Marketing is a fine balance between testing new strategies and sticking with what works. There’s always a shiny new object in the form of a marketing channel, buzzword, or trend.
An apparent constant, though, is the unspoken rivalry between inbound and outbound marketing. Some swear by inbound for the relationship-building opportunities, while others are loyal outbounders who tout the value of volume through lead generation.
Often, marketers become experts in a specific channel or strategy and the resulting level of comfort creates an unintended bias. But by limiting your marketing plan to your circle of tried-and-true tools, you could inhibit the full potential of your company’s strategy. In the incredibly dynamic world of marketing, it’s crucial that your team creates a balance between inbound and outbound strategies that work for your business.
The Shortfalls of an Inbound-Only Strategy
Imagine your business is a brick-and-mortar bakery, and your marketing strategy is built upon offering free samples to local pedestrians who happen to walk by the front door. Think about how much traffic you’d miss. Think about all the customers who are shopping at the mall around the corner, but never show up on your doorstep because they don’t know you exist. With an inbound-only strategy, your business is limited to customers who find you by a stroke of luck – through search, social media, or otherwise.
Inbound marketing is built to nurture leads and guide your target prospects toward a buying mindset. But you need to find those prospects first.
The Shortfalls of an Outbound-Only Strategy
When executed effectively, outbound marketing is a lead generation machine. But what happens once you have those leads?
Gone are the days when a marketing team generates leads through an outbound strategy, only to hand them immediately over to sales. You can survey your prospects to figure out what they’re looking for – but if you immediately bury them under a sales pitch, you’ve missed an opportunity to win a new customer. Enter inbound marketing, which is meant to nurture your prospects with content funnels and keep your company top-of-mind until they are ready to buy.
The Best of Both Worlds
When you pull apart the core of inbound and marketing strategies, it’s easy to see what they do well (and what they don’t). Outbound marketing builds your sales pipeline, providing your team with intel and data to determine which leads have the potential to materialize into customers. Inbound marketing is the catalyst that primes your prospects and guides them deeper into your sales funnel until they are ready to make a purchase.
This critical balance is called integrated marketing, and it can drastically change the tune of your marketing ROI.
If your team is constantly pumping existing prospects and customers for new business, it may be time to source new leads through outbound marketing and expand your customer base. On the other hand, if your funnel is top-heavy and you struggle to engage prospects through to sales, your inbound strategy needs some work so you can tighten up the process and squeeze more return out of your lead gen strategy.