Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing – Which is Best For Business?
Our headline today, Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing, is a bit like asking, “Which came first. The chicken or the egg.” The question may not have an easy answer but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid question to ask. In fact, the debate often reveals more than the question itself.
The question pitting inbound marketing vs outbound marketing has just as valid a debate attached to it and it’s a debate we’re ready to tackle today. So, get ready to take sides and come out of the discussion not with the answer, per se, but a greater understanding of the question at hand.
Defining the Issue
Before we can get down to the debate at hand, let’s first set some discussion parameters and lay down a common understanding of the differences between inbound marketing vs outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing, sometimes called permission marketing, is about allowing customers to find you by providing engaging, educational, and entertaining content a client can use today to solve their problems.
Inbound marketing comes in the forms of:
Outbound marketing represents the more traditional marketing channels like radio or television commercials, print advertisements (including online print), direct mail and cold calls. Those who view outbound negatively call this interruption marketing because it intrudes upon a client without asking first. Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing, Inbound = Permission based marketing, Outbound Marketing = Interruption marketing our push marketing.
The Resolution: Which form of marketing is best?
Now that we’ve defined the issue, let’s get down to the debate of inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. Great debates explore both sides of an issue in-depth with a judge declaring a winner. Today, you get to bet the judge and we’ll take up both sides.
Inbound Marketing is Better
Many of today’s leading marketing professionals land on this side of the debate. Inbound marketing is the new, shiny object we have all become fascinated with thanks to exciting and engaging marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Inbound marketing has some distinct advantages over outbound marketing. First and foremost, the leads you attract with inbound marketing are better, higher quality leads because the lead went looking for you to solve a problem.
These marketing channels also:
- Have a lower long-term cost per lead;
- Yield more leads over time as you increase your online profile;
- And benefit from the community sharing of content inherent in inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing does what outbound marketing can’t do. It meets clients where they are, engages them in a conversation and invites them into your community where you can establish a long-term, vibrant relationship.
Unlike outbound marketing, it doesn’t require costly data or ongoing costs and jumps over the hurdle of the inability to share outbound marketing materials.
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Outbound Marketing is Better
Just as inbound marketing has its champions, so does outbound marketing. The marketing professionals who value outbound marketing often cite the disadvantages of inbound marketing.
First and foremost, inbound marketing requires a significant investment in creating content. This costs time and money to do well. It can also take a much longer time to see a return on investment with inbound marketing as you give your content time to work and attract an audience.
Outbound marketing gives you:
- More control over what your leads see and when they see it;
- A faster ROI and a faster test of a lead nurture sequence;
- And lower overall costs for content creation.
And the Winner Is …
Well, like the chicken and the egg debate, there really is no clear winner. And really, deciding between inbound marketing vs outbound marketing shouldn’t be an all or nothing prospect anyway.
Inbound marketing must become a part of a dynamic marketing plan for any business. Clients expect it, want it and will seek out businesses that have it. But outbound marketing will continue to have a place at the table as well.
So, in the end, the debate continues. Inbound marketing vs outbound marketing which is best? What do you think?