Which Is Better? Inbound or Outbound

As our name is Spark Outbound, we occasionally get asked to explain what “Outbound” means or why we think outbound is better than inbound marketing. The short answer is we don’t necessarily think outbound is better than inbound or vis-a-versa. The reality is that certain businesses get better results with one or the other, and at certain times in a business’s lifecycle one may be a better option. So what is the difference?

Inbound Marketing Philosophy

Inbound is a philosophy or concept that is commonly referred to by names such as content marketing or attraction marketing, but no matter what you call it, it means that you are going to create a lot of content which will get in front of your audience and educate them in a way that will allow them to naturally decide you are the best solution. Many times this means you want to  rank on Google for things that are related to your topics. Others rely on paid distribution channels like social ads or native ads published on major media sites to get the content in front of their audience.

Historically, companies that have focused on Inbound marketing strategies have put a lot of resources toward blog posts or web page content. More recently, there has been an obvious shift to more video and audio-focuse content with the popularity of YouTube and podcasting. No matter the platform, companies are creating their content with the purpose that people want to essentially do their research and buy the solution that is best for them. They don’t want to be sold.

Outbound Sales Philosophy

Shifting focus of this discussion to Outbound Strategies or philosophies means we are no longer focused on education or attraction as the primary goal. Outbound-focused sales efforts are designed around the logic that the audience for the solution is well defined and the best way to get their attention is to go directly to them instead of waiting for them to find us.

Outbound sales and marketing activities typically include some combination of cold calling via phone, email outreach, LinkedIn outreach or other form of direct communication. This approach requires intense audience definition as well as the ability to capture someone’s attention very quickly with how your product or service will benefit them. 

Which is Better?

In combination, outbound tactics with inbound strategies can maximize your results by getting your content in front of your ideal audience so they can begin the process of educating themselves. If you can successfully do this at scale, the rewards can be incredible.

At the core, they are fundamentally different as inbound is your positioning yourself out in the marketplace where people are going to find you and outbound is all about knowing who you need to contact and taking the message directly to them. It’s interesting to follow businesses through their life cycle journey to see how the different approaches change levels of priority for the marketing and sales team’s strategies.