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Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing: Know the Differences and Use Them Both

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Your answer to the inbound vs outbound marketing debate.

Inbound and outbound marketing are two powerful strategies for an organization’s growth that are opposed in how they work. Despite fundamentally having a common motive, i.e., revenue generation, the two leverage different tactics, and logic and take different time spans to show an impact.

That’s precisely why the debate on inbound vs. outbound marketing remains. 

As a content marketing agency, we know the importance of both inbound and outbound marketing. In this post, we hope to help you see what role each plays in B2B growth. 

Inbound vs outbound marketing: A detailed comparison 

In the following sections, we deep dive into what inbound and outbound marketing is, the pros and cons of each. 

Understanding Inbound Marketing

What is inbound marketing? 

Inbound, in simple words, means arriving at a place. In business, this translates to when customers arrive at the company’s page(website) via search keywords and learn about what it offers – products and services and what its customers have to say about them.


Inbound marketing understands and predicts the queries of their target audience and focuses on building a content strategy around them to show up in their search results – be it on the search engine or social media. The marketing tactic is broadly staged on three pillars; Attract, Engage, and Delight.


Inbound marketing involves attracting customers via value-driven and solution-focused content, engaging them with conversational interactions, and delighting consumers with enhanced user experience. 


Planning an inbound marketing content strategy begins with identifying your potential consumers, understanding their buyer personas, and studying service gaps and pain areas. 

Then, inbound marketing is carried out by curating and creating valuable content that addresses people’s requirements while capitalizing on your product’s capabilities and how you can serve better. This also includes repurposing your existing content to match your audience’s current needs through an education-first approach.

Components of Inbound marketing strategy:

  • BOFU: Tutorials, comparison charts, webinars, video demos, free trials
  • MOFU: Blogs, white papers, case studies, reports
  • TOFU: Podcasts, guides, ebooks, infographics

“Inbound marketing has the potential to develop a brand to become its own medium.”

Gabriel Dabi-Schwebel

Pros of inbound marketing

1. Inexpensive mode of marketing 

Inbound marketing effectively drives high organic traffic by focusing on the right set of customers and developing long-term relationships with them. Inbound marketing is performed by constantly distributing SEO-optimized content on websites and social networks, which is significantly less expensive than traditional marketing.

2. Create a deep relationship with customers

Inbound marketing is all about people-first content, which helps solve people’s problems and forms a deep connection via continuous personalized interactions. This deeper bond increases consumer loyalty to the company, and you become their preferred choice.

3. Create expertise 

Because inbound marketing aims to develop a brand value proposition without invasive approaches, content must deliver tangible value. Through blog articles, case studies, and e-books, inbound marketing establishes your services as authoritative and proves the company’s expertise.

4. Locked route of promotion 

Once you publish the content, it stays on the web for a long time. Quality content tends to gain more traffic and backlinks over time, resulting in a higher SEO ranking. With a refresh and repurpose strategy, you can make old content relevant and ever-ready for current-time targeting. 

Cons of inbound marketing

1. Lengthy process 

Inbound marketing needs time. Forming an inbound marketing plan involves extensive study, and SEO results take time. In contrast to traditional marketing, advertisements are distributed in the blink of an eye, and attention is achieved on the dot. Organic traffic is not a thing for instant gratification seekers.

2. Higher Competition

Inbound marketing success is dependent on the effectiveness of SEO. Although value-driven UX content is significant for hitting the home run in the SEO game, quality alone will not suffice, as only 6% of content ranks on Google’s first page within a year of publication. You must capitalize on your X factor to carve out your own place.

3. Limited reach 

Inbound marketing has always been a warm cup of tea for marketers who are very sure of their targeted audiences and mindsets. And the realm only lies to the known audiences with a limited set of keywords for communications. But how precise can one be in such matters? With an 8 billion population, specific targeting does leave out the possibility of converting some pre-initial staged consumers.

