Can Outbound and Inbound Marketing Co-Exist?

2 min. read | Last updated: March 12th, 2015

Can Outbound and Inbound marketing co-exist? Should we abandon outbound entirely or can it still play a role?

Marketers have traditionally gotten great results from outbound marketing. They sleep, eat, and brush their teeth to get corporate messages across to people in creative ways.

Today, though, they’re turning their backs on it. The growing majority of marketers react scornfully at the mention of outbound. The term has gained an unflattering connection to Interruption Marketing, which Wikipedia calls “a pejorative term that refers to promoting a product through continued advertising, promotions, public relations and sales.”

Outbound tactics are now vilified. Many believe that outbound marketing alone is responsible for the 2000+ messages bombarding us on a daily basis.

Inbound marketing is the new marketing darling. Even the words associated with inbound drum up positive connotations, don’t they? Organic, engagement, permission-based, valued content, etc.

But, is inbound marketing really saving us from “traditional” outbound? Is it making advertising less intrusive? Are marketers suddenly altruistic information-sharers?

I don’t think so.

The Devaluation of Content

At the end of the day companies still need to sell their products and services.

Do you remember the first case study that was e-mailed to you? Compare that sentiment – your eager mind ready to devour its contents – to the case study you received last week, and the one yesterday, and probably the one this morning… The former stream of outbound marketing messages has now been replaced with an overwhelming flood of thinly veiled “content.”

As inbound marketing matures the value of content decreases and innovative perception disappears.

And, let’s face it, the talented salesman, the convincing voice on the other end of the phone, the winning ad with the arresting headline, the e-mail with the subject line customized to your needs, and the memorable television ad during the Superbowl still play roles in the selling process.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan (and user) of inbound marketing. It forces organizations to move up and meet customers at their level. And an informed customer is a better customer. However, I believe inbound marketing is being oversold to the detriment of business results. It can be an effective tactic, but rarely should be the only tactic.

(By the way, you know something has been oversold when everybody is doing the same thing.)

We’re hearing from demand gen marketers that email response rates are down in general but that inbound marketing alone is not bringing in enough leads for funnel generation.

The webinar we recently did with Netprospex speaks about how organizations can do better with their inbound email marketing tactics through intelligent segmenting, better messaging, and achieving higher conversion rates for landing pages with targeted, high-conversion landing pages.



Chris Goward

Founder & CEO

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