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With the omnipresence of social media and advances in digital marketing and sales automation, inbound marketing is now the primary marketing strategy employed by organizations. According to a HubSpot study, the number of marketers who state they are practicing inbound increased by 25% between 2013 and 2014, representing 85% of all marketers.
Companies now tend to prefer digital engagement rather than outbound marketing. It makes sense, since digital engagement is becoming simpler, cheaper and more effective. In fact, for many specialists outbound marketing is just not relevant nowadays.
Has it really gone the way of the dodo? What can inbound marketers learn from outbound marketers?
Happily, there are a few things we can learn from outbound marketing to apply to inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing’s main goal is to target the right audience for the service or product. Identifying and targeting the right people should also be the main concern of inbound marketing. It’s important to make sure that the content gets to the right people by choosing the proper channel to distribute it (i.e. the right social media platform). In the past, television marketers would gather as much information as possible about their target audience to be sure that the advertisements would reach the right people, on the right channel, at the right time of the day.
The primary difference in targeting is that outbound marketing is about pushing the message to the consumers while inbound marketing is more about attracting potential buyers with quality content, which brings us to our second point.
As with outbound marketing, inbound is also about creating and putting together quality content. Whereas the content creation techniques of outbound are disappearing, inbound marketers can learn from the flexibility of outbound content. Crafting new original content for each digital media channel takes a lot of resources and time. The solution, (learned from outbound marketers) is to create flexible content that could be easily reused and repurposed for different audiences, content offers, and media channels.
One simple way to implement this technique is to update an old blog post by adding some new and relevant content to it and then reposting it. Keep in mind, however, that it is still important that the content remain original and creative. Abuse of this particular technique can cause the audience to lose its excitement.
Outbound marketing also placed great emphasis on brand development, and more specifically on developing a brand that is instantly recognizable and easily remembered. It did this largely through graphic design, but also through the development of unique content in the form of memorable television ads and outdoor billboards.
Brand recall is a big deal for marketers and advertisers. Inbound marketing is notably opposed to outbound marketing by the way leads are generated. In inbound, marketing leads are supposed to be warm while in outbound they are cold. However, getting people to organically find your website necessitates some brand recall so that they have a reason to search for and find the website in the first place. The takeaway lesson from outbound marketing is working to develop a recognizable, repeatable brand that drives attention to your website, app and social media accounts.
In sum, outbound marketing is losing ground to inbound marketing and the reasons are justified. Yet it can’t be ignored that leads generated from inbound marketing are only a small segment of all potential buyers. Not all of the potential customers come knocking on the door seeking specific information. Some of them can only be reached through outbound efforts. For a great marketing strategy, inbound and outbound must co-exist in balance.
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