Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: A Guide

Any marketer working in the modern world will likely have experienced something of a paradigm shift over the course of the past decade. That’s not in terms of the digital vs. traditional shift – that had already taken place by 2010. It’s in the shift from outbound to inbound marketing. In this article, we’ll demystify both terms, and show you the difference between the two methods of getting customers to notice you, and interact with your brand. Read on to learn about the best marketing measures for 2020, comparing outbound and inbound marketing for tips to use in your own career.

Traditional and Emerging

One of the biggest distinctions between outbound and inbound marketing is that they belong in different times, pointed at different audiences. In general, outbound marketing is that which is deemed ‘traditional’ in industry circles: it’s what marketers and advertisers did in the age of magazine, newspaper, radio and television advertising, translated into the online space. In contrast, inbound marketing is new and glitzy and is a product of the digital age. It’s emerging as one of the best ways to market to modern audiences tired of old slogans and methods.

Earn Attention or Pay for it

Another key distinction is that outbound marketing tends to pay for your attention. This is a system that’s led to the likes of SPAM emails and the pop-up adverts that can cause consumers annoyance and discomfort. It’s generally seen as a niggling annoyance in marketing circles. Meanwhile, inbound marketing earns your attention, by compiling exciting content for consumers to delve into. It’s a way of giving back to your target consumer from the get-go – entertaining them with great content before they follow it onto your site.

Complexity and Simplicity

One of the downsides to inbound marketing, though it’s valued as an option in the modern world of marketing, is that it’s more complex. Where with outbound marketing, the ethos has been ‘be loud, draw attention,’ the world of inbound marketing is focused very much on creating compelling, well-designed content. That could mean any or all of the following:

  • Exciting infographic information
  • Compelling written blog posts
  • Smart and savvy social media posts
  • Well-edited photographs and videos
  • Other multimedia, like animations and illustrations

It’s with these kinds of content that inbound marketing aims to supersede outbound marketing in terms of its beauty. It’s more complex, but for a very good reason. Nevertheless, don’t make these inbound marketing mistakes if you’re going to go down the complex route: it’s easy to compile the wrong kind of content for your audience.

Targeted vs. Hip-Fire

If you want to fire from the hip when you’re marketing, then you will want to choose outbound marketing as your tool. It’s simple, quick, and gets your message across to a wide audience. But the beauty of inbound marketing is that you’ll be able to tailor your content to just the people you’re most excited to access: people who will find your content wonderful, and this will make them more likely to trade with you.

These four differences are the key distinctions between outbound and inbound marketing in 2020 – and they’ll help you decide how best to market your company in the future.

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