For those who spend a great part of their lives on the internet, “inbound marketing” is another facet of their day-to-day existence. Every time they “like” a brand on Facebook or “follow” a company on Twitter, these people are giving those companies tacit permission to market to them. Sixteen years ago Seth Godin published Permission Marketing. Today, the field of marketing is a two-way communication between companies and consumers. But outbound marketing is alive and well, and without it, inbound marketing would not survive.
Outbound Marketing is Alive and Well
Outbound marketing is not dead. Magazines still carry full-page ads. Commercials continue to be ubiquitous on the TV. Billboards still display everything from scantily clad gods and goddesses, to beautifully stylized bottles of vodka, and, in the right markets, bilingual displays for beer or financial services. And, as anyone with a home address in the US knows, (mostly? unwanted) direct mail is not going away soon.
Inbound Marketing Means New Duties
Marketers are now responsible for a whole host of new duties besides the old ones, thanks to inbound marketing. Attracting customers, that is, having customers come to a company instead of the company going to them, isn’t inexpensive or easy. Producing entertaining, engaging blogs, videos, eBooks, eNewsletters, and other content is crucial to inbound marketing. As Eric Murphy states in his article Today’s Biggest Content Marketing Challenge (And How to Overcome It) “content marketing is a quality game, not a quantity game.” In inbound marketing, consumers vote with their mouse (or with a swipe on their mobile screens). If the content is boring them, or not directly addressing their specific needs or concerns, they simply move on.
The Best of Both Worlds
But as successful and useful as inbound marketing is, outbound marketing still has a crucial role to play. In fact, only about a quarter of the average marketing budget is spent on content marketing. A customer first has to know a brand exists; then they can research or follow the brand. Yes, outbound marketing can be expensive and inefficient, but when used with inbound marketing, it is well worth it. As David Crane’s says in his post, companies are most successful when they “leverage the same persona-based, educational content concepts employed in inbound, but deliver [it] via outbound channels, especially through the use of media partners that have niche, highly engaged audiences that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to attract”.
Marketers in 2015 need to be well versed in both inbound and outbound marketing practices, finding ways to blend the best of both worlds to produce cohesive, targeted campaigns that deliver results.