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September 9, 2014

How to successfully combine inbound and outbound marketing?

by Tom De Baere
when to combine inbound and outbound marketing

What to use in the marketing mix?

The debate about outbound marketing being “interruption” marketing, and inbound marketing about “deserving the attention of buyers” is actually a flawed argumentation.

The question is about how you successfully go about in combining inbound and outbound marketing.

It is true that traditional advertising is less effective.

People today like to skip TV commercials when they can. They are blind for online banners (on average 0,2% click on banners). They sign-out for telephone calls (2 out of 3 people in USA are on do-not-call list). And they opt-out of commercial email, with Google Gmail helping them with easy opt-out buttons.

But when you combine the inbound philosophy with the power of outbound, both re-enforce each other. Combining inbound and outbound marketing works when you:

  • Using advertising to create awareness, with messages they care about.
  • Paid content promotion about content they want to read.
  • Send emails that are relevant to them
  • Use outbound call center calls that are timed and relevant to them as respond to a pre-qualified need.

Combining the strength of inbound and outbound marketing

combining inbound and outbound marketingOutbound marketing is any paid marketing – both online and offline – used to acquire new customers. It includes everything from outbound call center calls, TV advertising, trade shows, direct mailings to online ads.

But it also contains all outbound actions you take, like broadcasting a webinar or sending emails to customers and prospects.

Pure outbound campaigns remain an important sales tactic. They remain important for the following reasons:

  • New offers that need mass marketing
  • Promotional offers to specific target groups (example: contract renewal, win back campaigns)
  • Corporate branding to improve or correct the brand perception (example: perceived expensive brand to perceived correctly priced brand)

By adding inbound marketing to the mix, gradually your marketing will move into a direction where the strengths of both inbound and outbound will be combined.

The paid advertisement or site sponsorship of an outbound marketing campaign helps to further spread the word about the content, ultimately multiplying the number of new views you generate, which in turn will increase the number of shares, thus further increasing the number of potential customers viewing your content.

Benefits of combining inbound and outbound marketing

In addition to generating more views, marketers can realize the following benefits through combining inbound and outbound marketing:

  1. Create Brand Recognition – and Business: The greater the number of outbound campaigns you execute, the more likely that people will recognize and get to know your brand. The more they know and trust your brand, the more likely they will be to respond to your inbound marketing, and ultimately, become a customer.
  2. Make Prospects Speak your Language: When you run paid promotions, you choose the language used to describe our product or service. Prospects who repeatedly see these paid promotions are likely to pick up on the terms you use and plug those in when they are searching for a solution. As a result, you are more likely to appear high in the search engine results.
  3. Capture your Target: Knowing and appealing to your target audience is one thing, reaching them is another. Let’s say your target market is people older than 62 years of age living in a rental house. Through outbound marketing, you can target this group exclusively by purchasing lead-generation programs where you only pay for leads that satisfy your criteria. This makes your campaigns very efficient and keeps your database clear of names that will never purchase from you.

When to use inbound, and when to use outbound?

Marketing has a couple of functions in most companies. This can range from customer acquisition, to customer retention to expanding customer relationships (up-selling, cross-selling), or reactivating relationships with dormant or lost customers.

Inbound and outbound tactics combined along the buying cycle.

Inbound and outbound tactics combined along the buying cycle.

The question about knowing when to use inbound or outbound is a question about understanding your customers:

  • Do they even listen to the radio if you are thinking of using radio Ads?
  • Do they even watch TV, or are they C-generation that skip ads, or watch Youtube?
  • Do they use search to find the type of products you are offering? If not, how do they find the type of product you are offering?
  • Do they need a push through advertising, or do they need a push through valuable insight?
  • Do they visit blogs to get informed? What blogs?
  • Who are they influenced by? Where are these influencers?

The question about knowing when to use inbound or outbound is also a question of using these tactics at the right moment in the buying cycle of customers:

  • Outbound mails early in the buying cycle don’t work, because you having created interest, nor you have built trust.
  • Advertising early in the buying cycle can work, but only if you built it to be genuinely authentic and trustwordy.
  • Outbound calls make sense, when you already have built up a relationship through informing customers, and only after you saw behavioral signals of interest.
  • Press release can work, if they contain real and usable news, and not egocentric and corporate speak.
  • Sending out promotional offers can work, but only when you have worked to inform prospects so they can learn about your offer.

And when do you use inbound marketing?

Quite frankly, today’s inbound marketing is what normal modern marketing is about. There is no choice to make, because SEO, social media, blogs, video, ebooks, newsletters, etc are part of the modern marketers toolbox.

The new outbound philosophy

It’s no surprise that outbound marketing has such a bad name. Still today malafide companies are using call centers from India to annoy people. Spamming has never been so high. No wonder consumers and business are protecting themselves with spam filters and do-not-call lists.

Inbound marketing is getting a lot of attention, thanks to  marketing automation players like Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, etc, who have a business benefit in you buying into inbound marketing.

But there’s a couple of ways outbound marketing can be used in a correct way:

  • use the right outbound tactic when it makes most sense for buyer, not for you.
  • the messaging you put into your outbound marketing is not about selling your product, but it is about genuinely informing customers correctly. If that can be done with some humor, that’s a plus.

When do you use inbound or outbound? How are you combining inbound and outbound marketing successfully?

Thanks for reading this far.

Warm regards,

Tom De Baere