Inbound and Outbound Marketing: Choose Fusion Over Fission
Some things do just naturally go together: PB&J, socks and shoes, yin and yang. It’s true of inbound and outbound marketing as well. The terms inbound and outbound distinguish messages that go out into the world to find consumers—direct mail and website banners, for instance—and marketing that instead pulls customers in through methods such as blogs, podcasts, and social media. Although it’s helpful to understand the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, their distinctions are less important than how they connect. Like peanut butter and jelly, it’s togetherness that elevates result, something missed in many companies.
Companies often separate outbound and inbound marketing efforts, using different teams, tools, and data. That’s a mistake. Taking the isolationist approach means customer data isn’t shared across teams. Without information, a marketer can’t create great experiences for each customer, and creating great experiences is vital in today’s cluttered marketing landscape.
Other companies, meanwhile, turn outbound and inbound marketing into an either/or choice, using one or the other exclusively. But that’s like taking all the black pieces off the checkerboard. If you want to say, “King me!” you’ve got to first properly set up the game.
Properly setting up inbound and outbound marketing means committing to both, and then uniting them. Separate teams should become one. Data must be accessible to all. Software should support both inbound and outbound efforts. With teams, tools, and data brought together, marketers can revitalize goals and tactics. Execution gains sophistication because better information means better timing, targeting, and message relevance. Inbound and outbound marketing working as one creates opportunities to build great relationships and experiences.
For instance, outbound marketing can connect with potential customers through email and direct mail. When interested customers then seek out your brand, inbound marketing delivers relevant content that your new connections specifically want to receive. Giving consumers what they want through this outbound–inbound symbiosis benefits potential customers and starts a relationship that, in time, can mature into sales.
Once customers are involved with a company through inbound marketing, perhaps happily and regularly reading life-enhancing blog posts—say, the best drinks to pair with the best eats—once involved, customers might appreciate well-timed and relevant outbound marketing messages. A Web-based offer on those best drinks, for instance, gives customers a chance to explore what they’ve read about. Quenching a consumer’s thirst to try something new and exciting this way creates meaningful interactions and real relationships, trust and loyalty blossoming thanks to the inbound–outbound fusion. Like hydrogen and oxygen, it’s two elements together that make it rain.
This article was written by Ben Tepfer and published on Adobe’s digital marketing blog.
Ben Tepfer is a product marketing manager for Adobe Campaign. In this role, Tepfer spends most of his time in the field talking with industry leaders, customers and prospects to understand their marketing challenges in an effort to build a market-ready product.
Adobe is the global leader in digital marketing and digital media solutions.