What are the 5 biggest differences between inbound marketing and outbound marketing?

What is the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing? Is doing inbound marketing effective, outbound marketing ineffective and ‘burning money’? 

Not just doing email automation is inbound, running TV and radio ads is outbound. There is no hard and fast line between Inbound and Outbound marketing in terms of advertising channels; rather, the main distinction is in the way in which these channels are integrated.

Let’s read this article from Weapon Agency to grasp the differences between these two ideas and the benefits of each approach:

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: The Differences

What is inbound marketing?

The goal of inbound marketing is to guide potential buyers to your business in an organic way. The next step is to figure out how to persuade that specific demographic to go to the sites in question or do the desired activities.

Now think about it, who are the people most likely to influence your opinion? 


Some people find it helpful to use personal contacts as references. However, experts are incredibly persuasive if you require an expert opinion or if you are beyond the comprehension of others around you. As such, how does a brand take on the ‘shape’ of an industry expert?


Inbound marketing is the answer; it’s a strategy for building reliable, long-term connections with consumers via the provision of helpful content. Inbound marketing, in particular, is a kind of promotion predicated on the premise of “give and receive”; namely, you provide consumers with neutral recommendations to aid them in solving their own issues, and those customers will come to you first when they have a need.


An inbound marketing strategy generally consists of 4 phases to successfully transform complete strangers into paying customers and brand advocates:


To convert strangers into patrons and get them to promote your business, typically, an inbound marketing campaign will go through 4 stages:


Attract: Attract the target audience to visit your website

Convert : Convince them to trade information for something in return

Close: Take care of those who leave leads through many channels, from emailing, remarketing to consulting contact

Delight: Give customers a reason to come back and treat you as a source of advice and suggestions when needed


More specifically, to launch an effective inbound campaign, you will need 

  • Build ideal customer profiles – divide your target audience into subgroups with similar characteristics based on past data
  • Analyze the customer journey – the customer’s decision journey and find out the reasons that prevent them from progressing to the buying stage
  • Develop a functional, personalized content strategy for each target audience, each stage of the customer journey, to help them overcome their current dilemmas.
  • Apply CRM system to manage and analyze customer data from there to evaluate the conversion potential of each lead before contacting a consultant (refer to how to apply customer funnel in evaluating lead quality)


What is Outbound Marketing?

In order to reach more people, businesses might use outbound marketing. Consider out-of-home (OOH) or television (TV) advertising, for which hundreds of thousands of individuals will see your message every day; among them is certain to be your target demographic.


That doesn’t, however, imply that OOH spots, TV stations, and newspapers are selected at random. Instead, marketers will need to track the “prey,” or target audience, to learn more about their preferences and interests.


Traditional channels like Billboard, newspapers, PR events, TV… whose efficacy is hard to assess and frequently referred to as “missing is deficient but adding is unnecessary” were often the only options available in the past for creating these touchpoints. Targeting on social media platforms like Facebook and Google has helped overcome this obstacle in the current era. With improved targeting capabilities, outbound marketing has become the favored strategy for numerous industries, including e-commerce.


Thus, if we restrict our gaze to digital channels alone, we see that outbound efforts are not that different from performance advertising: Working together, we can maximize the effectiveness of our conversion strategies via coordinated use of several channels. That’s why, in low-value areas of specialization like hobbies and interests, outbound marketing will be the most efficient way to “recover capital” quickly.



These definitions should have given you a basic understanding of inbound and outbound marketing strategies. If you’re still not sure how to choose between these two methods, let’s analyze with Weapon Agency in more depth by considering the following five criteria.


One-way communication VS Multi-way communication

When doing conventional outbound marketing, you essentially “market” into an unresponsive audience (TV, newspapers, OOH). Adwords, for instance, only displays advertising with the appropriate keywords in the proper context, but on digital platforms, you may make use of context to get your messaging more relevant or eye-catching.


One of the main tenets of inbound marketing is encouraging participation on both ends. It’s possible that neither a consultant nor a chatbot is involved in this exchange. Instead, you’ll steadily guide them to what they need with pre-scripted script-based marketing automation procedures depending on your client profile and their challenges.


Products VS Customers

Ads on out-of-home media, television, social networks, and search engines tend to focus on the product, feature, deal, or benefit being promoted. Direct, personal contact with ‘easy-to-read’ messaging grounded on research is a common tactic in outbound marketing of all types.


As a result of inbound marketing, the content strategy is tailored more toward the requirements of prospective clients. Put another way, buyers tend to “click” on this kind of material when they’re interested in learning more about a certain topic. The question “how to…” is typically the jumping-off point for such articles.


Arousing the need to buy VS Build trust

Outbound advertising focuses on increasing conversion rates from casual viewers by making your message as compelling as possible even if they just give it a quick scan. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is focused on fostering deep connections via the provision of “added values.” As a result, the product will be mentioned just in passing in the content strategy, with recommendations tailored to the specific needs of the various demographics.


Consideration between 2 virtual real worlds VS works on digital platforms

Traditional and cutting-edge approaches come together in outbound marketing, making it a common starting point for IMC-integrated communication initiatives. For its part, inbound marketing focuses almost exclusively on online channels like blogs, emails, and remarketing.


Measurability – HARD VS EASY

Although the problem of limited measuring capabilities has been solved on the digital platform, it will be prohibitively costly to conduct an effective campaign combining two online and physical channels and then assess their respective efficacy.


You need to choose the proper customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for your company model if you want to track the success of your inbound marketing efforts. The “magic” of inbound advertising disappears without CRM software.



Various goals and fields call for different strategies, and both inbound and outbound marketing is effective.

  • Outbound marketing: fast conversion, easy to do but stop advertising and run out of leads 
  • Inbound marketing: it takes time to set up and nurture customer relationships before converting


Sure, everyone loves performing outbound, but when it comes to high-end or high-impact items like homes or studying abroad, is it enough to rely on outbound tactics alone? Is inbound marketing the best approach? Nonetheless, when the buying choice is very subjective, the product has a limited lifespan and is not as expensive as the latest trend.


You need an ideal solution to solve every issue, and there is none. Both inbound and outbound strategies may be used alone or in tandem with one another as part of a larger promotional plan. It’s all about finding the right fit!


And if you’re still not sure which approach is best for your particular company model, please feel free to discuss your options with us.

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