Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing – What’s More Effective For B2B?

The right marketing mix is the key to a successful business.

It is the building block that essentially grows your company, enabling new and old business owners to attract target customers, gain sizable profits, and expand the business’ prospects.

Now for B2B businesses, one of the best ways to grow your company is through lead generation. And when it comes to lead generation, there are generally two ways to go: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. 

Now, as a B2B owner, what lead generation process should you use?

Which is more effective, inbound marketing or outbound marketing?

Or should you do both?

In this article, you will find what works best for the growth of your business, whether you should favor one way or find the perfect balance between the two.

Microsoft has the following definition of lead generation:

“Lead generation is the process of identifying potential customers for your business or service and guiding them into your sales pipeline. The goal of lead generation is to pre-qualify interested buyers, filling your sales pipeline to help close deals more quickly.”

What is Inbound Marketing?

Imagine arriving home on a late Friday night.

You open the refrigerator to find nothing to qualm the hunger pangs in your stomach. All of a sudden, you remember the food delivery application you came across while perusing social media. 

By the end of the night, you were full from the hot, steaming meal that you had delivered. You were pleased and grateful–you could not wait to share your experience with your friends! The food delivery app had presented itself at the right time.

It was as if someone had known what you needed at that exact moment. 

This is a prime example of how inbound marketing indirectly works.

Now, you may ask yourself, ‘What is inbound marketing?’.

Inbound marketing is a business strategy that captures the interest of potential customers. It primarily caters to the needs of the target audience through creative content and solutions. As a strategic marketing approach, inbound marketing serves to inspire long-term customer relationships with both old and new customers.

The main focal point of inbound marketing is visibility. Instead of seeking customers out, you make the customers come to you. Its overall goal is for businesses to make contact with potential customers, which heightens brand awareness, brand preference, and lead generation. 

Examples of Inbound Marketing

Spending a few minutes of your time on social media increases your chances of being subjected to inbound marketing.

You may not know it, but the random posts that you come across are marketing techniques that encourage you to avail the products or services of a particular business. Although commonly used, social media is not the only tool used as an inbound marketing technique. 

With the help of technology, it has become easier for businesses to utilize inbound marketing. Inbound marketing comes in many forms that most people consume on their devices on a day-to-day basis. Some of these include:

  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • News articles
  • Advertisements
  • Electronic books 
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

Pros and Cons of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has its fair share of positive and negative attributes. Its effectiveness has been proven to benefit both the business and its owners. However, certain factors derail businesses from achieving favorable results. 

One of the benefits of inbound marketing is its effect on the ROI (return on investment) of a company. Many businesses have experienced a drastic ROI increase with the help of this marketing technique. Inbound marketing is also able to generate new leads and promote web traffic toward the business, which helps it grow and progress. 

Using inbound marketing techniques is less costly and more effective than traditional marketing. It is used best with outbound marketing, a marketing technique that continuously seeks to gain the attention of prospective buyers. With inbound marketing, all the work is being done for you by your target customers. However, this also serves as a disadvantage to your business. 

Because inbound marketing simply relies on its potential customers, not every customer it reaches will wish to avail of a business’ services.

Today, it is much more difficult to attract new customers due to the arising competition.  

Another disadvantage of inbound marketing is the considerable amount of time to achieve optimal results, which may span over six months. Results cannot be achieved without having the right core talents and content creators at your disposal. In inbound marketing, the proper content is key. 

What is Outbound Marketing?

While lounging on your sofa, your eyes become attracted to the vibrant colors being portrayed on your television screen. It is currently running an advertisement for the latest branded mobile phone that has recently launched in the market. 

You became intrigued by its sleek design and its rare color. It had many cool features–it was a camera, a computer, and a radio in one device. You sit dejected while glimpsing at your phone that has not been replaced in many years. Its cracked screen and broken buttons made you yearn for the advertised phone. 

After a moment of contemplation, you decide to get up and drive to the nearest phone store, where your new phone awaits. 

The situation is an example of how outbound marketing works and how it captivates its target audience. It was able to properly communicate with the customer while addressing their needs and wants.

Outbound marketing is a marketing technique that creates a targeted message for a large group of people. Some find it loud, continuous, and annoying, but it has been proven to work on its targeted customers. 

Unlike inbound marketing, outbound marketing does not target potential customers by having them discover you. It is a strategy that is rooted on the basis of the greater the message, the greater the customers that you will have.  

Examples of Outbound Marketing

Just like the rest of us, you have been a victim of outbound marketing. One of its most popular forms is television advertisements. Since many people have access to or have televisions, it is easier to discover the products and services provided by a specific company. 

Outbound marketing is not only limited to the confines of a television screen. There are several platforms in which outbound marketing is being utilized. Some examples of outbound marketing are:

  • Radio
  • Events
  • Cold calling
  • Email pitches and spams
  • Billboards
  • Magazine ads
  • Newspaper ads
  • Media buys
  • Pay-per-click advertising

Pros and Cons of Outbound Marketing

For many years, outbound marketing has been utilized by companies as a form of product and service promotion. It is a marketing strategy that most businesses spare no expense on. But, as an established marketing technique, outbound marketing comes with its pros and cons.

One of the benefits of outbound marketing is the promotion of brand awareness. Target customers have little to no trouble accessing the message businesses want to send due to their continuous marketing. Along with that, outbound marketing is able to reach customers who are unfamiliar with what a certain business offers.  

