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The Truth About Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

By John McTigueMar 29, 2010

It's popular these days to be a thought extremist. You're either on one side or the other. Everything is either black or white. There is no gray. In marketing, you're either into inbound marketing via the Web or you're a traditional PR and advertising fan. Truth is, nobody is right when we're talking about extremes. The truth always lies somewhere in the middle.

What's the argument about?

  • blended inbound and outbound marketingInbound Marketers say that consumers have changed and are no longer willing to accept e-mail blasts and TV ads and any other sort of "push" marketing. The only way to market is by publishing interesting content and building communities online.
  • Traditional Marketers agree that things have changed, but there is still plenty of room for advertising and reaching out to prospective markets via e-mail, TV and radio. They're not against Internet marketing, just the idea that you can never cold call or blast an offer out to millions.

Who's right?

They're both right and here are some key reasons:

  1. While it's trendy to focus on blogging and social media, webinars and videos, marketing companies are still channeling a large proportion of their clients' budgets into traditional media marketing.
  2. There are true synergies to blending inbound and outbound marketing. An example would be a company rolling out a new product and desiring to make a big splash in a short period of time. In this case it makes perfect sense to build a groundswell of brand awareness by establishing social media communities and attracting members via conventional advertising as well as PPC, e-mail marketing, radio, TV, etc. Whatever the budget allows and based on historical click-through rates.
  3. While it's true that inbound marketing can be a highly successful strategy for improving lead conversion, unless you already have a well-known brand, it can take many months to build up a loyal following. Again, blending targeted outbound marketing into social media marketing campaigns can accelerate awareness and growth.
  4. Finally, to think that one size fits all marketing strategies is foolish. Every organization has different marketing needs, and successful companies are quick to adapt to new market conditions. The best overall strategy is one that is flexible enough to consider all kinds of marketing and apply the most appropriate mix for the goals of a campaign.

Are you a marketing extremist, or a chef creating tasty campaigns from a variety of ingredients?

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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