Inbound and Outbound Marketing Strategy – Which is more effective?

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing


Things have been changing over time in the business. The mode of selling products and services has become different from the past. Earlier, when there was no internet, selling took place in stores or shops. But today, we have eCommerce stores and online businesses. Similarly, in response to this change, the way of marketing is also changing. From newspaper ads to pay per click ads, we can see whole different kind of marketing strategies in business nowadays. The two kinds of strategies that involve in marketing are Inbound and Outbound Marketing.

These two strategies help any business to reach to its customers to sell their offerings. Both these strategies aim to persuade customers to make their buying decision, but their ways are different. Further, you will understand the comparative study of Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a strategy where the marketer attracts the customers towards their product or service by creating engaging content and customized promotions and advertising. It uses a creative approach to draw customer’s attention. Furthermore, this strategy can turn any person unaware of the brand into a potential customer and also a promoter of the brand by word of mouth. It is a pull strategy that influences a customer’s buying decision.

Inbound Marketing can also be called Digital Marketing Strategy. This strategy is considered as the modern marketing strategy that involves new media platforms. The most prominent is the internet or any digital media.

In this marketing technique, the focus is to create engaging content, so that the customer pays attention to it.
Finally, this marketing strategy aims to create traffic, engage customers, and create conversions. But the question is how this strategy works. There are three ways the marketer uses this strategy:

Draw Attention

The content plays a major role in drawing the attention of the customer. Marketers make creative content in this approach. This content has videos, photos, call-to-actions, and appealing visuals to catch the viewer’s eye.


The marketers create a personal connection by creating engaging content. Also, marketers retain their customers by providing solutions and valuable ideas and insights.


The offers, discounts, good buying experience, etc. can give customers pleasure that converts them into loyal customers.

SMART Goals in Inbound Marketing

In the Inbound Marketing Strategy, SMART goals play a significant role. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. The following points will help in understanding the SMART goals better:

SMART Goals in Inbound Marketing

Specific- It means that the goal must be clear and specific. For example, Increase in blog number of subscriptions by 500.

Measurable- The goal must be calculated by comparing it with the set benchmarks. Also, set objects in a way that you can monitor them to analyze the results. For example, the goal to increase in 5% conversions is measurable.

Attainable- The goal must not be unachievable because then all the efforts will go in vain. For example, with a low budget, the marketer cannot make the best advertising for and make it appear on most of the platforms. Another example can be an increase in 50% traffic on the website after one month of publishing which is unattainable.

Realistic- Being realistic is something that is closely related to attainable goals. Stick to reality and do not have imaginary goals because it can only lead to disappointment and losses. For example, sharing memes on your Facebook business page will not give you conversions.

Timely- The saying ‘Better late than never’ do not work in a business. Set your marketing target within the period that is most suitable. Too long or too soon is not the way to choose your deadlines. For example, setting a 1-year deadline to get a 2% increase in traffic is just too long for the goal.

Buyer’s Journey in Inbound Marketing

The three stages in Inbound Marketing that a buyer goes through are:


This stage is the need recognition stage. In this, the potential buyer realizes any need or want and looks for it on the internet.
It is the phase where the customer becomes aware of the product, service or brand. Inbound Marketing play the role of showcasing their product to prospects. The ways that the customer can become aware can be any social media posts, blogs, or any ad on social media.
Let’s take the example of a customer who needs a laptop. The customer realizes that his old laptop isn’t working well, so he decides to get a new one. Then the customer searches for laptops online. Also, he becomes aware of many brands like Dell, HP, Acer, etc.


In this phase, the potential buyer does what a typical customer will do that is evaluating alternatives. But in Inbound Marketing, the customer studies about the service or product that you are offering. The marketer’s role is to give as much information as possible. The marketer can provide videos, photos, and every possible information related to the product.

In this phase, the customer does extensive research. He wants the laptop that is best suitable for his budget and other features like display type, RAM, operating system, etc. Now that buyer has many brand options, it looks for the best one that matches his expectations.


Finally, the decision phase arrives. In this, the marketer can provide content like free trials, customer reviews, and feedback to the buyer to assist their decision.

The customer now looks for customer reviews and ratings of the laptop. It increases the confidence of the customer in the brand that he is going to buy. The brand also has to confirm that it is the best among others. After going through trials, reviews, and recommendations, finally, the customer makes his decision.

What is Outbound Marketing?

So now, we will discuss just the opposite of Inbound Marketing. Outbound Marketing is the kind of marketing that follows conventional marketing practices and media. Often the marketers state it as a Traditional Marketing Strategy. Outbound Marketing is the promotion of the brand using continuous advertising, sales, and promotion. It devises a push strategy where the marketer pushes the message to the audience first.

