1228 East Morehead Street,
Suite 250
Charlotte, NC 28206


What is Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing?

05/15/18, 9:01 AM


What’s the difference, exactly, between inbound and outbound marketing? The two terms are tossed around a lot but we find that clients don’t always know what fully separates the two. And in fact, in the digital age, the line between inbound and outbound marketing is becoming increasingly blurry.

Outbound Marketing: Traditional interruptive marketing that intentionally delivers a marketing message to potential customers. Outbound marketing can be seen as aggressive and in an oversaturated online climate, people have begun to ignore outbound ads. It’s a passive form of marketing.
Examples: TV commercials, banner ads, radio ads, magazine ads, billboards

Inbound Marketing: The (relatively) new concept of “pulling” clients in through the use of great content. Inbound marketing nudges customers down the purchasing funnel through pointed, relevant content without a distinctively “salesy” pitch. It’s an active form of marketing.
Examples: Infographics, blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, email newsletters

What are the Key Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?
The two types of marketing overlap in that they both attempt to deliver a message to an audience in an with the goal of eventually getting that client to convert into a sale.

  • Outbound talks to everyone, regardless of interest level; inbound content is pointed, directed at high-quality leads.
  • Outbound content focuses on what the product can deliver; inbound content focuses on what the client needs.
  • Outbound marketing is a one-way conversation; inbound marketing is the opening of a (hopefully continuous) dialogue between the brand and the consumer.
  • Outbound seeks to find new customers where they are; inbound attempts to draw in customers by offering them something of value.

Which Kind of Marketing is Better?
Most forward-thinking marketers are leaning more towards inbound. They understand that modern consumers don’t want to be talked at, they want to be talked with. Inbound marketing helps develop a relationship between a consumer and a brand.

The Catch-22 is that the effects of inbound marketing are significantly harder to measure than those of outbound marketing. It’s all about creating brand awareness and providing value, both of which can be a little nebulous in terms of predicting direct ROI.

How to Create an Effective Inbound Strategy
Creating inbound strategy that works can be complicated. There are a lot of factors to consider. Great inbound marketers know there are a few steps almost every successful inbound strategy follows. Creating buyer personas is step one, wherein brands define exactly who their ideal customer is. Next comes the development of SEO/PPC strategies – they’re the technical foundation of any digital inbound campaign.

Producing content for an inbound strategy is an ongoing process. It involves keyword research, buyer discovery, message crafting, and data analyzation. It’s a process that’s takes a lot of refinement to get right, but it’s also the most important component of a successful inbound strategy.


Still not sure how an inbound marketing strategy can boost your business? Sync is.
We’ve got years of experience producing ironclad results for businesses just like yours.
Contact the Synchronicity team today.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Outbound Marketing