The marketing world is filled with terminology that isn't always clear to business owners. Inbound marketing and outbound marketing are two terms that come up on a consistent basis. Understanding the difference between inbound and outbound marketing helps you understand the marketing world better and clarifies what you need to ask for from a marketing agency.
Inbound marketing targets a specific demographic that has expressed interest in your products, or may be interested in your products, in order to get them inbound to your website or store. Inbound marketing takes many forms, especially on the Internet. It centers around useful and relevant information for consumers, so this term is sometimes used interchangeably with content marketing. Content marketing creates useful written, picture, and video content to create interest in your audience. It essentially creates a receptive and warm market for you, so consumers are likely to take action such as providing an email address or completing a purchase. Social media marketing is also associated with this type of marketing and includes direct engagement with the audience interested in your products.
Outbound marketing is spreading your message out into the world without much in the way of targeting. It reaches a wide variety of people with your message, but they aren't necessarily the people who are going to be interested in buying your product. This type of advertising is commonly associated with "traditional" marketing methods, such as radio and television advertisements, billboards, and direct mail. While outbound marketing has its place in a marketing strategy, the ROI is often significantly lower than inbound marketing.
Each type of marketing has its strengths and weaknesses, and understanding the difference helps you craft a marketing strategy that is perfect for your unique business needs.