If you google “marketing” chances are that you will not have to look for too long before you find a search result with the word “inbound” added to the originally requested term. If you get curious at this point and try to find out what “inbound” stands for, you will find a lot of explanations starting with “unlike outbound”. So, what is going on here?
No matter how unfamiliar you are with the term “outbound marketing”, you certainly are familiar with the method. Outbound marketing is the method of advertising products reaching out to consumers through media advertising (TV or radio adverts, out-of-the-blue emails, direct emailing) as well as through in-person contact (the traveling salesman, the brochure-wielding do-you-have-a-minute people). This is where the “out” part of the name comes from; the way of reaching customers is reaching out to them and showing them how cool, hip, useful and life-changing the product is. This is how outbound marketing looks:
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is the less conspicuous, and less annoying, type of marketing that has risen to prominence together with the rise of the internet. As it can be guessed from the name, inbound marketing works in the opposite direction from the outbound. Here, the goal is to present the content, product or service in such a way that the customer finds it appealing and useful. Companies and agencies are not trying to convince the customer of the revolutionary nature of their product, but instead produce high-quality information aimed to teach, educate, explain and bring a real value to the table.
The techniques that inbound marketers use are:
- Video streaming (especially becoming popular now)
- Creating and sharing infographics
- Engaging followers through social media.
- Lead nurturing
- Marketing automation
Most of these techniques work in such a way that they help to educate the customer about the product or the service that the company is providing.
Since inbound marketing seems a better option, let’s check out how successful it really is. The first clue is that close to 30%  of marketers find outbound marketing outdated and overestimated.
Whether they knew it or not, but customers as well seem to prefer inbound marketing techniques much, much more.
According to the 2014 report  – and the listed numbers only kept growing as inbound kept growing too – around 60% of customers reported preferring companies that produce custom content and as much as 70% of potential prospects would much rather find out about a product or a service through a collection of articles rather than adverts. Bear in mind that here we are talking about a collection of articles, not one or two; apparently, people would much rather take their time to do their research than sit through a 20-second radio or TV advert. These trends are also strong in the world of B2B marketing as those companies that opt for inbound techniques, such as blogging, for example, generate 62% more leads. All things considered, the case for inbound seems pretty strong.
But who does all the work?
Before you tell yourself “Easy-peasy, I can blog here and there,” stop for a moment and continue reading. Effective inbound marketing happens when businesses combine their own resources with an inbound marketing agency or an inbound marketing consultant. With this in mind, it is not surprising that as much as 62% of businesses outsource their content marketing efforts to agencies or freelance inbound marketing consultants. Around a half of businesses combine outsourcing and their own efforts to get the desirable result while 10% leave to someone else to do their complete marketing work . While these numbers say a lot on their own, they certainly do not paint the whole picture. What is that an inbound marketing agency or an inbound or freelance marketing consultant does that makes them kinda necessary? Well. they deliver the point.
Feeling thirsty? That’s the point!
Inbound marketing is very time-consuming. An average marketer usually produces one piece of content on a daily basis . But content production is far from the only activity. Every piece of content is created based on market research and monitoring many metrics that give away how well the current business efforts are going. These metrics range from the obvious such as tracking daily visitors on a website, checking the number of likes, tweets or comments on the social media to some nitty-gritty details such as tracking the rate of spam responses during email campaigns, monitoring posting times, running A/B testing, optimizing conversion and calculation how marketing efforts actually result in financial gain for the business.
Although the list of services provided by an inbound marketing agency or an inbound marketing consultant does not end here, adding all these obligations to existing business tasks can be overwhelming. By not engaging with a freelance marketing consultant who could do some of the listed above, you may produce content that doesn’t have a clear strategy or approach. Again, this is not an outsource-or-die warning, but rather a suggestion.
To summarize, outbound marketing is still around for some time, but frankly, inbound marketing is more effective and much cheaper when it comes to lead conversion.