Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

Many marketers are now switching out their marketing strategies, from traditional outbound tactics to the more efficient inbound marketing. You may still be unsure which is the better path to go down, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Let’s take a look at the details of each strategy as well as some comparisons to discover which methodology may work better for your business.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology fundamentally built upon relationships and providing value to your customers. An inbound strategy is formulated around good, high-quality content that you can leverage to attract your desired audience and personas. Commonly confused with content marketing due to the huge role content plays, but an inbound strategy encompasses a lot more moving parts such as the following:


– Blogging

– Email Marketing

– Social Media

– Video Marketing

– Podcasts

– Live Media

The inbound approach to marketing aims to draw in your prospects by providing engaging content (blogs, videos, guides, infographics etc) to those seeking a solution to a problem. Continuing to educate and nurture them through their buyer’s journey whilst continually building trust with your brand.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing uses tactics that are a bit more traditional, the ‘outbound’ practice refers to when a business initiates a conversation with an audience, pushing out their message in the hopes that it may resonate. Now conversation might not be the best description as outbound tactics are commonly one-sided, rather than speaking with your audience, you’re speaking at them. This is why outbound tactics are referred to as disruptive and in some cases, annoying. Outbound strategies include conventional media advertising such as:

– TV advertisements

– Radio ads

– Events eg. Trade shows

– Cold-contacting (calls and emails)

– Print

It’s common knowledge in the marketing industry that outbound marketing tactics are becoming less efficient due to the fundamental shifts in consumer behaviour. It’s largely the reason why many businesses are switching to the inbound approach. With that said, some outbound tactics do still work well for businesses, outbound still accounts for the majority of marketing budgets, but is it the most efficient? Let’s compare.

Inbound vs Outbound Comparison


A study conducted by HubSpot found that the average cost per lead was 61% lower when leveraging inbound marketing tactics instead of outbound. The large majority of outbound tactics require some sort of paid delivery/distribution system which adds to the overall cost too, not to mention the cost of TV and radio are already high. This is why the narrative of this content tends to lean towards selling appose to helping, aiming to secure hard-sales to make the campaign worthwhile.


Inbound marketing tactics cost considerably less than outbound tactics but not just where your budget is concerned. Whilst inbound marketing tactics take time to see results largely due to how search engines index content, actually producing the content can be a straightforward process. With time, you’ll begin to see a sustainable return on your investment, one that is cheaper and scalable too. With outbound, you’ll need to continually top-up your paid campaigns and techniques to keep on generating the results you want and need.

Lead Generation

The top priority for marketers in 2020 was to generate leads and we expect this trend to continue as we progress into 2021. Inbound lead generation comprises of generating content that attracts visitors and converts them into leads. By leveraging valuable content, you can entice your visitors to exchange their contact information for a piece of educational content, a fair trade. This then allows you to continue to communicate with them on an ongoing basis.


Outbound marketing tactics are commonly more challenging to track and review progress, not ideal if you’re seeking executive buy-in from others in your business. Shifts in consumer behaviour have also meant that people do not respond well to outbound marketing techniques, so return little when compared to inbound. Due to the lower conversion rates, you can expect that the overall return on investment will be much lower too. With inbound, your prospects seek you and your business, not the other way around. Marketing this way can be considered the ‘long-game’ but the results built off the back of this strategy will be worth it.

Quality of Traffic

Within your inbound marketing strategy, you’re aiming to attract visitors by creating unique content, aiming to provide value for your targeted audiences and personas. One of the huge benefits of inbound compared to outbound is that your content is designed to meet your audience where they are and what they’re searching for. Providing answers to questions or solutions to challenges creates the perfect opportunity to attract your audience in a natural and organic way. Those visitors who engage with your business in this way are going to be much more qualified to make a purchasing decision as they’re intention to seek you was there already.

Additional Bonus – Sales and Marketing

It’s a well-known fact that in many businesses marketing and sales departments can butt-heads from time to time, due to lack of communication or transparency. For inbound marketing to work successfully it requires consistent input from both teams. Your sales team can uncover valuable insights into customers’ needs and wants at different stages throughout their buying journey. With the help of those insights, you can produce targeted content for prospects that aims to offer education or solutions to their questions and challenges. By joining forces, marketing and sales can provide information that attracts leads, increases conversions, and delight your customers.


In summary, there isn’t a right or wrong answer and ultimately the final decision will sit with you as well as your business and marketing objectives. Having considered how much our industry is changing and the rapid developments in consumer behaviour, inbound marketing caters more to modern-day users. That’s not to say that an outbound strategy won’t work, it can still generate results, just more short-form and at a higher cost. 

How can we help?

At Bright Design, we apply the inbound marketing methodology to generate consistent and sustainable business growth for our client-partners. We fundamentally believe in creating good user experiences for our clients and their customers, and to do this effectively, inbound marketing is a no-brainer. If you’re looking to get going with an inbound strategy and need support, get in touch with our team of experts today. 

Riain Kerly

Another 2020 recruit introduced to the Bright Design team. Riain joined us an Inbound Marketing Executive, he’s responsible for looking after all of our channels of communication ensuring our brand messaging, image and culture is maintained and stays true to our core values whilst ultimately supporting the business to achieve goals.

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The Essential Guide to Inbound Marketing

Thanks to technology even the smallest of brands can gain worldwide recognition, your target audience will be searching for solutions, you’ve just got to provide the right information. If you don’t offer the content they’re searching for, you can’t expect anyone to find you. Download the guide to learn basics about Inbound Marketing.

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