Inbound vs. outbound marketing

by Lynda Kavanagh


"These are two different Marketing approaches but a business should use them in combination."



Outbound Marketing, also referred to as Push Media or Interruption Marketing, is used in media such as newspapers, television, radio, direct mail and telemarketing. Outbound Marketing is when an advertisement is forced onto a consumer without that consumer asking to see or hear that advertisement. In Outbound Marketing it is the business, not the buyer, that chooses the content, timing and channel to interact with consumers.

For years, businesses relied on this method to get their advertising messages out to potential customers. Why? Because it was easy to identify which media were being used by potential customers.

Then the Internet arrived and changed the Marketing world, providing a far greater opportunity for consumers to become exposed to a wider selection of products and services. Outbound Marketing appeared online in the methods of pop-up ads, unsolicited emails, and social media ads.

Some consumers continue to rely on Outbound Marketing techniques to learn about business products and services, while some consumers prefer to research products and services online — welcome to Inbound Marketing.

What is the best method for your business?

How you decide to market your business will be determined by your potential customer's behaviour.


Inbound Marketing involves tactics a business uses to capture consumers’ interest with the purpose of inviting those consumers to seek more information about the business. Inbound Marketing is primarily conducted online where consumers search for information about products or services.

With Inbound Marketing, the consumers feel they can select when they will give a business permission to contact them. Some examples of effective Inbound Marketing could be:

• The consumer reads a blog post and is interested to find out more about the business or the product because of the post.

• The consumer finds a website that offers more detailed information about a product or service and the consumer connects with the website owner to get more information through a download or email newsletter.

• A business provides interesting information through Social Media channels that engage the consumer to contact the business digitally or physically by going to the business.

With Inbound Marketing, consumers are in total control by selecting when and if they want to interact with the business. To many consumers, Inbound Marketing creates a feeling of trust with businesses before a purchase is made.


"With Outbound Marketing, consumers may feel annoyed at being interrupted or having information pushed onto them."


What method is best for your business?

As with all Marketing, how you decide to Market your business will be determined by what your potential customer’s behaviour is. Do they use Outbound media to collect information or are they the type who likes to research products and services online? Or do they get their information from a combination of both?

Most successful businesses use a combination of both Inbound and Outbound Marketing. However, it is often easier to monitor and analyze a rate of return on investment (ROI) by using Inbound Marketing techniques. This is because there are analytical tools available to track online activity such as visitors to your website, number of downloads, number of email newsletter sign-ups, etc.

A 2016 study developed by indicates:

Upselling mistake #1

Upselling mistake #2

Upselling mistake #3


So, folks, as with everything to do with Marketing, your decision on which technique you will use the most will come down to how your potential customers want to be “introduced” to your business and you can only find that out through research. Now, that’s another blog post.




Can I help you?



Hey! Don’t forget to come and see me on the Seminar stage, when I talk about using Instagram for your business — that’s definitely Inbound Marketing. And I’ll also be discussing a variety of Marketing techniques at the Round Table Stage.

Building on this theme, let's take it even a step further. Come listen in when I give a talk on Delivering on Your Brand Promise and make sure to set up a one-on-one appointment with me for personalized advice.


Lynda Kavanagh is the owner of WOW Communications & Training based in Alberta. For over 24 years, she has been helping businesses and organizations eliminate the frustrations they may feel when it comes to conducting sales and marketing.