The difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a term that marketers encounter more often. It is the counterpart of Outbound Marketing. While outbound focuses on pushing your marketing message to grab the consumer's attention, Inbound Marketing is aimed at naturally attracting customers (pull). In this blog, we will explain the difference between inbound and outbound marketing and delve deeper into the effects of both marketing approaches.

Outbound Marketing is traditional Marketing

Outbound Marketing, also known as traditional marketing, includes tools such as telemarketing, TV and radio commercials, newspaper advertisements and direct mail. In essence, in Outbound Marketing, the person who invests the most money and therefore shouts the loudest generates the most customer attention. In Outbound Marketing, you buy the customer's attention by pushing your marketing message through paid media channels.

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The effect of Outbound declines

The effectiveness of Outbound Marketing has been declining in recent years. After all, consumers are exposed to thousands of advertising messages each day. A consumer cannot process all of these messages anymore. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult for companies to capture the consumer's attention. Furthermore, consumers are mostly annoyed by unwanted advertising messages, and as a result, they try to avoid them as much as possible. This is evident in the following statistics:

  • 86% of consumers skip TV commercials, which aligns with developments such as Netflix, Video-on-Demand, and catch-up TV.
  • 91% of consumers unsubscribe from mailing lists.
  • 44% of direct mail is never opened.
  • Consumers overwhelmingly sign up for the "Do Not Call" registry.

In addition to consumers trying to ignore push marketing messages, there is another important trend: consumers primarily rely on online channels for their research. In fact, 60% of the sales cycle is already completed before a potential buyer contacts a company. In other words, you can no longer expect to easily capture the consumer's attention.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Considering the above trends, we can safely say that the consumer has more power. This forces marketers to shift their focus from marketing that shoves products and services down the consumer's throat to marketing that focuses on the consumer's needs. This is also the biggest difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing. In Inbound Marketing, the focus is on the customer and their desires, needs, problems, and questions.

Inbound Marketing revolves around the client

Inbound Marketing is a type of pull-marketing with the goal of inspiring (potential) customers by spreading valuable content. Consumers that are searching for this information find your content naturally. By aligning the content with the needs of the consumer, you attract this consumer like a magnet. This way, you earn the customer's attention instead of buying it. After all, you provide the consumer with something valuable that they are genuinely interested in.

When you consistently share valuable content, a consumer continues to follow you. That is why the impact of Inbound Marketing is much more sustainable than that of Outbound Marketing. The effect of an advertising campaign (outbound) disappears immediately once you stop advertising, while a blog or landing page continues to rank in the search engine (inbound) and will be found repeatedly whenever a consumer searches for it.