Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: Evident differences

Reputation Defender
4 min readJul 18, 2017


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As of the emergence of the digital era and digital marketing, many have been the connotations and acceptations that have been embraced by today’s marketers in order to better describe their approaches and define their strategies. Experienced marketers, for instance, have probably heard of the terms inbound marketing and outbound marketing, and although they might think these are just an additional categorization of what is commonly accepted as marketing, reality dictates otherwise.

Both terms were not developed as simple buzzwords to make marketers sound cooler. In fact, both entrepreneurs, business owners and marketers, irrespective of their experience, should understand the difference and the distinction between both terms and, moreover, how they come into play. Thus, we at ReputationDefender have managed to summarize the scope of such terminology so that readers can get a grasp of both terms.

Companies seeking to expand their audience for their websites, attract more customers and grow their businesses, at some point, will need to invest in different marketing strategies in order to make their brands, products and services stand out amongst today’s competitive juncture. Today, it is not a secret that technology — the fourth industrial revolution — has completely changed the game: people now are able to collect and obtain information from different sources and, consequently, marketing also has undergone a tremendous change. Outbound marketing strategies, such as television, advertising, radio, are not as efficient, effective and successful as they once used to be. Under today’s circumstances, relying on outbound marketing strategies was not enough, which is why, after being driven by the internet and social media, inbound marketing made its awaited appearance.

And it is not something entirely nonsensical: today’s customers are extremely savvy. No one is willing to sit through a dreary sales pitch, and customers and people in general have mastered the art of avoiding them: now, customers can skip TV ads, fast-forward through commercials, avoid radio ads, and since people get information from the web, practically no one sees printed ads anymore; banner ads can now be blocked and email newsletters or sales pitch often end in the spam folder and never get opened. Today’s youngsters will hardly relate to the frustration of not finding something in the yellow pages: now, they just resort to Google. And the list goes on and on.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing, despite its flashy name, is just another acceptation for traditional advertising methods. Its counterpart is, of course, inbound marketing. It includes TV, radio, print, telemarketing and all kinds of outdoor advertising. The whole idea behind outbound marketing is that advertisers resort to mass media tools to push and convey their messages out to their audiences in hopes of reaching out to as many people as they can within their targets. These tactics used to be highly efficient in the past; however, with the eclosion of the internet, these types of ads are heavily saturated and similar to each other that customers and people in general no longer relate to them. Besides, another downside with outbound marketing is that the likelihood of also reaching out to people who are not part of this target is high, which makes the cost of advertising on this methodology much less successful and effective.

Inbound Marketing

Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing refers to all those marketing strategies that focus on attracting audiences instead of recklessly going out reaching out to prospects in hopes of getting their attention. Inbound marketing helps marketers to pull visitors and people in, increase levels of brand exposure across the Internet and create, to some extent, brand authority through the creation of genuine and target-tailored content.

Inbound marketing is the response to people not responding to traditional marketing channels and other outbound marketing strategies since today’s audiences use the Internet to gather information about the products and services they need. The process is quite simple. A traditional inbound marketing campaign starts by creating attraction: strangers are turned into visitors using blogs and social media as the tools for creating such attraction. Afterwards, visitors are turned into leads, then leads are turned into customers and, finally, customers into promoters. Each stage possesses different strategies; however, the main goal is simple: turn strangers into customers and promoters of a specific brand, product or service.

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And although there are evident differences between both outbound and inbound marketing strategies, in their most basic forms, outbound marketing uses push tactics whereas inbound marketing relies on the usage of pull tactics. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of inbound marketing is the creation of valuable content: in fact, basically inbound marketing as whole relies on coming up with genuine and valuable content that serves as the bridge between audiences and companies, thus, the goal is to pull interested individuals in while providing them with valuable information about a specific product or service.



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