Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
At Genusync, we talk a lot about Inbound marketing – and we mean a lot! Our website, services, and process are built around the Inbound marketing methodology. But what exactly is Inbound marketing and how is it different from outbound marketing?
This post breaks down what, in our opinion, are the top 5 differences between Inbound Marketing (pull marketing) and Outbound Marketing (push marketing).
1. The masses vs. the few
Traditionally (before the Internet) marketing was about getting your message out to as many people as possible, referred to as mass marketing (or push marketing, like this Penguin is doing).
This was before marketers and advertising agencies had access to what has since become one of the greatest market research tools ever – the Internet. Now, with sites such as Facebook and Google tracking everything about its users, it’s possible to target specific demographics, geographic areas, and using the example of Facebook, social graphic information such as personal interests and “Likes” with marketing messages and pull them to your brand with offers that appeal to the types of people you are engaging with. This is Inbound marketing!
For marketers, this means the ability to target people with a level of certainty who you know either like or follow your company online and are much more likely to purchase from you than a consumer-targeted via mass marketing channels, resulting in a larger return-on-investment from your marketing campaigns.
2. Inbound marketing is a process
The importance here is placed on all Inbound marketing tactics – whether it be search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, social media etc – working together as a cohesive process, rather than just a few of these tactics working alone. When these tactics work together as a process, it allows you to:
- Attract strangers to your website (as visitors)
- Convert your visitors to leads
- Work with sales to Close the leads into customers
- Retain happy, engaged customers
The end result is a process that enables marketers to work with their sales teams and provide them with higher quality leads from their marketing efforts.
3. Content is King
Content has always been King but the way it is used today with attracting people to your business has changed. Previously content was all about evoking feelings from an advertisement that would (hopefully) convince a consumer to purchase your product. Now, in an online world content is necessary to support social media and search engine optimization. Without content, the use of social media will provide little benefit to your business.
Additionally, search engines place importance on websites that generate content and will rank them higher in the search engines if they are regularly generating fresh, engaging content. Inbound marketing is all about attracting – pulling visitors – to your website. Simply doing search engine optimization once and leaving it will not provide the benefits you are looking for. Content needs to be updated on a regular basis so you can continue to rank for keywords and pull additional visitors to your website who may be looking for your services.
With social media, if you continuously retweet other companies and do not provide useful content that is helpful to your followers, they will go elsewhere to find the content they are looking for. If you are considering the Inbound marketing methodology for your business, you need to look at your content marketing strategy and ensure it can support your business goals.
4. Marketing is the matchmaker but Sales needs to do the dating
The relationship between Sales and Marketing has always been delicate. Sales have been known to refer to Marketing as the “Arts and Crafts Department” while Marketing has been guilty of referring to Sales as “Cold-Calling Quota Freaks”. This relationship always leaves one department – or both – in a huff about the other.
Deploying an Inbound Marketing approach in your company will require a shift in the thinking of these two teams – and how they work together. Marketing can drive leads all day but if Sales isn’t following up with them, those leads will not do any good for your business.
And if Marketing is driving poor quality leads, Sales isn’t going to want to follow up with them, nor should they. Get these two departments on the same team now! Set up a weekly meeting between Marketing and Sales to discuss the quality of leads and assess if the message Marketing is putting out are in line with how Sales is talking to prospects.
Brainstorm topics together that will get everyone on the same page and working together to attract the leads that everyone in the business is looking for.
5. Closed-Loop Reporting
Reporting on marketing performance in the past was hard. Gone are the days where $1.00 could be spent and stakeholders not know exactly how much of a return-on-investment that spend resulted in.
The Internet has enabled marketers to track, down to the dollar, how many leads, customers and visitors their marketing spend have resulted in.
When you combine the power of the Internet with a customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce.com, and marketing automation software such as HubSpot, you have a closed-loop reporting system that shows exactly the ROI your marketing has resulted in, how much each customer cost to acquire, and how much revenue is in the pipe as a direct result of marketing’s efforts. No guessing!
How will your organization make the shift to Inbound marketing?