to hard copy books.

Live Events and Public Speaking

These two channels go hand in hand. If you’re planning to introduce a new product or open a new branch, live events are the way to go. You need to put the word out there about the event itself including date, time, and venue and if there will be refreshments.

You can also hire motivational guests speakers or professionals in the fields related to your company to talk to the consumers. It could be an array of things or just about the product. The speaker should be interesting as boring content will tune out your consumers. To make the event interesting, include product demos to show the consumers the effectiveness of your product.


You should open a blog for the company. It will help you write about your company in a more fun way but still as efficient. Blogs are a venue for airing one’s thoughts and opinions. You can post articles about the events of the company to keep the consumers in the loop.

They can, in turn, leave comments about whether they’re satisfied or not. They can also give suggestions on what to do to make the company more successful. You can send links to companies you’re affiliated with as well to let them know about the happenings of your company. In the blog posts, you can include audio, visual and audio-visual material to add some interest. Reading can be boring sometimes.

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How to Get Started On Inbound Marketing

Identify Your Target Consumers

This can be done by conducting a demographic search. Which are age, gender, educational background or social background? This helps you put your products/services/ideas in a niche that your consumers will be comfortable in. It could include language and medium. If your target consumers are the youth, then your language should have a lot of slang.

Create Your Message

Come up with a convincing narrative so that the consumers pay close attention to you. The message should be short, simple and straightforward. Include audio, visual and audio-visual material in your message.

Decide On the Media/Channel You Will Use

From your demographics, determine the best way to convey your message your audience can easily understand and access. For example, the elderly people aren’t too comfortable with social media. If they are your target consumers use newspapers

Choose your timing effectively- timing is everything with inbound marketing. You need to time your activities in a way that it corresponds with a unique period of your company. For example, the anniversary or a merger between your company and another.

Pros of Inbound Marketing

  • Saves costs as coming up with a website or a blog or a social media page is free.
  • As it’s personal, you get to build trust between you and your consumers. This leads to a long term working dependency
  • The messages created are factual. This allows for credibility and integrity in the market. This makes the consumers confident about your company.
  • It sends messages to the correct people. At the right time. Using the right tools. At the right place.
  • The website, blog and social media pages are yours. You don’t have to live by someone else’s rule. You can post whatever you feel like without someone patronizing you for it.
  • You can publish your messages in real time as they happen. Or immediately after they happen

Cons of Inbound Marketing

  • Coming up on a website requires a skill set you have to go to school to learn. From the design part to the programming. Message writing. Social media managing
  • Inbound marketing devices are usually interactive such that you get to talk to your consumer’s one on one. However a few times, people tend to spin out of control and bringing them back to the topic of discussion will be hard.

Outbound Marketing

Definition- it’s the process of ‘pushing’ customers towards your company. It can be done through media advertising-radio and television. One on one meetings with agents who impose their brochures and fliers on consumers. Or calling them personally or sending emails to them directly.

Why choose outbound marketing?

  • Outbound marketing is vaster. If your company is considering using this, then you should use as many channels as possible. If you market using television, email, events aimed at getting more customers, it will reach a large number of people.
  • If people keep seeing your marketing message the power of reinforcement will have an effect on them. If this happens, they will always remember your company whenever they see it. Their curiosity will also peak, and they will visit to see what you are about.
  • The more you market, the more chances of capturing people. If you capture their attention, they will always be aware of your company at the back of their minds. If your marketing message runs for a few days or weeks, you will be creating awareness about your company.

This is important if you offer an essential product/service/idea. For example, if you’re a company that makes nets, you can tailor your marketing message in a way that you show the adverse effects of malaria in the tropical regions of the world. These prospective consumers will look for you to get the product.

  • Once the creation of awareness is complete, you should be prepared to receive feedback. This feedback can be in the form of phone calls. Social media pages likes. A lot of views and subscription in your websites. This feedback can both be positive or negative. Using them, you can know what areas to improve on in the future. You can also know what the general public prefers.

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Channels of Outbound Marketing

  1. Television/Radio marketing

Everyone owns at least one of these in their homes or workplaces. You need to conduct research on the market and find out what channels are more listened to or watched. You can then inquire about them and send your message through them. You also need to know when to air your message.

During the prime time when everybody is listening or watching. Or during regular time. Prime time is usually very expensive. This also depends on your target market. If you’re targeting women, you may need to consider radio as they listen in all through the day for music or just talks.

  1. Telemarketing and Email Marketing

Although they’re two different dynamics, the work hand in hand. Telemarketing is using the phone to call your clients and talk to them. Email marketing is using their email addresses to send your message. This information can be accessed if people log into your system a lot.

