Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing - Is Outbound Marketing Dead?


Marketing tactics to consumers and clients are changing rapidly. It’s not about asking, “Hey, do you want to buy this product or use these services?” Marketing is now making sure that target customers come across your products or services when they are looking for them and are ready to purchase. Marketing is no longer about hunting down customers, but more about making the customers come to you.

Is Outbound Marketing Dead?

Outbound marketing tactics (hunting down customers) such as cold calling, exhibition stands, mass leaflet drops and radio/TV advertising are expensive and looking out of place.
Here’s the proof: Honestly answer these questions below...

1. When was the last time you answered a sales cold call such as a PPI call?

2. When was the last time you actually opened a sales email?

3. When was the last time you actually took time out to go through a flyer that you found in your letter box at work or home?

4. When was the last time you paid attention to an advert on a billboard whilst driving in your car?

If you answered these questions honestly, I’m going to say that, just like me, you answered never or can’t remember! 

This is the biggest problem outbound marketing has, consumers just switch off to these intrusive messages. People have always hated being marketed to, and in recent years they have been able to tune out more and more unwanted marketing messages. A study conducted recently showed that we are exposed to over 3,000 marketing messages a day! How many of those do we remember before we go to bed at night?

A big reason why outbound marketing is a dying marketing tactic is not just that we switch off mentally to these forms of marketing but we also switch off using technology.

Here’s why:

  • In car personal music devices has made radio adverts conversion rates plummet.
  • We have the ability to add ourselves to online do not mail lists.Making mass leaflets drops a thing of the past. 
  • Pop up blockers on internet browsers are now common place. 
  • Ability to pause live TV using set top boxes, gives consumers the power to skip adverts on TV.

The Inbound Way

With inbound marketing you are moving on from old “push” or “interrupt” outbound marketing tactics, to the modern “attraction” or “pull” inbound marketing. Our partners at Hubspot produce the “State of Inbound Marketing Report” each year and the facts in these reports back up that outbound marketing is dying and Inbound is here to stay.

  • According to marketers, the average cost per lead is 61% lower via inbound marketing as compared to outbound marketing.
  • Average website conversion rates more than double with inbound marketing.
  • Inbound marketing provides 45% of leads. That's more than double the leads from outbound.

To find out more on the Hubspot “state of inbound marketing report” please read this article: Insights into Hubspot - State of Inbound Report

These stats and figures make a strong case for outbound marketing’s dismissal. Companies are seeing a large upsurge in sales with inbound marketing, something that they couldn’t achieve with cold calls and leaflet drops. 

The increasing power of inbound marketing is because it responds to the changing way that people want to research purchases and make buying decisions. Take buying a car for example, when we wanted to buy a car we had to make a trip to the dealership or garage to get the information we required on the car such as price, specifications, mpg etc. At that point, the sales person would come over and influence you into taking a test drive and ultimately trying to persuade you into a buying decision. The reason this worked in the past is because the sales person had the all power, since they had all the information on the car.

Now using the Internet, buyers can research the product without having to first go to the seller. Before even stepping foot in a dealership, the car buyer can research what options are available, the selling price (and the dealer’s price), reviews, safety data and any other information they require. Having the ability to research information at their own pace in forums, review websites and online databases such as auto trader, now gives the buyer all the information they require to make a buying decision. 

To find out more about what your inbound marketing plan needs to include. Read this article: Improve your Inbound Marketing and Increase Sales: 6 Tips for your Inbound Marketing Campaign

The Verdict

The debate of Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing will rumble on for years to come. People are more receptive to inbound strategies and find certain outbound tactics annoying and intrusive. Outbound marketing does have a place in a marketing plan, but it is clear to see that inbound marketing should take over as the dominant tactic when developing a marketing plan. This will enable you as a business to reach more leads at the fraction of the cost of outbound marketing.


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Article by Dale Bonser