Is Outbound Marketing Dead?

To riff on the classic Mark Twain quote, reports of the death of outbound marketing have been greatly exaggerated.

That’s right. Outbound marketing, which refers to messages sent out to an audience such as TV, cold-calling, email, direct mail and paid search, is alive and well. 

How is that possible, when outbound’s counterpart, inbound marketing, has grown by leaps and bounds and is hailed as the future of marketing? According to one report, 3 out of 4 marketers across the globe now prioritize an inbound approach to marketing, which focuses on providing relevant, valuable online content to prospects through landing pages, SEO and social media. For years, the pendulum has been shifting toward inbound.

But that doesn’t mean anyone is holding a funeral for outbound marketing. It’s true that most marketers realize that mass-marketing tactics, with no thought to relevancy or personalization, simply don’t work. But today’s B2B products and services have long, complex sales cycles, often with multiple decision-makers. Sales teams need leads that are ready to buy, but inbound content may not always be enough to build relationships and qualify leads.

Thoughtful, targeted data-driven outbound marketing may be just the ticket to bridge the gap. If your outbound strategies are customer-centric and tightly integrated with your inbound content strategy, your marketing can improve dramatically: For instance, a recent survey of 1,000 IT executives found that 75% of those surveyed had elected to attend an event or take an appointment after receiving a cold call or email.

The fact is, today’s marketing is no longer about either inbound or outbound. Neither effort is exclusive of each other. Instead, they can work synergistically to nurture prospects and drive sales.   

Integrate inbound with outbound for a strategic boost

Inbound marketing plays an increasingly important role in nearly every marketer’s plan. That means you’ve created some great, useful content that draws prospects to your website, whether it’s a solid blog, an e-Book or a webinar.

Now, imagine combining that chock-full-of-good-stuff content with tried-and-true outbound marketing tactics. For example, you might reach out to a contact at a trade show; send an email to a targeted list of prospects, or advertise about a new white paper. That doesn’t mean your targets will immediately pick up the phone and place an order; instead, they may slowly come on board thanks to your best inbound marketing efforts. They might visit your website; read your content; download your whitepaper and, after you send a follow-up, set up a phone call.

That is the power of outbound and inbound marketing working together to bring prospects closer and turn them into sales-ready leads that are sure to close. The result? A well-rounded strategy that works.

How to create inbound/outbound marketing harmony

So how do organizations bring inbound and outbound marketing together so both can thrive and help their company succeed?

  • Insights are essential. The right marketing automation platform can help you get the reporting and analytics you need to understand your customers and how they are consuming your content. In addition, you’ll gain powerful insights into how to fine-tune your outbound campaigns for maximum engagement and impact.
  • Keep your tone consistent. Whether you are creating inbound content or outbound campaigns, your brand’s voice and tone should remain consistent — supporting your strategies and goals.
  1. Make sure it’s “right.” Successful inbound marketing is about building relationships by providing the right content to the right audience at the right time. That same effort should apply to outbound tactics as well.

The bottom line: Breathe life into your marketing by combining outbound and inbound strategies

No, outbound marketing is far from dead. The trick is, can you breathe life to the entire landscape of your marketing strategies? With inbound marketing, you can draw prospects to you through awareness and education. With outbound marketing, you can help qualify the leads generated by inbound programs and well as reaching prospects who don’t yet know they have a need — and come full-circle by providing those prospects with inbound content for awareness and education. Just like you need to inhale and exhale, your marketing likely needs both inbound and outbound to survive.

To learn more about how to integrate your inbound and outbound strategies using powerful marketing automation, request a demo today.