Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: July 04, 2023


Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

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Inbound and outbound are two distinct forms of marketing strategies. While the terms might be unfamiliar to individuals not working in companies or as salespersons, the methods might be familiar to all. In this digital age, most of us come across both inbound and outbound marketing daily. We might even have engaged in the marketing strategies without being aware of it. If you have ever shared content on social media platforms promoting a particular product, then you have done marketing.

Sharing and promoting content using social media platforms is part of inbound marketing. On the other hand, sharing and promoting content through television and newspaper advertisements is part of outbound marketing.  Companies make use of both marketing strategies to promote their goods and services.   

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound and outbound marketing are different methods of marketing. The main difference between the two methods exists in the initiation step. In inbound marketing, the marketer shares their products and information on their websites or video channels. The customer searches for and finds the content they need. The marketer does not take any proactive action to find the customers and convince them to purchase the product or service. Inbound marketing is a passive form of marketing. The content aims at a specific population. The delivery of information is continuous and repetitive. There are many analytical tools to help find and create content for your target population. Inbound marketing follows a two-way communication approach where the marketer shares content information and the consumer shares feedback. This method is comparatively inexpensive. The different methods of inbound marketing are blogs, websites, podcasts, video channels, social media, guidebooks, e-newspapers, and e-books.

In outbound marketing, the marketer takes the first step to reach the public and convince them to buy their products. Outbound marketers actively go after potential customers. It is an aggressive form of marketing. The content for outbound marketing focuses on a massive population. The delivery of information is intermittent and varied. There are no available analytical tools that can help marketers to create curated content. Outbound marketing has a one-way communication approach. The marketers share content but receive no feedback. It is comparatively expensive to use outbound marketing methods. Outbound marketing methods use public services, like billboards, television channels, newspaper advertisements etc. The customers do not have to search for the products.  

Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonInbound MarketingOutbound Marketing
What it isProactive form of marketingReactive form of marketing
FormatSocial media posts, webinars, blogs, reportsDirect mail, TV advertisement, magazine ads
ApproachSubtle, customer-centricAggressive, company-centric
Intended AudienceSmall precise groupWidespread group
StrategyAll-encompassingLinear strategy
MeasurementIt can be measured using digital marketing softwareComparatively difficult to measure physical forms of outbound marketing
DeliveryContinuous and repetitiveIntermittent and varied
Customer actionCustomers are in control and choose youYou seek out customers
AnalyticsAnalytic tools for finding content are availableNo analytic tools are available
CommunicationTwo-way communication between consumers and marketersOne-way communication
EmphasisEmphasis is on creating Quality content; creating content for specific populations.Emphasis is on quantity. Creating and delivering content to the masses.
FormsDifferent methods are Blogs, websites, podcasts, video channels, social media, guidebooks, e-newspapers, and e-books.Different methods are television, newspapers, billboards, radio, cold calling, direct mail, etc.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a form of reactive marketing. It involves creating and sharing valuable content to draw customers towards your product. The marketer shares advertisements or content about their products on their websites, blogs, video channels etc. Whenever consumers want to purchase something, they will do online research. This way consumers will come across the different products. In simple terms, the customers will take action to search for a product and find them.

Outbound marketing shares content capable of connecting with consumers. They make this connection by creating content, which is relevant to the particular group and focuses on their experiences. The content messages of the inbound market are educational, entertaining, exceptional, and appealing. One example of inbound marketing is paid search advertising.

Inbound marketing has two-way communication between the marketer and the consumer. The marketer shares information about their products and the consumer shares their feedback.

Methods To Carry Out Inbound Marketing

In the current era, more consumers prefer online shopping compared to offline shopping. People like to go online and do research before finalising which product to buy. Hence, using online platforms for marketing is greatly useful to promote your products and gain consumers. Some platforms you can utilize are as follows,

  • Blogs- Sharing product information through blogs is an effective method to gather readers. A short and informative blog will attract users who prefer to read on the go.
  • Social Media: Inbound marketing involves sharing and promoting products using social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  • Video Content- People likes to browse video content in their free time to relax. It is an effective way to share your products. This method is gaining popularity in the current period.
  • Podcast: Podcast help share information through digital audio files. Podcast listeners can download audio files or listen to them online. People can listen to podcasts when they are relaxing, travelling to work, or doing housework.  
  • Guidebooks- Preparing and sharing guidebooks can attract a specific consumer group.
  • E-newsletter and e-books: This method involves sharing information online using e-newspapers or e-books.

Inbound Marketing Techniques

  • Search Engine Optimization: SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization. It refers to optimising the web to make your website or content appear on the first page of search engines. If your website is on the first page, there is a higher chance that the consumers will visit it.
  • RSS: RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. It is a content distribution method. RSS feeds help marketers to publish notifications about new content. Consumers can simply open the RSS feed on a particular website and read all their newer posts.
  • Viral Marketing: Viral marketing happens when the public shares information about your content. The people you target organically generate and share your content with others.
  • Pay-per-click advertisements: PPC is the acronym for pay-per-click marketing. In pay-per-click method, you advertise your content on various websites and pay a fee whenever someone clicks on your advertisement.

Properties of Inbound Marketing

  • Developing valuable content: Inbound marketing focuses on creating valuable and needed content for their audience.
  • Attracting prospective consumers: The reasoning behind inbound marketing is to let the customers come to them. Marketers use many tools and methods to make their content appealing to the customers.
  • Helpfulness: In today's world, a good number of customers prefer to research products online before making a purchase. Inbound marketing helps such potential buyers by providing them with the needed information about products.
  • Matching content with interests: Inbound marketing method focuses on creating content that matches the current interests of the public.
  • Cost-effective method: Compared to outbound marketing, inbound marketing is cost-effective. Inbound marketing uses online methods that require no additional expenses. Online platforms like Twitter and Instagram are free and sharing information on them does not cost the marketer anything. Blogs and websites require payment, but they are still cheaper than outbound methods.

