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Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: The Ultimate Marketing Battle

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound

Are you wrestling to decide where to spend your marketing dollars? There’s a lot to say for both inbound and outbound marketing. While one has been around for a long time, the other is simply more efficient.

Here are the similarities and differences between inbound and outbound marketing and why you should apply certain tactics of each to your own marketing strategy.

Inbound Marketing 

Inbound marketing is relatively new, but technological developments over the past few years have quickly enabled it to become an incredibly effective marketing strategy.

It’s more efficient.

Inbound marketing is more efficient than outbound marketing primarily because it’s easier to track conversions and cost per lead. 

With today’s technology, it’s much easier to track inbound prospects throughout the buyer’s journey. Tools like CRMs and lead nurture sequences enable marketers to know exactly where their prospects are at any given time. 

It’s cheaper.

Inbound marketing is cheaper than outbound marketing on a cost per lead basis. Instead of having to pay for the copy writing, graphic design, printing, and mailing of a brochure or postcard, inbound marketers only need a content writer and a Shutterstock subscription in order to send out their content to the masses via the internet.

Outbound Marketing

For a long time, outbound marketing was the primary method for getting brand messages out to the public. But have recent marketing developments rendered outbound techniques obsolete?

It’s becoming less effective.

Pre-inbound, outbound was the only way to learn about a company. Marketing messages were primarily found sprawled across billboards, in our physical mailboxes and on our TV screens. But with the advent of inbound, outbound marketing strategies simply aren’t as effective. 

For starters, there are numerous ways to shield consumers from outgoing marketing, and these techniques are only increasing in number. We put spam filters on our inboxes, list our telephone numbers on do not call lists, and record our favorite TV shows so that we can fast forward through the commercials. 

What Inbound and Outbound Have in Common

Despite their differences, inbound and outbound have similar processes and best practices. 

Audience Targeting

Finding out who your audience is and targeting them is important to both inbound and outbound marketing. In order to be cost-effective, outbound marketing has to find where the most likely customers are physically located and amplify their marketing messages there. Similarly, inbound marketers have to find not only where, but also when their target audience is online and make sure their messages are pushed out at the right time. 

Brand Recall 

Both outbound and inbound marketing also need to be adept at promoting brand recall. While traditionally outbound has used jingles and catchphrases to make a product’s name stand out from the competition (think “Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is!”), inbound uses tactics primarily geared at providing the audience with content so valuable that the consumer comes to consider the company an expert in the industry and keeps coming back to the site. 

Keep it Fresh

Marketing messaging, whether promoted via inbound or outbound methods, needs to constantly be updated. By regularly refreshing messages, you’ll maintain the interest of existing customers while simultaneously attracting new ones.


There are a lot of lessons to be learned from both inbound and outbound marketing. While the best bet for some businesses will be a mixture of both, some companies can rely on inbound exclusively. 

See what suits your business best, and get started promoting your business today! As always, we’re here to help.

Run your inbound marketing campaigns like an agency, get organized with the xoombi inbound marketing checklist



Lolly Spindler


Lolly Spindler

Lolly Spindler is the Content Marketing Manager at xoombi. A writer by trade, Lolly loves to make the written word work for clients by delivering high quality, engaging content to their audiences. She leads the xoombi content marketing team in executing demand generation, SEO, and copy editing strategies. Lolly is a graduate of Boston University.


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