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Inbound vs Outbound Traditional Marketing: Value Comparison

Large investments typically cause sticker shock. We get it. We hate sticker shock too. But if you make a smart investment, it really ends up paying for itself. 

Cat Swatting Money.gifTake inbound marketing for example:

In the long run, inbound marketing ends up paying for itself in both ROI and competitive advantage.

Let’s take a look at the value of inbound and outbound traditional marketing through a simple cost comparison.

Inbound vs. Outbound Traditional Marketing Value Comparison

What Is Outbound Traditional Marketing?

Outbound traditional marketing requires you to initiate the conversation with a potential prospect. It’s often referred to as interruptive marketing because the prospect didn’t give permission for contact.

Examples include:

  • Direct mail
  • Interruptive TV ads
  • YouTube pre-roll ads
  • Print collateral
  • Unsolicited emails
  • Cold calls

The Value of Outbound Traditional Marketing Is Declining

The value of traditional marketing strategies is continuing to decline in both ROI and customer engagement.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing works by creating content prospects actually want to see. Unlike traditional marketing, where you interrupt them, inbound marketing creates content that attracts viewers.

Examples include

  • Blogs
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • e-books
  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars
  • Checklists

You can learn about inbound marketing content and its components here.

Unlike outbound traditional marketing, the content you (or a hired inbound agency, blogger, or content creator) create with inbound marketing doesn’t require you to spend money on marketing materials and tools.

You pay indirect costs - like project fees or salary - and get continuous return from every conversion. Because the Internet is forever.

The Value of Inbound Marketing Is Increasing

With inbound marketing, your prospect controls whether they have a relationship with you or not. It’s their choice to engage with your business, instead of being interrupted with advertisements and content they’re not interested in. This results in your prospect not only becoming a lead, but more likely becoming your new client.

According to Hubspot’s 2020 State of Inbound Report,

  • Inbound marketers are 4x as likely to be effective, compared to their traditional counterparts.
  • One-third of marketers find traditional marketing tactics to be overrated.
  • Organizations are 1.6 times as likely to receive higher budgets, if they can calculate ROI.
  • Inbound organizations with an service level agreement are over 5x times as likely to be effective.
  • For 59% of marketers, inbound strategies provide the best leads, while only 17% attribute their best leads to traditional practices.

It’s easy to see that inbound marketing can provide your business with a cost-effective, up-to-date, and creative way of reaching your customers.

Your prospects don’t want to be interrupted with traditional marketing . Instead, they want to research businesses and services on their own time. In fact, 93% of business buyers use search engines to begin their buying process.   

Every business is different and has different lead generation needs. But for every business, inbound marketing is an investment in the future.

Still have questions about inbound marketing? Download our free e-book:

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(Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2017, but was recently updated.)