Inbound and Outbound Marketing: Can’t We Just All Get Along?


Sometimes we take positions in life that are diametrically opposed to one another.  For football fans, you’re either a Broncos fan or a Raiders fan—A Green Bay Packers fan or a Bears fan. When it comes to popular music, you either like rap or you think it’s the worst thing to come along in the history of music. There just isn’t much middle ground.

In the marketing world there seems to be a similar division between inbound marketing and (traditional) outbound marketing. Because they come from very different philosophies they seem incompatible. Inbound marketing pulls prospects in to hear your message by offering them information they want to hear—when and how they want to hear it. Outbound is more invasive—you push your message out to prospects. You determine what is said and when and how it’s said.

Inbound relies on technologies such as websites, blogs, and social media. Outbound employs technologies such as mail, television, radio, and print media. The two approaches are incompatible—right?

That’s not necessarily so. Often you need both if you want to get your message across. There are times when you might need to be a bit invasive to get the attention of a prospect who doesn’t even know you exist. We’ve even published a free downloadable eBook (Push and Pull Marketing—Why You Need Both) that goes into more detail about this.

Even HubSpot—the pioneer and outspoken champion of Inbound Marketing—recently talked about the fact that advertising (a distinctly outbound form of marketing) can be extremely valuable when it’s done well and integrated with your Inbound efforts (Click here to read what they had to say).

Here’s the bottom line: Marketing success is not about ideology or platforms or formats. It’s about providing quality content and usefulness and delivering the information your prospects need to meet their specific needs.

You don’t have to abandon all your traditional marketing methods (direct mail, print ads, conventional media) just to be “current.” But you do need to rethink how you do them and what you’re trying to accomplish. What you’re pushing is no longer a sale, but an opportunity for your prospect to have his or her questions answered in order to make an informed decision.

That’s how Inbound and Outbound marketing can get along.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing