The Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing—And Why it Matters to Your Sales Team

Samir Sampat

Marketing is a critical part of every business strategy. Of course, the marketing umbrella itself also includes several different areas of focus that will need their own strategies to create a dynamic, robust total marketing solution for your business. Understanding the different types of marketing is absolutely relevant for your sales team—just because they’re sales agents doesn’t mean they shouldn’t understand the marketing strategy that is responsible for bringing leads their way. 

The two main types of marketing that every company will have to consider are inbound and outbound marketing. Each has its own pros and cons to consider, as well as its place in your business strategy. For example, you might reach out to customers with outbound marketing as part of a campaign, but you might choose to take the inbound route during the holidays by offering a special deal for those who contact you and request it. 

At their core, the terms “inbound” and “outbound” are fairly self-explanatory. Outbound marketing involves proactive efforts to reach prospects and get their interest and attention. On the other hand, inbound marketing is more about creating and distributing material that attracts people to your business. They’re both required for a successful marketing campaign, and there’s a lot more to it than just this one difference. 

In the article below, you’ll get a chance to look at inbound and outbound marketing, side-by-side and more in-depth, so that you can get the facts and figure out how you’re going to use these strategies for your own business. The marketing landscape is constantly changing and you need to keep up. 

At a glance:


Inbound Marketing

  • Targeted content designed for specific audiences
  • Problem-solving, informative material in the form of blogs, social media posts, webinars, etc. 
  • All messages are tailored to a specific audience or customer base
  • Digital marketing software makes measuring inbound marketing campaigns simple
  • Omnichannel marketing 

Outbound Marketing

  • Generic content delivered to the masses with no customization
  • Displayed via direct mail, TV, billboards, etc. 
  • Limited channels and a linear strategy
  • Messaging has to stand out among an oversaturated market
  • Difficult to measure the contributions of outbound marketing


Inbound marketing


Inbound marketing is a way of attracting business that is becoming much easier and more accessible, thanks largely to the Internet. It’s also far more effective than outbound marketing, in several instances, because it allows you to customize content and deliver a personalized experience that can sway a buyer’s decision in moments. 

You can also use inbound marketing to create a dynamic marketing strategy that draws in audiences of all types from all platforms. Consumers like inbound marketing because it’s not in their face or being shoved down their throat. They appreciate the personalization when they do stumble across ads they can use, too. 

Inbound marketing is educational and creates ongoing success. It is also easily quantifiable, which means you can measure your success (or find strategies that need a little tweaking) as you go. You don’t have to rely on crossing your fingers that things get better. It does require more maintenance and effort than outbound marketing, but for all the effort, you get an impressive list of returns. 

A holistic strategy that uses omnichannel marketing is going to be the key to success here. Digital tools are a big part of modern marketing efforts and they will help you get more out of your own campaigns when you are getting started. You may need to spend more time reviewing and updating content, but that will give you a chance to reconsider your material and make sure that your brand maintains a consistent image. 


Outbound marketing


Outbound marketing is like throwing a net in the lake and hoping to catch at least a handful of fish in the process. Instead of casting a targeted line, most outbound marketing efforts are catered to the masses—billboards, newspaper ads, and even online Google ads are just a few examples of types of outbound marketing that are used. 

There are several perks to be had from outbound marketing, too, even though it’s less directional than inbound marketing. It helps promote brand awareness and gives you the chance to encounter people who may not have heard of your company before. It also allows you to get instant results because people who see ads like this typically take quick action. 

A lot of consumers are also already accustomed to outbound marketing. Therefore, they may trust these types of advertisements better than others. It can be more difficult to get outbound marketing to be appealing and relevant because it’s more generalized, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Consumers are also well-versed in tuning out many types of outbound marketing. 

The other big drawback here is that it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of some of the outbound campaigns that you create and yet, they can also be quite costly. Therefore, while this should be part of your strategy, you’ll need to decide how much you can really afford to spend here and whether inbound marketing might be the better choice. 


Free up your time when you let the team at Smith.ai handle all of your marketing efforts


Inbound, outbound, it doesn’t matter—it all takes time. And that’s valuable time that you could be spending on warm leads, existing customers, and prospects that are already further in the buying journey than those with whom you’re making first contact. Instead, you can rely on the dedicated agents at Smith.ai for all of your inbound and outbound calling needs. 

Along with our virtual receptionist services (like after-hours call answering and live website chat support), we can help manage your inbound and outbound calls and handle all kinds of outreach needs for your business. Plus, we’ll help you create a strategy to keep it all streamlined, too. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do to help your marketing and more. You will also find us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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