Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

Marketing Automation

If you are one who reads marketing articles online, I am sure you have heard the term “inbound marketing” thrown around. What most people do not understand is that the components of inbound marketing have been around for quite some time. Inbound marketing is more of an approach rather than a new marketing service. The inbound marketing approach was developed as a response to changes in consumer behavior. In today’s environment, everyone gets bombarded with TV ads, spam emails, paid advertisement (both on the Internet and off), direct mail and other “in your face” marketing tactics. Consumers are getting tired of this intrusive marketing approach. The younger and more Internet savvy generation of consumers have started to tune out these traditional marketing efforts. So lets dive into what is Inbound Marketing vs. the traditional Outbound Marketing approach.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is marketing strategy that focuses on consumers finding you instead of you paying to spread your message to find them. Inbound Marketing is attractive to marketers because a company can get more qualified leads since they are targeting qualified consumers who are actively looking for a specific product/service in the marketplace already. The inbound marketing approach is fairly simple: create fresh, relevant and targeted content to reach a specific audience. Consumers conduct research on the Internet for various products and services before they purchase every day. If you create content that talks directly to the consumer who is looking for that specific product/service then you make the sales connection.

Inbound Marketing Strategies:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Blogging / Content Marketing
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is a strategy in which marketers push their message out in hopes of finding a customer who will listen. At Conversion Pipeline, we call this the “Spaghetti Approach” where you throw spaghetti against the wall in hopes of something sticking. The more spaghetti you throw at the wall, the more spaghetti will stick to that wall. Outbound marketing is a marketing approach that is volume driven. The more cold calls you make, the more people you will talk to on the phone, the more proposals you send out, thus resulting in more sales contracts. All of you sales people out there know what I am talking about. How many times have we heard the sales manager say: “it is a numbers game”. Consider outbound marketing as a “numbers game”.

Outbound Marketing Strategies:

  • Cold Calling
  • Telemarketing
  • Print Ads
  • TV Advertising
  • Press Releases
  • Trade Shows
  • Email Marketing
  • Direct Mail


The greatest benefit of inbound marketing is that it focuses on a target audience. Inbound marketing targets a consumer who is already interested and looking for a specific product/services. For instance, a consumer will go online and look for “SEO firms” near their geographic location. They may go to Google and type in “Reston VA SEO Firm” and look to see which websites display in the search results. The search results could be articles written online in a Blog, a Facebook page, Twitter post, Yelp review, and the obvious Reston VA SEO Firm websites. If you are a Reston VA SEO Firm and your website has popped up in the search results, you have made the inbound marketing connection. A targeted search term finds a targeted source of content. In this case, a consumer searched for a specific product/service and found your company because of the content on your website/blog. Sounds very logical right?

Alternatively, outbound marketing focuses on sending out mass communication to a broad (not targeted) audience. For instance, a press release may get sent to hundreds or thousands of online outlets for people to read. But the problem is that these people are not actively looking for your product/service. People will read your press release and typically move on with their day. The reason is because you are pushing your message to the consumer instead of the consumer finding you. I am not knocking Press Releases because we do use them for link building (SEO purposes) and to establish brand credibility. But this is one example of an outbound marketing strategy.

Inbound Marketing Works

Inbound marketing is here to stay with more consumers going to the Internet to research products/services. Consumers are weeding through the noise and looking through specific outlets to find what they are looking for. How does your marketing strategy compare with the change in consumer behavior? Are you relying on inbound marketing or are you throwing spaghetti?

Legal Disclaimer:

Conversion Pipeline does not condone the act of throwing spaghetti at a wall. Conversion Pipeline is not liable to what the spaghetti could do you your paint/wallpaper or floor. Please wear protective eyewear if you do partake in this senseless but fun act. Throw spaghetti at your own risk……or…..start executing the inbound marketing approach!