4. Passive Approach 

Inbound market involves two opposite stages. One is where a hefty amount of hours and effort is invested, and the other is taking a backseat and waiting patiently for the results to appear. Inbound marketing results are not as instant as Pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, and you have to serve time to get results. 

Inbound Marketing Examples

Below are the inbound marketing examples for lead generation and loyal sales.  

1. How to guides

A clear and straightforward set of activities geared toward using your product makes the consumers’ journey relatively easier. How to guide allows customers to comprehend your services with less effort, and speeds up the buying decision. 

How-to-guides hosted by Slack.

Slack’s usage of top-funnel content, “How-to-guides,” in its inbound marketing strategy is the best example.

2. Interactive content

Interactive content initiates active involvement from consumers. It not only accumulates customers’ opinions and feedback but also knits a sturdy thread of human connection between customers and the company. 

Interactive content of - inbound vs outbound marketing

Monday makes extensive use of visual elements to create one of the most captivating interactive virtual tours.

3. Short videos

Blogs are a ceaseless component of inbound marketing strategy, but owing to the impact visuals are leaving on their viewers nowadays, short videos are quickly becoming the top choice of marketers.

Short videos startegy of Canva.

Canva’s short video strategy serves winsome and compelling informative user-centric content ensuring brand growth on social media.

Understanding Outbound Marketing

What is outbound marketing? 

Outbound marketing is an extrovert in the corporate world. It does not wait for you to break the ice. Outbound marketing, often known as traditional marketing, is the first to approach and is bolder and more prominent than inbound marketing.


Outbound marketing quests for larger audiences with less effort and a higher budget. It entails continuous displays of your brand messaging via television commercials, radio advertisements, Pay-per-Click ads, cold calls, emails, and so on.

Mediums of Outbond Marketing are television, radio, internet and in-meet - inbound vs outbound marketing


Outbound Marketing does not wait for customers to realize their needs and let them loose to arrive at the solutions by themselves. Outbound marketing is both flashy and consistent. The experts-backed “Marketing rule of 7” also emphasizes the benefits of consistent product messaging display.


The goal of outbound marketing is to build sales upon repetitive engagement targeting the right set of people at the right time. Outbound marketing ensures a broader reach, which increases the likelihood of your company’s speedy growth.

Components of outbound marketing strategy: 

Traditional AdvertisementsPress ReleasesEmail campaigns
Search AdsSocial Media PromotionsEvents

Pros of outbound marketing

1. Quick results 

Executing an outbound marketing strategy takes comparatively less time and effort. It makes the whole process more instantaneous. As soon as the outbound marketing strategy is run, the sooner people become aware of the brand messaging. Consistent targeting very often results in higher conversion rates.

2. No escape 

Outbound marketing allows you to reach a far larger audience than inbound marketing. Television and internet commercials target a broader audience, whereas cold calling and email campaigns establish conversations with clients at the right time. Rightfully, with outbound marketing, there is no escape for people from brand awareness.

3. Active approach 

Not even a speck in the outbound marketing cosmos believes in holding the horses. Outbound marketing is flamboyant in approach and is trusted as a business scaling tool. Outbound marketing actively promotes your brand and services across all mediums, from television to the internet, unlike inbound marketing, where marketers wait for the customers to discover your services. 

4. Easier to implement 

Outbound marketing offers an invitation that intrigues people to arrive at company websites and learn more about the brand. Inbound marketing involves extra hard work to curate in-depth, authoritative content; outbound marketing presents the face of that content thread. 

With automation and integration software, even the residual job can be handled without manual assistance.

Cons of outbound marketing

1. Expensive mode 

Outbound marketing costs are steep in comparison to inbound marketing. Promotional content, such as commercials and events, can only be created with money, and distribution requires further funds. What makes it even more expensive in the business world is its lack of assured returns and temporary presence, as opposed to inbound content.