Outbound Marketing Includes

In Outbound Marketing Strategy, the media that marketers use are Email Marketing, Google Ads, T.V Commercials, Cold Calls, Print Ads, etc. All the Outbound Marketing strategies aim at generating sale leads. It is usually a paid form of advertising.

Do not confuse Outbound as a traditional strategy as it also involves digital media like PPC ads, Email Marketing, and Webinars. It is just that marketers are finding ways to modernize the Outbound Marketing approach by incorporating it with digital media.
Outbound Marketing includes the following:

Television Commercials

It is the advertising strategy that is being followed for a long time and still very popular. The first television commercial was in 1941, and it was a New York-based watch and jewellery company Bulova. It was a 10-second commercial. Since then, we can see lots of commercials in between movies and television shows.

Radio Advertising

There was a time when radio was available only as a source of entertainment. Today, radios are not seen at homes but in cars or mobile phones. The Outbound marketers have become smart as they advertise in the peak times when the customer is more likely to be driving their cars. These are more local advertisements.

Email Marketing

It is a popular strategy of sending newsletters, offers and brochures, and product catalogs. It is the least opted strategy as it is not as effective as other outbound strategies.

Tele Marketing

It is the technique that is mostly used by banks and insurance agencies nowadays. In this strategy, the marketers use the contact list to connect with the prospect over the phone call to persuade them to buy any service or product.


It is a type of internet marketing where you increase your Search Engine result pages through paid advertising methods. You can use Google Ads and Search/Display Ads. Search Engine Advertising is another type of internet marketing. It comprises of PPC advertising where the advertiser pays only for the clicks made.
The reason that these strategies are under Outbound Marketing is that they are not organic marketing. Also, these are push strategy.

Event Marketing

It is a marketing strategy where the marketer generates lead and engages with customers by organizing events. The people who attend such events are the leads that the marketer wants to convert into buyers. The trade shows, contests, webinars, seminars, etc. are some of the examples of Event Marketing. It is a practice that can create relationships with customers and create a lasting impression on the customers.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: Differences

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: Differences

In a nutshell, the differences between Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing are:

• Inbound Marketing is a pull strategy where the buyers get attracted to the product or service and reach the seller. Contrary to it, in Outbound Marketing, a push strategy is involved where the marketer delivers the information to a large audience.

• In Inbound Marketing, there is a two-way communication channel between seller and buyer, whereas, in Outbound Marketing, there is one-way communication.

• In an Inbound marketing strategy, the customers get attracted and visit the seller. In contrast, Outbound marketers find customers.

• The media that Inbound marketers use are Social Media, Content Marketing, SEO, Referrals, etc. Contrary to it, Outbound marketers use traditional media like Newspaper, Television Ads, Cold Calling, etc.

Suitability of Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Finally, we can discuss the suitability of Inbound and Outbound Marketing. Both approaches are significant in their way. If we talk about the suitability, then the marketer can use both the strategies in combination.

Inbound Marketing Suitability

Inbound Marketing is a strategy that is preferred by most companies these days. It is because it costs less and also it is more effective as the marketer can measure the result of advertising. Even startups and small businesses can use this marketing strategy as they lack funds, and this strategy is cost-effective.

The marketers set SMART goals that makes it more efficient, making it more impactful. Over 76% of marketers prefer Inbound Marketing.

Another reason is that the young generation is more inclined towards digital platforms, and so this platform is leveraged in marketing. So, the old tactics are of no use for persuading today’s generation.

Outbound Marketing Suitability

  • Outbound Marketing is suitable when the product that the company offers is heterogeneous in nature. It is because the same message can be delivered to a larger population, and no customization is required.
  • Businesses need to incur advertising and promotion costs to adopt this strategy. PPC ads, television commercials, and newspaper ads cost more. So, the availability of funds is also an important factor.
  • There is still a fraction of the population that pays attention to television ads. Also, the people that do not use internet platforms and social media can be persuaded using Outbound Marketing strategies.
  • The marketers need to modernize their Outbound Marketing practices in a way that it can be suitable for today’s generation.

Rounding up

Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing both are great in their own ways. The strategies can help businesses according to their requirements. The marketer decides which strategy can better reach out to their respective audience.

Vipul Agarwal
My drive comes from my passion for marketing. Moreover, I love to assist others and help them with all my might in their goal fulfillment. My educational journey in the fields of engineering and management has prepared me to understand the nuances of this industry and stay up to date with all the latest advancements through continued learning and development. I believe a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. So I utilize my leisure time in exercising and eating healthy. I indulge in various help books to understand the world we live in, a little better.