You have heard that Google and Facebook are competitors. Corporately, that may be true. They each compete for ad dollars. But smart marketers know both can be used successfully together. Similarly, Inbound and Outbound marketing are portrayed as competitors. They each have their strengths and weaknesses.  In reality, they are two marketing strategies that work very well together. Instead of Inbound v Outbound marketing brands need to think about Inbound And Outbound marketing.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is any messaging that is pushed out to an audience. Many consider outbound disruptive because the audience did not ask for it. All of the early advertising platforms fall in the outbound category such as TV, Radio, Outdoor etc. Recent advertising tactics such as pay-per-click, and programmatic banners fit the definition of Outbound as well.

Outbound marketing is viewed negatively by some because it can be aggressive. Years ago, Outbound used more of a shotgun approach. Targeting broadly advertisers assumed it would reach some prospects and a few would convert. When used incorrectly the ROI is poor.

The weakness of Outbound is that it can seem invasive. Even though just 18 percent of marketers say outbound practices provide the highest-quality leads for sales, marketers continue to push messaging. It is often difficult to make the message personalized or relevant. Generalized messaging prevails. Too often, this strategy of marketing does not target precisely, wasting ad dollars.

There are some clear benefits to Outbound marketing. It is a great way to build brand awareness. You quickly reach many people who don’t know you. This strategy can yield immediate results. A person who is interested will take immediate action. And customers are used to this kind of advertising. They expect advertising on many platforms.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is often seen as the gold standard for lead generation. The idea is to attract or pull customers to your product or service. The best prospects are already considering what you offer. Your job is to meet them wherever they are on the customer journey. Inbound marketing strives to provide prospects with the right content at the right time in order to help them solve their problems.

Because intent plays a large role in conversions, marketers can use behavioral and intent data to move the prospect to action. Inbound marketing will rely on buyer personas or avatars, customer profiles which represent the ideal client. Client avatars inform you of the demographics and customer challenges. That information helps you create personalized content and campaigns to move prospects through the buying funnel.

The weaknesses of Inbound marketing often start with the size of the prospect pool, which can be very small. The inbound process usually takes time. Nurturing is done slowly. These campaigns require regular maintenance, to make sure the content is just right. Testing is a must.

Strengths of this strategy are clear. It is non-invasive. Prospects seek out the information. Content is educational, meant to interest prospective customers along the conversion path. Your website and content are regularly updated and continue to bring in more prospects over time.

Inbound and Outbound Together

Inbound and Outbound marketing are really two sides of the same coin. Both can be successful lead generators. Each can lead prospects to content and resources of value. And, as with any successful marketing plan, they work cross-channel, reaching consumers at different times and places.

When determining the mix of inbound and outbound strategies start with your target audience or avatar. How that person consumes media is important and informs the tactics to use. And of course, consider your sales goals.

Consider a “push-pull” strategy when mixing these strategies. Use outbound to reach new audiences and raise awareness and inbound to keep them engaged. Buy targeted YouTube ads to promote a white paper and then email everyone who signs up for it. Or use PPC to promote how your company solves a particular problem and then have blogs and other website content to engage the prospect and keep them coming back. Email is a very powerful component of inbound marketing. Consider implementing lead magnets to capture email addresses and drop prospects into your funnel.

Inbound v Outbound Marketing

There is no right or wrong mix of inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Like so many tactics of advertising tracking results are critical. Learn the most effective methods of raising awareness. Try different kinds of content to engage and move prospects down the funnel. Experiment with different ways of converting prospects. Along the way you will learn that it is not Inbound v Outbound marketing, it is Inbound AND Outbound marketing.