Inbound Marketing refers to a way of marketing that attracts customers and prospects by providing relevant, valuable content. Outbound Marketing is a form of disruption used to attract the attention of potential customers or clients. In this article, we will take a closer look at what each type involves, how they differ from one another, and why you should consider both for your company's next project!

Inbound Marketing is the organic art or the passive marketing. It means that the customer will come to you, as opposed to you going out and trying to find them. You create content that is informative, attractive, and written to help specific audiences solve their problems. Instead of focusing on selling, the main idea is to attract customers through content so they can make an informed decision to buy your product/services by themselves. This means building company blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, email newsletters, video tutorials, and more so that your site appears organically in front of people who are interested in your products or services. The mains advantage is that after your content is out, it is forever on the World Wide Web (unless removed by you). Google loves companies that post regularly on their blogs and share relevant information for their audiences. That is why you see some companies on the first page of search engines and others on the second, third, or last page. And this happens on social media channels too, the more consistent you are posting, with regular schedules and relevant content, the more the platform will share your info to your followers and others. The downside of inbound marketing is that it requires a lot of time, effort, and energy. It takes longer to build up traffic to your website, and you need extra touchpoints to concretize the sale. This means that in addition to having a blog, you also need to send email newsletters, be present on social media, and create videos to help people complete the task by themselves. Generally, Inbound marketing content can be finely tuned to appeal to your target prospects but it takes months to see the first results.

Outbound Marketing is the paid or active marketing, also known as the traditional marketing. It involves proactively reaching out to consumers to get them interested in your product. You create content that will promote brand awareness, helping your company reach people who haven’t heard of your products or services before. The main advantage for outbound marketing is that it can yield immediate results which people interested in your products and services are likely to act on your ads and make a purchase. The customer doesn't have to do any work or spend time finding content, they just need to click on the ad and be taken to your website. Disadvantages of outbound marketing include less control of who will see the AD, it is very challenging to measure the effectiveness of some outbound strategies, like billboards and other offline media, and after the campaign is off, the AD disappears. Overall, outbound marketing is all about sending a message to a huge amount of people that will bring a fast return of investments but it involves a high upfront investment.

In sum, Inbound Marketing focuses on creating content that will attract clients to your website, like blogs, social media posts, podcasts, etc. It is a long-lasting commitment, that requires a lot of work, time, and energy. On the other hand, Outbound Marketing is being proactive to reach customers, like cold calls, advertising, direct mail, etc. It is more costly but your get results much faster. Don’t be fooled… social media is awesome, but advertising still rocks. So, be sure to always check both approaches when creating your next marketing campaign.

About the Author(s)

Carolina Martini headshot

Ms. Martini is a doctoral student at ISM, has a master’s degree in Communication and Semiotics; a bachelor’s degree in Publicity and Advertising, with a minor in Marketing; and a specialization in Management. She works with Marketing and Communication since 2006.

SCORE Mentor
Inbound and outbound marketing vector business illustration