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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

How much do you know about the difference between inbound vs outbound marketing? Inbound marketing has grown in popularity over the last several years and mar keters have started to change their overall marketing strategy to integrate inbound tactics.

While many companies and marketers consider inbound marketing the newest and shiniest tool, outbound marketing is still used by many businesses. Per Hubspot’s State of Inbound, when asked about their organization’s primary approach to marketing, 73% of respondents said they would choose inbound marketing compared with 24% who said they would choose outbound marketing. While a clear majority chose inbound marketing, that leaves more than a quarter of respondents who aren’t convinced that inbound marketing is valuable for their business.

So, what are the differences and the benefits of each method? Keep reading to learn how inbound vs outbound marketing can fit into your company’s marketing strategy.

Inbound Marketing is Not Interruptive

According to Hubspot, inbound marketing is defined as, “an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive.” Marketers can use many tools to attract potential customers without cold calling, paid email lists, and paid advertisements. Overall, this means creating content that prospects or leads will love and help them better understand your business and more specifically, why they should choose to work with your company.

Effective tools include blog posts, social media, and search engine marketing. A popular model that’s being used by many businesses shows the types of content proven effective at each stage of buyer’s journey towards becoming a customer. The four actions involved with the inbound marketing methodology include, Attract, Convert, Close, Delight.


Each step focuses on creating content that suits where your lead is in the decision-making process. Content to consider for your inbound strategy could include:

  • Articles
  • How-To Guides
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Demo Videos

What Makes Great Content?

Choosing content that will connect with your audience can be difficult. It’s important to consider who your audience is, the type of content, and how it’s being delivered. From videos to blog posts to case studies, knowing your audience will guide the content you create.

So, what do customers really look for in content? For most people, whether they realize it or not, they’re seeking content that evokes an emotional response. From excitement to nostalgia to hope to joy, content that your audience can connect with will determine success or failure with your inbound marketing strategy. Need inspiration for the types of content you should be creating? Here are a few examples to get you started.

Lastly, inbound marketing not only delivers the content your audience is looking for, in a less disruptive manner, but it is also more cost-effective. Inbound marketing effectively communicates your message without the high costs that typically come with outbound marketing methods.

Is Outbound Marketing Outdated?

Outbound marketing differs from inbound marketing because it acts opposite of the inbound marketing method of attracting visitors and instead reaches out to potential customers with your message. While outbound marketing methods were once effective, many are moving toward inbound marketing because of higher-response rates.

One reason for this is that our world is changing and in turn, so is behavior. People often seek the information they’re looking for in their own time, whether it’s through a search engine or social media. Now that buyers have the power to choose when they’re receiving information, they’re less likely to receive it through classic outbound marketing tactics.

What are some examples of outbound marketing?

  • Tradeshows
  • Email blasts to purchased lists
  • Cold calling
  • Telemarketing
  • Print advertisements

Outbound marketing will likely never fully disappear, but its influence is fading. It can complement an inbound marketing strategy, but you must ensure that you’re using outbound tactics wisely. Alongside a strong inbound marketing strategy that includes search engine optimization, blogging, and social media, you can still utilize outbound marketing if that works with your audience. For example, if you regularly generate great leads at a tradeshow, develop a follow up email campaign that provides these new leads with valuable content about your company.

Need help with moving your marketing strategy toward inbound marketing? Contact us.




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Beth is our VP of Digital Marketing Strategy who, besides drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, helps clients generate more business. Whether they’ve partnered with Proximity Marketing for a decade or just joined the family, Beth helps clients achieve success and achieve measurable results.

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