Unlike any other marketing strategy, it provides immediate results. Businesses that utilize outbound marketing enable their audience to gain interest in their provided products, ultimately making a purchase.

Outbound marketing is more costly than any other marketing strategy. The high cost is paired with low yield, which is unfavorable toward the overall business growth and potential profit. Moreover, with outbound marketing, it is extremely cumbersome to track the ROI of a business. 

Today, it has become easier to block numbers and spam emails on your device. Businesses that opt to use outbound marketing experience difficulty disseminating the message of their advertised product and service. 

What is More Effective For B2B Businesses?

The use of both inbound marketing and outbound marketing yields better results for B2B businesses. Each marketing strategy specifically targets the audience through its subtlety, visibility, and constant, reliable messages catered toward the needs and wants of potential customers.   

Inbound marketing encourages customers to discover the business. It is able to pair well with outbound marketing, which relays its marketing to a great number of people. Through these strategies, the number of target customers increases, along with brand promotion and awareness. 

Despite its high cost, outbound marketing garners immediate results. It is much more beneficial for B2B businesses, especially with the low maintenance and budget-friendly advantages of inbound marketing that generate a high return on investment.  

Both marketing strategies not only pair well, but they are able to fill in the limitations that the other has. 

Top 5 Biggest B2B Industries

Inbound and outbound marketing are two marketing strategies that have reaped the rewards and milestones for many businesses. But, other businesses have lacked or overlooked the benefits it offers.

The B2B industry, in particular, lacks the advantageous applications of inbound and outbound marketing. Because it is composed of several different industries, it is difficult to assign a particular industry with the same marketing strategy. 

 

Among the top B2B industries are the following:

  1. Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR)
  2. Medical Marijuana 
  3. Financial technology
  4. Biotechnology
  5. Content marketing

1. Virtual and augmented reality

Virtual reality is a computer-simulated experience that became mainstream in the mid-2010s. It is most often used in gameplay, wherein the user is able to immerse themself in a three-dimensional environment. As of today, there are 171 million virtual reality users in the world. 

Outbound marketing best suits the virtual and augmented industry. Because it focuses solely on an experience, it warrants the assistance of continuous marketing that showcases its applications on business, education, and entertainment.  

2. Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana is a drug made using a cannabis plant. The controversial drug is commonly used by different sectors of society, may it be through clinical research, medical use, or recreational consumption. Although it is considered illegal in many countries, the medical marijuana industry is estimated to have a global market size of $20.47 billion in 2020. 

As a medical drug, there is a limitation on the number of people who can benefit from medical marijuana. In this industry, inbound marketing is the sure way to attract its target audience–through a subtle yet visible marketing strategy. 

3. Financial technology

Financial technology, also known as Fintech, is a rapidly-growing field in the consumer and B2B industry. As of this year, the industry is valued at $179 billion, with around 30,000 start-ups. It is estimated to rise to $213 billion in 2024. 

Target consumers of financial technology have to be constantly engaged, which is why it would complement the strategies of outbound marketing. With the help of social media and other marketing platforms, financial technology will gain more awareness and promotion.

4. Biotechnology

Biotechnology is a branch of science that combines the natural and engineering sciences for its practical use in products and services. In 2020, the biotechnology industry was estimated to have a revenue of $108.2. The multi-billion industry is presumed to reach $727.1 by 2025. 

Compared to other industries, biotechnology businesses have a limited target market. Its target audience is comprised of individuals whose interest lies in science and academia. Thus, it is best that biotechnology companies use inbound marketing strategies.

5. Content marketing

Content marketing is a marketing approach that distributes valuable and timely information and content to its target audience. As a growing domain, the content marketing industry is estimated to be valued at $487.24 from 2021 to 2026. Data shows that its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) will progress to 15.8%. 

Inbound marketing is the most desirable strategy for content marketing industries. It has already been proven as a successful marketing strategy by attracting its target audience through the content it delivers on blogs, videos, and social media posts.

Other Growth Opportunities For B2B

Here are some things you can do too if you want to grow your B2B business:

  1. Start spending time on LinkedIn. If your customers are other businesses, then there is no other place you would want to be. Learn the different ways how you can do LinkedIn marketing for those extra leads.
  2. Let your sales and marketing minds meet. Bring together your sales and marketing groups and let them have a shared direction. This way, you can focus on revenue goals, and everyone is on the same page.
  3. Try to look for funding programs to expand your business. Looking forward to growing your company? Try exploring different business grants in your country.

Takeaway

In today’s time, a business needs to rely on innovation and marketing in order to deliver its products and services to its target audience. Innovation keeps a business ahead of its competition, while marketing ensures that its message is properly distributed to its customers. 

Both innovation and marketing go hand-in-hand in allowing a business to function–one cannot exist without the other. When businesses fail to implement these strategies, they become overtaken by companies that are more innovatively inclined and developed.

Inbound marketing and outbound marketing are two significant marketing strategies that have proven to be an asset to any business. It does not only promote the business, but it continues to attract and target its wanted customers.

With the right marketing techniques, a business can prosper, develop, and multiply in a period of time. The most successful businesses owe it all to the marketing strategies that they have implemented. 


Two Videos

These two educational videos, from our sister channel on YouTube – Marketing Business Network, explains what ‘Inbound Marketing’ and ‘Outbound Marketing’ are using simple and easy-to-understand language and examples.

  • What is Inbound Marketing?

  • What is Outbound Marketing?