The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

June 9, 2015 / by Paige Gilbert

little_girl_drinking_chocolate_milkHot or cold. Bitter or sweet. Day or night. Happy or sad. Friend or foe. Sometimes we tend to see our world in absolutes – black or white. But we know there is plenty of gray area to make us question it all. In the marketing world, inbound and outbound marketing is one of those areas. While neither is absolutely good or evil, it’s how you use it that makes all the difference.

The main difference between inbound and outbound marketing is how you are targeting your potential customers.

Outbound marketing – also known as “interruptive marketing” pushes messages toward people using various mediums.

Inbound marketing – sometimes used synonymously with online marketing– draws people in by providing helpful content at the center of a holistic online strategy.

You might enjoy a mug of hot chocolate in the winter and a tall, cold chocolate milkshake in the summer – but both are chocolate and both are satisfying a need. Inbound and outbound are both ways to market your business by giving people what they want or need, but you use them differently.

Outbound marketing uses traditional marketing techniques that you have no choice to see and hear:

  • Billboards
  • Print Ads
  • Radio Spots
  • TV Commercials
  • Direct Mail

For example, you’re driving home after work, hear an ad for Burger King and see a billboard for McDonald’s. Suddenly, you’re interrupted by the craving for a burger and fries.

Inbound marketing uses online marketing techniques that you choose to see and hear:

  • Websites
  • Blog Articles
  • Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Email Campaigns
  • Online Video
  • Social Media

For example, you’re sitting at home, trying to decide what to have for dinner. You search online for “best burgers in town” (because for some reason that’s what really sounds good for dinner), you click on the link for a new local burger place and are taken to its website.

While you’re there, you can choose to download an eBook offering you free burger recipes, read the blog about the latest happenings at the joint, sign up to have weekly coupons emailed to you, or “Like” the Facebook page. All of these are inbound marketing solutions designed to be helpful and give you what you want.

These two marketing methods aren’t black and white. There is plenty of gray area and places where they can overlap or be used in tandem with one another. Because sometimes, you don’t want hot chocolate or a frozen milkshake. You want a cold glass of chocolate milk. This is when a company like Half a Bubble Out can help you determine the best inbound and outbound marketing strategy to use for your small business.

If you’d like to learn more, contact us for a free marketing assessment below!

Contact us today to see how we can help

Since 2002, Half a Bubble Out has been dedicated to providing marketing, advertising and small business consulting that meet the needs of our clients. We specialize in powerfully telling stories through Inbound Marketing to grow your business filled with more passion and provision. Based in Chico California, we serve clients throughout Northern California and across the country to New York.  

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Traditional Marketing, Marketing

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