What’s the Difference? Understanding Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Are We Starting a Conversation?

When it comes to communications, you may think of it this way: Who is doing the talking and who is doing the listening?

This frames your communications efforts in terms of marketer and audience. However, there are multiple layers to our marketing communications. We may be emailing, blogging, tweeting, or cold calling, among other communications. 

That’s why it’s important to understand fundamentals like inbound and outbound marketing.

Inbound vs. Outbound

Let’s define each type of marketing:

  • Inbound Marketing creates a two-way conversation where a company or organization can engage with their audience (and their audience can engage back). Today’s consumers are savvy, creative, and engaged. Social media platforms and the web make it easy for inbound marketing to thrive.
  • Outbound Marketing is a one-way form of engagement. This is your more traditional broadcast and print advertising. Much as the name suggests, it goes out into the world—a print postcard delivered to a mailbox, a flyer published in a newspaper, an advertisement heard on the radio, a table display at a trade show.

Is One Type Better? 

Most organizations use a combination of inbound and outbound marketing, although inbound can yield greater results. (Think of it this way: We want to be talked to, not told what to do.) That doesn’t mean one type is better. Think about your needs and audience, and that will help you tailor your efforts.

Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t want, inbound marketing forms connections they’re looking for and solves problems they already have.

Source: What Is Inbound Marketing?

Whether writing a blog post, producing a podcast, or asking questions on social media, such formats leave room for others to share, reply and continue the conversation. However, be conscious that not all comments may be conversations.

If you are concerned about directing audiences to engage only on specific platforms, you may not want to leave comments open on your blog. Instead, encourage them to engage on Facebook or your preferred platform for community conversations.

This is also a good reminder to have a solid social media policy, for both internal and external users. With it, your followers and community members know the dos and don’ts of interacting with your brand online, and what kind of comments will not be accepted.

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