In-n-Out: The Hybridization of Inbound and Outbound
It’s been 18 years since Seth Godin launched his classic indictment of “interruption marketing,” Godin’s term for traditional outbound advertising strategies that push messages out to the masses via multiple channels with the idea that a percentage will stick and generate sales:
For ninety years, marketers have relied on one form of advertising almost exclusively. I call it Interruption Marketing. Interruption, because the key to each and every ad is to interrupt what the viewers are doing in order to get them to think about something else.
According to Godin, traditional outbound marketing represents a marketer-centric approach that imposes on the time and attention of potential consumers. In simple terms, Godin presents outbound marketing as rude.But like everything, outbound marketing has evolved to fit the times and the types of consumer being targeted. New trends do not necessarily destroy existing practices. The new merely transforms traditions. The internet has not replaced television; but the internet has certainly transformed and in many ways enhanced the use and design of television on many levels. The same applies to marketing: The rise of inbound marketing has not completely replaced outbound strategies, but it has transformed long-established practices for the better.
Inbound on the rise, outbound on the decline
“Is mass marketing due for a cataclysmic shakeout? Absolutely.” Seth Godin
Based on the numbers, it’s easy to see why so many have forecast, like Godin, have forecasted the eventual demise of outbound marketing strategies. According to an article from Artillery Marketing, 86% of the current population skips TV ads. In terms of email, 91% have already unsubscribed from email lists, while 44 % of direct mail marketing were left unopened. As many as 200 million phone numbers have been classified under the Do Not Call list. It also doesn’t help that plenty of consumers are dodging marketing messages through caller IDs, Do Not Mail lists, pop-up ad blockers, and RSS readers.
The exact opposite is happening for inbound marketing. A Google Trends report on inbound marketing showed that interest in this type of marketing has been growing steadily over time, from a measly 5% in January 2004 to a whopping 98% by October 2016.
Furthermore, sites like HubSpot have long reported that companies that are increasing their budget on inbound marketing are also enjoying a lower cost per lead, shortening their sales cycles and increasing their sales close rates.
However, despite the opposite trends, it is important to understand that inbound and outbound marketing tactics are not an either-or situation. In fact, many marketers prefer to create an integrated marketing plan to reach a larger audience through multiple points of contact. While inbound marketing gets consumers interested in your product or service, it is outbound marketing that speeds up conversion by driving your customers to your online marketing channels, thereby enhancing and strengthening your inbound efforts.
In fact, outbound marketing is still effective in driving leads and sales. According to a survey by DiscoverOrg among 1,000 top IT executives, 75% said they decided to attend an event or appointment after having received an email or cold call.
The main question is, how can you combine inbound and outbound marketing strategies to effectively sell to your target consumers? Here are three steps to consider:
- Attract your target customer. You can use inbound marketing to figure out who your target audience is. The right marketing platform can help you get insights about your audience’s goals, needs, and challenges. This will also help you fine-tune your outbound campaigns to encourage maximum engagement.
- Convert interested customers to buyers. Outbound marketing can be alienating and intrusive for people who are not interested in what you’re selling in the first place. But once you have piqued their interest through inbound marketing tactics, you can start employing outbound marketing strategies. Inbound marketing attracts them, but outbound marketing nourishes the relationship you’ve formed with your prospects. Design an outbound marketing campaign of phone calls and emails to encourage your prospect to take action.
- Consider purchasing a list and sending an email newsletterwith your latest blog posts, or a single blast with a link to download a whitepaper on your site. This way, you’ll get all the benefits of an inbound strategy and still drive new traffic to your site with an outreach program.
No matter what your budget or specific end goals are, integrating outbound and inbound marketing tactics is a powerful and efficient way to generate a wide spectrum of quality leads. Take advantage of the range of solutions available to you, and the scope of your leads will improve dramatically.
For more information on how to improve your B2B digital marketing strategy, feel free to contact us!