2. Short life span

Outbound marketing components are either terminated immediately after execution (cold calls) or remain for a very short time (advertisements). In contrast to how blogs pile up in inbound marketing, every new ad in outbound marketing replaces the previous ad. As a result, outbound marketing has a shorter lifetime than inbound marketing. 

3. Intrusive 

Outbound marketing campaigns come across as aggressive in targeting. Customers are sometimes irritated by repetitive earmarking because it is placed while they are not seeking you. Aside from buffering, individuals dislike seeing unsolicited content online, such as advertisements.

4. It comes across as fluffy

The character of inbound marketing establishes authority and credibility, and the interaction is based on active search. While outbound marketing is majorly about sharing a common message across the corners. Outbound marketing is less user-focused and more brand-focused, and with skewed targeting, promotions may sometimes appear as a vicious trick. 

Outbound Marketing Examples 

1. PPC

Pay-per-click adverts are a type of marketing technique that generates revenue when people click on the link in the advertisement. PPC’s medium is search engines, and optimization yields high results at little cost. 

Pay-per-click advertisements by Asana.

The positioning of the Asana PPC advertisement on the keyword of the project management tool is ideal for driving large traffic and producing excellent results.

2. Outbound Email Marketing

It is a proactive email campaign consisting of sales pitching. In this strategy, emails are dropped in the people’s inboxes without their interest or any sign-up. 

Weblium promotional emails are relevant and provide an appropriate balance of knowledge and freebies. 

Promotional Outbound email by Weblium

3. Billboard advertisements

Billboard advertisements ensure higher visibility and leave a greater impression on the audiences. 

Hipchat’s billboard advertisement not only went popular on social media, but it also boosted online searches by 300 percent.

Billboard advertisement by Hipchat.

Inbound vs outbound marketing – How to make both work together? 

The business world is demanding in nature, and behind the exteriority of Inbound vs Outbound, Inbound and Outbound are hitting the mark. 

Here’s how Inbound and Outbound marketing strategies complement one another and function best when used together.

Inbound and outbound complement each other by filling the gaps generated by their respective qualities. Inbound and outbound tactics combined in a marketing plan generate and nurture leads more efficiently.

Outbound first, inbound later

Let the outbound campaign confidently approach the masses, and redirect the inbound content to those who showed interest. Inbound marketing will establish authority and personalize the interaction leading to a better user experience. 

Outbound is instrumental in attracting lead generation whereas inbound marketing enhances the conversion rate.  

Use Inbound as Outbound

Inbound content such as blogs, ebooks, research and reports are a detailed representation of the company’s services and products. Outbound strategies can utilize these heaps of content and scoop out several chunks of content for promotions and retargeting the audiences.  

When an outbound copy can come easily from inbound content, why bend over backward? 

Be impactful, now and forever

Inbound and outbound marketing have different lifespans. The former exists for a longer time period while the latter is for a shorter span.  Allow outbound to ignite a fire for a limited time with exuberant advertisements, and inbound to keep that fire burning by remaining constant at a fixed spot.

Outbound is fine and dandy for initiation and inbound for forming a deep bond.


The combination of inbound and outbound marketing offers the best of both worlds. 

Outbound shows customers the path with fewer efforts and at the most unexpected times, while inbound personalizes the dialogue and improves user experience, making your services more relevant to the targeted audience.

With meaningful content, inbound marketing mitigates the obtrusive and intrusive facets of outbound marketing, making your services appear more legitimate. And because outbound happens with fewer efforts in virtually no time, the inbound approach can work without stress.

Inbound marketing provides detailed assistance and efforts, but the results are cumulative, whereas outbound marketing is brief and simple, yielding immediate benefits.

Inbound and outbound complement each other by filling the gaps generated by their respective qualities. Inbound and outbound tactics combined in a marketing plan generate and nurture leads more efficiently.

Striving to develop an exclusive inbound content strategy that compliments your outbound efforts?

Reach out to our B2B content marketing team today.

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