Advantages of Inbound Marketing

  • It is a non-aggressive method: Inbound marketing does not overwhelm users with numerous advertisements on every platform available. It takes a more subtle approach, the users are in control of the information they see. They can decide to read blogs or watch videos when they have time.
  • It imparts important information about the content: It provides essential information about the content. Consumers have access to all necessary knowledge about the product.
  • It is quantifiable: the effects of inbound marketing are observable information. You can track the progress or regression of your marketing strategies.

Disadvantages of Inbound Marketing

  • Maintenance requirement: It needs regular monitoring and improvement according to changing consumer needs and trends.
  • Time-consuming: It uses a trial and error method, developing and testing out different strategies to find out which one works best. Finding the perfect strategy appealing to customers requires considerable time and energy.
  • It requires the marketer to use a holistic approach. It requires the use of specific tools for implementation. 

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is a form of proactive marketing. In this form of marketing, the marketer takes action first. It involves actively contacting and connecting with customers to draw them towards your product. It broadcast information to a vast number of people. The content does not focus on certain groups, but the general population as a whole. The reasoning behind outbound marketing is, the more consumers you reach, the more sales you can make. Some examples of outbound marketing are television and newspaper advertisements.

Outbound marketing has one-way communication. The marketer shares the information they want, but there are no replies collected from the customers.

Methods To Carry Out Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing uses traditional methods to share information about products. Some methods are as follows,

  • Direct Mail: You can send mail to a vast number of people.
  • Events: This involves conducting conferences, seminars, trade shows, etc. to bring more people in.
  • Billboards: Advertisements in the form of billboards are effective. 
  • Cold Calling: It involves making phone calls to the masses, informing them about a product.
  • Newspapers: Taking out advertisement pages in newspapers is an effective method to inform people about your products. 
  • Radio: It involves giving advertisements using the radio. Radios are outdated in this era. Hence, they are not a preferred method anymore.
  • TV: Televisions are a perfect tool to share information about your products. A great number of people watch television, so you can reach more people at once.

Advantages of Outbound Marketing

  • Advocate brand awareness: The widespread approach means outbound marketing can reach more people.
  • Instant Results: If the products seem appealing to the prospective consumer, they usually take immediate action and purchase your product.
  • Habitual: Outbound marketing methods have been in use for decades, and people are used to seeing them. Hence, people are more trusting of them compared to inbound marketing methods.

Disadvantages of Outbound Marketing

  • Over Generalized: Outbound marketing targets a massive population. They cannot create content specific to different groups. Hence, the advertisements may speak to certain populations, but other population groups may ignore them.
  • Difficult to gain attention: People are used to seeing advertisements on televisions, billboards etc. They are not novel experiences anymore. Hence, consumers tune out when they see an advertisement. They will change channels when a television advertisement comes on, fail to read newspaper advertisements, hang up on cold-calling telemarketers, etc. It is difficult to create content that can attract and engage a consumer.
  • Not easily quantifiable: Outbound marketing methods are difficult to measure. You do not know how many people have seen billboard, television or newspaper advertisements. It is also difficult to know which one of them made an impact and convinced a consumer to make a purchase.  
  • Expensive: Outbound marketing methods are expensive. Whether it is purchasing billboards, television slots, or newspaper columns, it costs money.

Main Differences between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing (in Points)

  • Inbound marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on creating quality content for a specific population. Outbound marketing is a form of marketing focusing on sharing content with as great a population as possible.
  • In inbound marketing, the customers take the initiative to visit your website or channel. In outbound marketing, the marketer purposely goes after potential consumers.
  • In inbound marketing, the marketer takes on a passive approach. While in outbound marketing, the marketers take on an active approach.
  • Inbound marketing is customer-centric. Outbound marketing is company-centric.
  • Inbound marketing uses newer methods to share information, like blogs, websites, video channels, podcasts etc. Outbound marketing uses traditional methods like television and newspaper advertisements, radio advertisements, cold calling, billboards etc.
  • Inbound marketing uses educational messages. Outbound marketing uses broad messages.
  • In inbound marketing, content delivery is continuous and repeated. Outbound marketing content delivery is intermittent and varied.
  • Data from inbound marketing is easily quantifiable. It is difficult to measure the progress of outbound marketing methods.
  • Inbound marketing uses many analytics and tools to find the right content for their target population. Outbound marketing has no such tools to help find the right content.
  • Inbound marketers often get their expected outcome. Outbound marketers receive results according to their efforts in promoting their services. Their results depend on how many people they were able to reach.
  • Inbound marketing has two-way communication between the marketer and the consumer. The marketer shares information about their products and the consumer shares their feedback. Outbound marketing has one-way communication. The marketer shares the content they want but doesn't collect customers' feedback. 
  • Inbound marketing is cost-effective as it uses only online platforms. Outbound marketing methods like billboards, television and newspaper advertisements are expensive.


To sum up, inbound and outbound are marketing strategies. Inbound marketing uses newer and current methods to share content, while outbound marketing uses traditional methods. You can choose between inbound and outbound marketing. When you have a tight budget and want to target only a specific audience, you can pick inbound marketing. On the contrary, if you have a big budget and want to reach the public without distinction, use outbound marketing methods.


  • https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/inbound-vs-outbound
  • https://sproutsocial.com/insights/viral-marketing/


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"Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Jul. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-inbound-and-outbound-marketing>.

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