Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: What’s The Difference?

Although they may sound like buzzwords, the concepts of inbound and outbound marketing have been around for quite some time – so what’s the difference?

The average person is now subject to over 6,000 to 10,000 forms of advertising every day. Some forms are relatively “in your face” like television advertisements or billboards, while others may be a little more subtle like an article you found on Google. Either way – it’s a lot to take in.

With a somewhat abstract analogy, Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan summarises the key differences between inbound and outbound marketing, along with what has changed over the years in relation to these marketing methods.


“The best analogy I can come up with is that traditional marketers looking to garner interest from new potential customers are like lions hunting in the jungle for elephants.  The elephants used to be in the jungle in the ’80s and ’90s when they learned their trade, but they don’t seem to be there anymore.  They have all migrated to the watering holes on the savannah (the internet).  So, rather than continuing to hunt in the jungle, I recommend setting up shop at the watering hole or turning your website into its own watering hole.”

Unfortunately, outbound marketing has become the jungle, and inbound marketing has become the watering hole. To put it simply, generally the internet is where you want to be – but inbound and outbound marketing methods aren’t restricted to exclusive mediums or platforms.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing Differences And Examples

Outbound marketing has noticeably aged, with traditional methods being rendered obsolete. Usually outbound marketing will include the following:

  • Push a message at everyone, with minimal conscious targeting efforts
  • Written to specifically sell a product or service
  • One-way communication (the viewer doesn’t interact)
  • Disrupts whatever content is being consumed

Common places to find examples of outbound marketing include television advertisements, billboards, pop-up internet ads, radio advertisements, telemarketing cold calls and magazines.

In comparison, inbound marketing often uses newer technology to be a little more “subtle” and less invasive. Usually it’s often a lot more targeted, when measured against outbound marketing techniques and takes a more personal approach. Inbound marketing will generally include:

  • Solve consumer needs, and answers questions being asked
  • Pull interested readers in through specific targeting
  • Is interactive with readers, such as quizzes, contests and surveys
  • Content is helpful, and turns audiences into leads

Examples of modernized inbound marketing techniques include targeted social media advertisements, topical blogs that relate to your brand or service, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SERP (Search Engine Results Pages), ebooks, opt-in emails, viral videos and web-based seminars.


Is Inbound Or Outbound Marketing Right For My Business?

The key to great marketing often lies in producing great content. If you lack the time, energy, experience or resources to do so, then it might be worth outsourcing.

Thankfully, producing high quality content is exactly what we do best at Content Hive. Each brand or business has different needs when it comes to what works and what doesn’t, so why not book in a free discovery call with us today to discuss how we can get your brand buzzing online.

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