You can program it in such a way that they have to drop their phone numbers or email addresses before they proceed. You can then, later on, send marketing messages to them if there is a new product/service/idea. This is very personal. The consumers will feel appreciated.

  1. Print and Branded Marketing

These two also go together. Print marketing can include newspapers, books, journals, brochures. You need to choose a newspaper popular with your target market. Books, journals, brochures, journals can be handed to the target market personally. The agents you put on the street can do this easily. They approach the consumers personally

Branded on the hand encompasses a lot of things. Like promotional t-shirts, bags, caps, key holders, umbrellas, mugs, pens, flash drives or wristbands. You can decide to give them out for free to anyone who visits your stall in the street. Alternatively, you can allow them to take part in certain trivial questions about the company, and whoever gets the most right wins a package.

  1. Social media marketing

You can never ignore social media. Just like in inbound marketing social media marketing is important here too. It reaches consumers who other marketing methods didn’t reach. You can do this by opening a website, creating a blog, creating social media pages of the various sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

These pages help you in marketing to an even larger audience. You can post articles about the company and offerings. You can also make a video and upload it on YouTube. Channel it in such a way that if someone wants to watch a video, they have to watch your marketing message first.

How to Come Up With an Outbound Marketing Strategy

Determine the Product/Service/Idea

Know what you want to market. What is it? What are its benefits to the consumers? How will it make your consumers lives better? How unique is it for other products in the market? After answering these questions, you will understand the product which will make coming up with a pitch easy.

Define Your Target Market

This is who your product will be beneficial to. Know who they are. Conduct a research to determine their likes, dislikes and even language to use. If you’re marketing to women, use colors that they easily associate with.

Create Your Marketing Message

Your message carries all the information about your company or product. Create a message that resonates well with your audience. Use a language they easily understand. If you’re marketing to lawyers, don’t use jargon doctors understand? Keep your message short, simple and straightforward.

Identify the Correct Media

This is how you will pass your message to your market. From the target market, you will know what media to use. Choose media that will be able to market effectively to your consumers in a manner they understand.

For example, the youth mostly use the internet and social media. This would be an appropriate method to tailor your marketing message. Elderly men read newspapers most of the time. Using that to send your message will be beneficial. For better effectiveness, you can use all the media available.

Pros of Outbound Marketing

  • You deliver a single message to a mass audience. This increases chances of awareness of your company to places it’s unknown
  • As the feedback is almost immediate, you can evaluate whether your message is working or not. If not you need to go back to the drawing board and strategize again
  • If you use all the appropriate media channels for your message, it will create a sense of versatility to your consumers. It will create an impression in their minds of you being serious about your company.
  • The social media pages created to give you a sense of control. You can publish whatever you want in real time
  • You get to create links with the media bigwigs that may help in sharing your company information. They may also decide to partner with you or invest to make your company better.

Cons of Outbound Marketing

  • It’s an expensive venture. Marketing via the media costs a lot of money. Branding and distributing to consumers also requires a lot of money.
  • The downside to marketing is that once it stops, the message may be forgotten. This will affect the sales the company budgeted for.


Similarities between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

  • They tailor messages to consumers in a way that will attract them to the company
  • They both put consumers first in decision making
  • They both use the media to pass messages
  • They’re both used to sell both the company and its offerings


Differences between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing

  • Inbound marketing is more complex as there are so many moving parts, for example, programming a website, choosing a spokesperson. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is simple. All you need is to create a message, and the media will do most of the work for you.
  • Inbound marketing is cheaper as you’re responsible for every marketing strategy. You don’t pay anyone to the media to air your message. You, in turn, have more control on what to post and how to post. Outbound marketing relies solely on the media. You have to pay for air time for all the channels you decide. The media then decides when to air it. It’s hard making changes or improvements without alerting the media.
  • Inbound marketing targets consumers who may already know of the company/offerings. It creates awareness yes but not like outbound marketing. It’s vast as the media reaches a large mass of people even to places where your company isn’t known.
  • Inbound marketing messages are factual and credible as people get to experience what goes on first hand. Outbound marketing may lack authenticity as you may go above and beyond to get consumer attention by using all means possible even if they’re not true.

Final Words

Any of these marketing techniques can work exceptionally well if you put your heart and mind to it. Whether you’re starting a new company or expanding the one you already have, these techniques still apply. You can decide to use one or for more efficiency use both. If you have any query regarding these practices, don’t forget to contact me.

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