Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: What’s the Difference? - V3 Media

Something we’ve noticed in our industry is that there’s still a lot of confusion floating around about inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Sometimes we’ve met business owners who get the two strategies mixed up!

According to Google, these are the definitions of each: inbound marketing is “a strategy that focuses on attracting customers, or leads, via company-created Internet content, thereby having potential customers come to the company rather than marketers vying for their attention.” For outbound marketing, it is “the traditional form of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience.”

“What’s the difference though?” you may be asking yourself. “And how can I possibly know which one works best for my business?” Let’s go over that together, shall we?

Examples of Inbound Marketing Strategies

One of the best ways of defining these marketing strategies is to present some actual examples of each in action. Let’s start with inbound.

If a business—let’s use ours (V3 Media) purely as an example—wants to reach out to customers online, they usually rely on the following:

  • Content publication such as blog posts (like this one!)
  • E-mail newsletter campaigns
  • Social media posts
  • Organic search engine traffic growth
  • Videos
  • Ebooks
  • SEO
  • Podcasts
  • A website

Inbound marketing is also quite cost-effective for businesses because it doesn’t cost nearly as much money to write a blog post as it is to create a broadcasted advertisement. It’s a means of prioritizing your customer’s needs before your own. That’s why having a website is something we continuously recommend you have at V3 Media—it’s your virtual business card.

Examples of Outbound Marketing Strategies

If your business has a bigger budget, outbound marketing is usually the traditional means of reaching out to an audience. These are such examples:

  • TV commercials
  • Printed advertisements
  • Radio advertising
  • Public relations
  • Direct mail
  • Telemarketing

It’s also referred to as “traditional marketing”. In some cases, outbound marketing has its place and there is a reason it’s still a strategy being used today. Sponsoring a booth at a tradeshow can still attract your target audience, and in some cases even business cards can be considered an outbound strategy and they are still effective now as they were years ago.

When is Inbound Marketing Better?

Some of the aforementioned examples of outbound marketing do not work anymore. When was the last time you willingly listened to a telemarketer upon picking up the phone? When the last time you tried to skip an advertisement on YouTube, only to find out you were forced to watch the entire thing? When was the last time you kept every single piece of junk mail you found in your mailbox?

Outbound marketing may be the number one choice of getting a message out for bigger companies, but it’s losing its touch with the world and people are growing more aware of it. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is growing increasingly popular because it doesn’t talk down to the people it’s reaching out to. Rather, it’s engaging with them and encouraging them to make their own decisions, and those who become paying customers are doing so because they genuinely want to—the ultimate reward for any business!

Now that you know the difference, do you think your business is a better fit for outbound or inbound marketing? Do you feel like you need some more guidance on the subject? If so, give us a call at V3 Media. Let’s figure out what will work best for your business, together.