As B2B lead generation professionals, our responsibility is to help clients generate the high quality, sales ready leads necessary to produce a solid return-on-investment for their marketing programs. That can happen in numerous ways. It is often the combination of activities from both the inbound and outbound marketing perspective that produces the best results. Developing a strategy to maximize your program effectively requires understanding the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is best described as a method of attracting prospects to your business’s products or services through the creation of related content and incentives, which inspire people to identify themselves and request more information or make a purchase. Inbound marketing is closely aligned with content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social marketing, because each of these programs focuses on attracting unknown prospects to your business.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing on the other hand starts with some basic knowledge of your target audience and builds programs to educate those very specific prospects about your products and services in a meaningful way. Outbound marketing typically is accomplished using the more traditional ways such as direct mail, telemarketing, email marketing and events.
The difference between inbound and outbound marketing is subtle and often the lines between the two are blurred. For example, an inbound marketing program can be utilized as the first step in a long-term marketing campaign to capture lead data; whereas a related outbound portion would be used to nurture and educate those prospects to the point where they are ready to make a buying decision. Together they create a sustainable, long-term program that can produce a continuous stream of sales opportunities.
Vital to the success of your B2B lead generation is the ability to leverage both inbound and outbound marketing techniques. Inbound marketing is necessary to replenish your sales pipeline with new leads, while outbound marketing helps you track and drive your existing prospects through the buying cycle. Only through the combination of both practices can you build an effective lead generation engine capable of filling your sales pipeline.