If you are looking for a definition of what types of marketing tactics are strictly inbound and which are outbound, you may not find one. As we’ve researched other “expert” opinions on the matter, we have discovered many gray areas on these tactics. The deciding factor seems to rest not in what the tactic is but rather how that tactic is used. So in order to help you best understand the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing, we’ll go over what defines each of them, what tactics are typically used, and which is the preferred one to use for today’s audience. This is how Titan sees it…
The main idea surrounding inbound marketing is to be relevant and useful for the audience without being annoying, distracting, or forceful. Inbound marketing strives to simply be there for the target audience rather than seek them out.
Examples of Inbound Marketing Tactics:
- Keyword optimization
- Social media posting
- White papers in exchange for contact info
- Google AdWords campaigns
These tactics will naturally pull the target audience toward them by aligning themselves with the audience’s interests and needs. Rather than focus on getting any attention, inbound marketing tactics focus on getting targeted, qualified leads. This is the type of marketing strategy we at Titan believe to be the most effective type of marketing. We believe in trying to get to the right customer by providing information they want to see.
Inbound Marketing Strategy:
Attract qualified traffic to match buyer persona based on likes and interests Convert them with landing pages and lead forms to take action, such as provide their contact info Close the sale and make them into a repeat customer by using email marketing and lead nurturing tactics.
Unlike inbound marketing, outbound doesn’t wait for the audience to come to it. Instead, outbound marketing fights for your attention in a disruptive way and is focused on loose targeting. Multiple marketing messages are pushed out through multiple channels with the hope that the right people out there will be reached. Because the audience does not seek it out, outbound marketing is considered an interruptive marketing strategy. It’s an attempt to turn random people or strangers into close friends as paying customers.
The problem with outbound marketing is that most targeted people hate it. They are being marketed to against their will, which means they aren’t going to care how clever your campaign is. They don’t want to see it, therefore making your outbound efforts come off as annoying.
Examples of Outbound Marketing Tactics:
- TV/Radio Commercials
- Cold Calling
- Email Marketing
So Which is Better?
When looking at inbound marketing vs outbound marketing, you have to consider your audience and how you want to treat them. Do you want to seem like the helpful business who has their best interests in mind? Or are you just desperate to catch the eye of anyone out there?
For the most part, outbound marketing works best on older people who are used to that up-front sort of marketing tactics. For the younger generation, however, marketing has become more complicated. The younger generation doesn’t want to feel they are being tricked into being sold something. They would prefer to believe they gave you their business because it was their idea, not yours. Inbound marketing allows them to do just that by being there for them when they come to you.
The best kind of marketing you can do is sell yourself to those who come looking for you. People these days like to be in control, so let them. The only thing you’ll likely get from outbound marketing is a bunch of annoyed people, not customers.
However, that doesn’t mean outbound marketing can’t work. If done well and under the right circumstances, it can be effective. Just keep in mind that most people have trained their minds to ignore outbound marketing tactics without even thinking. An ad pops up on the screen, and they know exactly where that “X” button is before it appears. A commercial comes on, and they mute the TV or change the channel. They fast forward even. With outbound marketing, you have a mere 2 seconds to capture your audience’s attention, or all your efforts have been wasted.
We aren’t saying one tactic is better than the other. Just that we prefer to use inbound marketing. Outbound marketing forces itself on people; inbound marketing attracts people to it. Which do you think sounds better?