Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
Thanks to the internet, the marketing world has changed dramatically over the last few years. Consumers no longer rely on ‘traditional’ methods, for example, billboards and TV spots, to find out about brands. A rise in inbound marketing has empowered consumers to learn about new products and research brands and products for themselves. Inbound marketing is a two way street as consumers communicate with brands, and vice versa.
Here we will look at both inbound and outbound marketing, and assess each one.
Otherwise known as ‘old marketing’, this type of marketing pushes products or services onto customers, through print, TV, banner adverts or cold calls etc. Outbound marketing is often thought of as paid marketing, as it costs money to market products.
The communication from outbound marketing is one way. The marketer puts the content in the right places, and waits for the customer to react. Because of this, the marketer isn’t really adding any value on top of their day job. Email marketing is an outbound marketing tool.
The rise of the internet has changed consumer habits. ‘Old marketing’ may not pay in the same way as consumers are more quick to judge, need information quickly and are less patient. People are more in control of what they receive and how. Outbound marketing allows the company, not the consumer to have control. Here’s some statistics that highlight the change in consumer behaviour:
- 44% of direct mail is never open.
- 88% of people skip through TV commercials.
- 83% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an ‘irrelevant or intrusive ad’.
Inbound marketing makes the most of the evolution of the new social world we live. This is a marketing strategy that focuses on getting found by customers. Inbound customers ‘earn their way in’ in contrast to outbound marketers who have to ‘buy, beg or bug their way in’.
Inbound marketing includes content marketing (eBooks, whitepapers, blogs etc.) and social media participation. When interesting, useful or educational content is combined with a strong social media presence, its usefulness can increase significantly. As content is taken and spread through social media networks, the reach of the content can grow virally. As links are spread, it improves the visibility in search engines, allowing more consumers to find your brand when searching for a product.
On-the-ball companies are changing their budgets accordingly, and are spending more money on inbound marketing tactics. We can see that consumer behaviour is affecting business behaviour:
- 61% of marketers will invest more in social media than in earned media.
- Budgets spent on blogs and social media has almost doubled in the last couple of years.
- Two thirds of marketers say their company blog is ‘critical’ or ‘important’ to their business.
- 67% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.
One main reason that inbound marketing is growing so quickly is the amount of ROI. Inbound marketing costs a whopping 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing – it’s no wonder so many companies are jumping on board. Three out of four inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound channel.
Inbound marketing tactics not only generate leads, but generates revenue. Here are some customer acquisition figures:
- 57% of companies report acquiring a customer through their company blog
- 57% of companies report acquiring a customer through LinkedIn
- 48% of companies report acquiring a customer through their Facebook page
As with all types of marketing, only you will know which type suits your company. It’s clear that marketing is changing on a fundamental level as the internet continues to change how we buy, sell, and interact with brands.
The days of annoying customers with intrusive tactics are fading. This new marketing age of inbound marketing is all about adding value and earning customer loyalty, instead of throwing out the message like bait, and hoping someone bites.
However, just like other marketing channels, outbound marketing will continue to be useful when used in a well-rounded marketing strategy. Companies must use better judgement and be more discerning when it comes to their branding strategy.