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Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Are you in or are you out?

Written by Jack Titley

28 | 04 | 15

Inbound Marketing  |  
4 minute read

There are two basic types of marketing – inbound and outbound. The focus differs for each one and involves alternative techniques and strategies. In this post we will take a look at them both, but firstly let's take a look at why the new customer buyer's journey has changed the way marketing is done effectively.


What's changed?

Ok, first some stats:

  • 86% of people skip TV ads
  • 44% of direct mail isn't even opened
  • Paid search is clicked on average 2% of the time
  • 61% of people research products and services online
  • 46% of people read blogs more than once a day
  • Inbound leads have a close rate of 14.6% while outbound leads have a close rate of 1.7%

What do these stats say to you? They should say that the customer is now more empowered and isn't as persuaded by interruptive marketing tactics.

The internet has changed the customer buying journey considerably. The internet has put the power in their hands, allowing them to research and learn about solutions.


What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing (alternatively known as interruption marketing) involves getting your marketing message to the largest amount of people possible.

Whether it’s through direct email or letters, cold calling or advertising; they’re all aggressive techniques which involve interrupting people’s daily lives.

Outbound marketing requires a considerable amount of marketing messages to be pushed out through various channels, in the hope that the right message makes it to the right person. 

Why is outbound marketing now less effective?

Outbound marketing is much less effective today for two main reasons; firstly, it's expensive and secondly, as we discussed above the customers buying journey has changed and people have the power to find their own solutions.

So, what options exist in 2015 that are cost-effective and deliver results?



The Inbound Alternative

Balancing and keeping control of an inbound marketing strategy will aid businesses in saving money as well as growing their customer foundations.

As we mentioned previously outbound marketing can be an extremely expensive endeavor but the average cost per lead is significantly less when using inbound marketing strategies. In fact, research has shown inbound leads cost at least 67% less than outbound leads.

It's not all about cost saving though, as 57% of the sales cycle is now complete before a prospect even reaches out to a sales person inbound marketing has potential to deliver considerably better results than outbound. This is because one of the key focuses of inbound marketing in to provide content at the research stage of the buyers journey thus getting you front of mind and the customer hooked before they are ready to buy!

What does Inbound Marketing involve?

With so many marketing messages forced into our lives, it’s not surprising when consumers ignore incessant messages. People crave to be in control of whatever information they receive and the inbound marketing philosophy understands this and aims to get the customers opt-in at an early stage, whether thats writing a blog which targets your customers pre-purchase questions or creating solid downloadable content to lure in prospects, your focus will be on providing value via content to get customers into your nurturing list.

Inbound marketing encompasses many tactics of digital marketing. SEO, social media, blogging, email marketing, landing pages, content downloads and calls to action are all used simultaneously to bring in the leads. The big change for most companies is to change emphasis from adverts selling your services to content creation.

Our Inbound Marketing process is illustrated below:


A Comparison Recap - Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

  Outbound Inbound
Overall premise Interrupt and pushes their products and services Earn people's interest by helping when looking for a solution
Targeted Marginally so, but still relatively mass market Extremely, content is created to help people which need your solution
Communication One way Two way
Media found via TV, radio, print, telephone and trade show Search engines and social media
Value to customer Little to no value added to the customer Value is added by helping inform and educate the customer
Average cost per lead £230 £89 (61% less on average)


Ultimately, outbound marketing means getting your message across, whether people want to hear it or not. These techniques could lead to annoyance or intrusion (intentional or otherwise.)

The public have become desensitised to the sheer volume. Inbound marketing puts your message in front of your target market and if you utilise the right content marketing strategy, they could be compelled by curiosity to see what’s on offer. In short, think of inbound marketing as a magnet attracting the right customer and take it from there!

If you want to take the first step to inbound marketing success take advantage of our FREE inbound marketing consultation below...

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