The Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing – and Why It Matters

Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing are two distinctively different entities, and they may be described to you in unique ways based on the person you’re speaking to.

Some say that Outbound Marketing is the “old fashioned” way of doing things, and Inbound Marketing is the present and future of the industry. Others describe Outbound Marketing as “push marketing”, while Inbound Marketing is conversely referred to as “pull marketing”.

You are sure to find many opinions on these two forms of getting your leads’ attention, including which one is better and more effective. I like to think of them as two separately useful entities that can be used alone or in tandem, depending on the specific goals your organization is trying to achieve.

I am an Inbound Marketing, or “pull marketing” expert. My job is to effectively utilize, strategize, and drive this newer way of marketing that relies on garnering attention and interest instead of direct buys. Examples of Inbound Marketing are social media posts, infographics, blogs, podcasts, and white papers.

In contrast, Outbound Marketing, which I’ve dabbled in, but do not prefer, consists of TV advertisements, print advertisements, cold calls, and direct mail campaigns. This type of marketing, although still potentially useful for some companies, is seeing a decline due to a fundamental shift in consumer behavior.

These days, people are more in control of the information they receive – and send. In outbound marketing, the company itself is in control – and that doesn’t jive with the explosion of the Internet and Social Media.

Reading Viral Content Online

In Fact: 

  • 200 million Americans have registered on the FCC’s “Do Not Call” List.
  • 84% of 25 to 34 year old Americans have left a favorite website because of intrusive or disruptive advertising.
  • 86% of people skip television ads
  • 44% of direct mail is never opened

What does that mean for you and your brand – and your marketing strategy going forward? 

  • Some of the most analytically effective Inbound Marketing strategies include social media marketing and content marketing
  • Interesting, useful, or educational content related to your brand’s audience can be shared through social media, multiplying your influence
  • As content is spread and shared through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, news aggregators like Digg and Reddit, and bookmarking sites such as, the reach of your content can grow virally, leading to increased visibility
  • Your content and social media can be built to be SEO-friendly, thereby improving your website rankings day in and day out, 24/7
  • Effective content and social marketing can lead to referrals, increased traffic, sales, and leads, thereby replacing the need for much more costly outbound marketing tactics in many cases

Happy Engaged Social Media Buddha

What the Savvy Brands are Doing 

Companies are increasingly devoting more of their marketing budget to Inbound Marketing strategies instead of Outbound ones. One of the biggest reasons for growth is Inbound Marketing’s ROI (Return on Investment). Inbound marketing costs, on average, 62% less per lead than traditional marketing. Over 50% of companies that use blogs, LinkedIn, and Facebook have acquired customers in this way.

  • 2/3 of companies say their blog is critical to their business
  • 42% of companies have acquired business through Twitter
  • 62% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B companies have acquired business through Facebook

I hear you on Inbound Marketing – So what do I do next? 

It’s clear that marketing is changing – which doesn’t make navigating the waters of modern marketing any easier. Find yourself a solid Inbound Marketing expert who can help you understand what you need for your business and the best way to do it within budget. If you’re hesitant, try Inbound Marketing tactics and stack them up against your traditional, outbound marketing missions. Which one is more effective?



Stats pulled via Mashable



4 responses to “The Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing – and Why It Matters”

  1. […] it is to be approached to buy something when you don’t want to. Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing as a whole are designed to place your business in the right place at the right time. When your […]


  2. […] Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing and Why It Matters to Your Business – What is the difference between Inbound and […]


  3. […] Now, I’m ready to accept change, and I’m asking small business owners to embark on a new way of thinking about marketing as well. There are two words that will be very important to small business marketing in 2016, and those two words are Inbound Marketing. […]


  4. […] are – generally speaking – two schools of thought I observe in the world of Inbound Marketing […]


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