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Why Compare Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

Posted by | Jan 7, 2014

Inbound and outbound marketing

Both inbound and outbound marketing are effective marketing strategies. If you do a comparison of the two, you will find that inbound has a lot of advantages over outbound for many businesses and campaigns.

If you search for “inbound versus outbound” marketing you will find a lot of content on this topic. The last time I did a Google search there were about 50,800 results for this particular search string. “Inbound marketing” yields 10.2 million results. It’s difficult to add a fresh viewpoint given what’s already out there in the online world.

Nevertheless, I will add my two cents to the topic. Inbound marketing is all the rage as businesses seek to respond to changes in the way consumers and companies buy. Outbound marketing uses traditional methods of contacting prospects by buying email lists, cold calling, advertising, etc. These traditional marketing strategies are less effective than they once were as buyers turn to the Internet. Today’s consumers are very savvy at ignoring these interruptive marketing tactics. Don’t believe me?

  • 86% of people skip television ads. (source: Mashable)
  • 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list. (source: Mashable)

Instead buyers search for information using search engines before interacting with sellers. They use the information they find to form opinions about the best products and services to meet their needs.

Search engine users appear to like what they’re finding. According to the Pew Internet Search Engine Usage Report,

  • 91% of users say that they find what they are looking for when using search engines.
  • 73% of users stated that the information they found was trustworthy and accurate.
  • 66% of users said that search engines are fair and provide unbiased information.

Other studies also show the importance of search engines as well.

  • According to MarketingCharts, search engines are the source of about 39% of online customers.
  • 70% to 80% of users ignore paid search ads and focus on the free organic results according to User Centric.

Search engines are an integral part of the buying process. It’s important to note that users also focus on organic results for much of the information they seek.

That’s where inbound marketing comes in. Content is used to attract the attention of potential customers that are actually beginning the buying process. It exploits the way buyers make decisions using the Internet and search engines. Content marketing is another term often used to describe this approach. There is enough data to demonstrate its effectiveness. Take this small sampling of inbound statistics:

  • Three out of four inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound channel. (source: Mashable)
  • 54% more leads are generated by inbound than by outbound. (source: HubSpot)
  • Per dollar, content marketing produces three times more leads. (source: Eloqua)
  • Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (source: Mashable)

These and other statistics cannot be ignored in any comparison of inbound and outbound marketing. If truth be told, outbound marketing can still be effective for a number of business conditions. It's no longer either inbound or outbound marketing - wise marketers will use integrated marketing campaigns that leverage the strengths of each approach.

Have you done your own comparisons of inbound and outbound marketing?

How has each worked for you?

Share with us so we can all learn.

 

Those who read this also read:

Inbound or Online Content Marketing: Do You Care?

Content Marketing: Brands Are Becoming Publishers

Seven Characteristics of Changing Consumer Buying Behaviors

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