Inbound vs Outbound marketing: A Definitive Guide

September 11, 2012
Rushal Patel

With all the talk about inbound marketing and how it’s beginning to overshadow outbound marketing, we thought it would be a good idea to do a little review. For those who aren’t familiar with it, inbound marketing can seem mysterious and hard to define. How does one judge the success of inbound marketing? How is it measured? These things can throw people off and create uncertainty, which may discourage them from pushing forward with an inbound marketing campaign. In order to clear things up, here is what you need to know about inbound vs. outbound marketing.

inbound marketing, outbound marketing, inbound vs outbound marketing

Inbound Marketing

This consists of many online channels like blogs, social media, web video, SEO, email and podcasting. Other forms of inbound marketing include word of mouth, public relations, referrals, and new stories. The defining quality of inbound marketing is that there are no media costs associated with it. Instead the cost comes from the creation of content. It is measured by web analytics programs like Google Analytics, which can track web surfer’s behavior. Using these programs you can see just how your inbound marketing channels bring in new leads and how those leads become customers.

Outbound Marketing

All of the classic ways in which you envision advertising are what make up outbound marketing. This includes television commercials, print ads, billboards, radio, product placement, and endorsement deals. It also includes any online advertising that you pay for. All of these things can be expensive, but are relatively quick to put together. With outbound marketing you have total control over the process, from where the ads appear to how they look.

The Differences: Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

  1. Inbound marketing costs less and brings in better quality leads.
  2. Outbound marketing is faster than inbound marketing.
  3. The effects of inbound marketing last longer than outbound. For example, a YouTube video can bring in business for years after it has been released.
  4. It is easier to predict the results of an outbound marketing campaign.
  5. Inbound marketing is especially effective if you are smaller business and don’t have a huge marketing budget.

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