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Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing? What You Should Know

Every day, potential buyers see more than 5,000 advertisements and brand exposures. They watch television commercials, pass by billboards, look at banner ads, read branded blogs, receive email newsletters, and more.

These inundated audiences cannot keep up with all the messages coming at them. When a company’s prospects are not experiencing their ads and content, the company will miss out on valuable sales.

If companies want to stand out from their competition and reach prospects, they must use the right form of marketing at the right time for their unique goals and needs. That is where inbound and outbound marketing can work together to generate sales leads and drive sales conversions.

What are Outbound Marketing and Inbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is about pushing messages to potential customers. Traditional marketing companies use include television commercials, telephone calls and emails, press releases, radio spots, banner ads, and direct mail. Today’s most effective outbound marketing is built around Account Based Marketing (ABM) which takes sequenced, personalized, multi-channel outbound messages to individuals at targeted accounts. This multiple-touch outreach educates buyers along the way and produces higher quality opportunities more quickly.

Sample Outbound ABM Journey

outbound vs. inbound marketing

Inbound marketing involves reaching prospects where they are searching. Effective inbound marketers leverage search engine optimization, content marketing, social media and more to reach prospects where they are online. Inbound marketing programs match prospects’ expressed needs with the company’s content and solutions. When the match happens, it results in higher qualified leads and faster sales.

Elements of a Successful Inbound Program 

outbound vs. inbound marketing

Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: Which one is right for you? 

If you are an owner of a B2B company today, an integrated marketing program that includes both outbound and inbound marketing is crucial to your success.

For example, inbound marketing is necessary because B2B buyers are engaging with content now more than ever. Fifty-one percent of B2B buyers look at content for research, and 73% viewed a case study while trying to find out about a product or service. Forty-seven percent saw three to five pieces of content before talking with a sales rep.

The important types of content for B2B marketers to produce are:

Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: Stronger Together

Inbound marketing will educate people who are looking for what you provide and get them interested in your products and services. Outbound marketing will turn them, and those who are not yet looking for you, into sales-qualified prospects and help move them through to the buying decision.

For instance, Google ads are usually the first result to show up when people type in the search engine. To capture your audience’s attention, you should invest in this form of inbound marketing, which is shown to result in $2 in revenue for every dollar spent and reaches 80% of global Internet users.

Inbound marketing will generate leads from people who have express demand. HubSpot notes that if you follow up with web leads within five minutes of their expressed interest, you are nine times more likely to convince them to convert.

Conversely, Account Based Marketing will allow you to target specific accounts that may or may not have expressed demand yet. These accounts, along with inbound leads that have not yet converted represent a sizable portion of your sales universe.

By helping your sales team to work with your marketing team on effective integrated outbound marketing campaigns, you can help your prospects move through the stages of the sales pipeline more quickly and generate more sales volume. 

A successful B2B marketing strategy today should have a mix of both inbound and outbound marketing.

Interested in learning more about what the right mix of inbound and outbound marketing is right for your company? Contact KEO Marketing today for a complimentary assessment.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.