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What is Outbound Marketing? Definition, Overview & Examples

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17th Nov, 2022
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What is Outbound Marketing? Definition, Overview & Examples

What is Inbound and outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing has come to occupy a place of choice among tactics related to marketing. In the current era, brand promotions are incomplete without the presence of outbound marketing. Go through the article to understand what outbound marketing is, along with a few examples and an overview. 

Such a form of marketing refers to a form of promotion wherein any company initiates contact with potential customers or leads. There is no denying the fact that inbound marketing has found favour over the last few years.  The main target of outbound marketing efforts is to build authentic relationships. These relationships are built on engagement and help to put a brand in the right place.

Examples Of Outbound Marketing

The easiest way to understand examples of such marketing includes-

  • Cold emailing
  • Cold calling
  • Direct mailing
  • Billboard
  • Presentations at trade shows
  • Sponsorships at events
  • Advertisements online or via mass media

Once leads are generated based on the above methods, a company’s sales rep must follow up and develop a business relationship with customers.

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Outbound Marketing Meaning

In the context of outbound marketing, a company can cast a wide net and hope to get customers with the repeated imposition of messages on the targeted audience. Of course, all this happens without them knowing whether customers are willing to receive such messages. This is known as the spray and pray method in the marketing context. With this method, a company disrupts an individual’s activity flow.

Outbound marketing has often come under the scanner thanks to a few of its abuses. Out-of-Home advertising, that includes billboards, is expected to reach $42 billion globally by 2024. Display advert spend is predicted to soar up to $500 billion plus by the year 2026. These latest figures reveal that globally, outbound marketing efforts will have to be curbed in terms of their structure while also having scope for targeted customers to opt-out of such marketing material or emails by choice. 

Given these issues, outbound marketing is widely accepted as a double-edged sword. It could alienate customers as much as it could attract them. Additionally, when familiar with a consumer, outbound marketing might be either negative or positive for a brand.

To gauge the top advantages of outbound marketing, you definitely need to scan through the top drawbacks that critics point out. One of the most evident issues with outbound marketing is its high creation cost. A lot of effort is involved in creating content that might end up unconsumed in someone’s spam box.

There’s a limitation to how such tactics will work in outbound marketing. This is because prospects who are uninterested might ignore messages from a brand. If you think a little, you will realise that the main goal of outbound marketing could be this active building up of authentic relationships via targeted communication, engagement and effective brand targeting. 

Is Outbound Marketing Relevant? 

Cutting costs is something that every business owner believes in. As a consumer, switching the delete button on an emailer spoils a lot of effort a brand puts into marketing. The efforts for outbound marketing help a brand put its story out there. There is a chance that they have worked intensely on mailing lists and ensuring that all promotions land directly at the right place. They might not even have an inkling if all of their mailed customers are a direct target audience. In case you wonder why, here’s why.

  • The outbound marketers will have invested in mailing lists and believe this is great for driving some brand awareness. Such marketing efforts also maintain a brand’s relevance and help introduce new lines of products to new audiences. 

No wonder outbound marketing lets you be at the front foot of customer minds regarding recommendations, lead generation and marketing based on word-of-mouth.

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Why Is Outbound Marketing Important?

On a comparative basis, while inbound marketing efforts are great, this is relevant mostly for low-budget and small-scale businesses. However, outbound is the way to go when your target base barely knows of your products or services.

  • Outbound marketing sort of guarantees that you will be able to reach people. No more talking in the void. Of course, outbound marketing comes with more expenses, but it is well-relevant even today since it complements inbound marketing.
  • Outbound marketing becomes especially effective when it uses reliable data. However, such information might get pricey to obtain in real-time. Additionally, there are the chances that such content might not actually spread virally. 
  • Outbound marketing tends to be one track or one way. This doesn’t allow immediate feedback from a lead. This also limits a company’s ability to determine if such strategies resonate with the larger public.

Outbound marketing is essential for a holistic, balanced, and effective strategy. Take a look at the key benefits of the outbound marketing strategy that you need to be aware of.

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Outbound Marketing Leads To Immediate Results

Inbound marketing does work, but it is a very long game. You need to create huge volumes of content and then strategically share the same via available or relevant platforms.

Moreover, you must keep doing the same consistently over targeted periods. However, when you don’t have ample time, you need to bank on outbound marketing. You can see results on a scale and pace way sooner than inbound efforts.

Strategic Targeting Of Messages

With inbound marketing techniques, you will be drawing people over to a brand and its offerings. Such people are actively looking for this particular product or service in the market. However, with outbound marketing, you get to bring these messages to people you want to target. They might be searching for the concerned product/services or even not! 

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While an inbound process will get lots of qualifying leads for a brand, it never means that this is the exclusive way to get qualified leads. You get many qualified leads when you get strategic with the outbound marketing effort. Thus, this makes the same a very valuable part of the balanced strategy.

Outbound Marketing Supports Inbound Efforts

When the inbound strategy is already in place, you just need to bring in the right tactics in the outbound context. Outbound marketing has gotten slightly less popular, but when you know how to do it properly, it offers all of the above advantages. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Outbound Marketing

Now that you fully understand what is outbound marketing, it is time to look at its pros and cons and consider them before deciding to use outbound marketing to promote your business. When executed correctly, outbound marketing can be a highly efficient method of expanding your customer base. However, getting it right can be difficult.

Advantages of Outbound Marketing

Here are the main advantages of outbound marketing:

  • Immediate Results

Since you are actively pursuing customers to approach your brand instead of waiting for them to find you, outbound marketing shows immediate results. For example, if someone watches an ad on TV or social media, they are likely to click on the product and take immediate action as urged by the advertisement. The same goes for cold calling. If the customer is interested in what you have to say, they will likely buy the product immediately. 

When it comes to inbound marketing, you are waiting for the audience to stumble upon your business or service. Thus, it takes longer for results to show. 

  • Increased Brand Awareness

Outbound marketing focuses on reaching new customers and increasing brand awareness. Inbound marketing aims to attract the target audience’s and existing customers’ attention. Thus, if your main goal is to boost brand awareness, then outbound marketing is the way to go. Using this approach, you are more likely to reach customers who have never heard of your business before, which helps generate new leads and increase your customer base. 

  • Implementation is Easy

Inbound marketing efforts are time-consuming. In contrast, outbound marketing techniques are easier to carry out, for example, cold calling, which takes minutes to implement and can show much faster positive results than inbound marketing. 

Disadvantages of Outbound Marketing

Several cons of outbound marketing should be considered before choosing this marketing approach. To understand what is inbound and outbound marketing differences, let’s take a look at the cons:

  • Expensive

Even though outbound marketing is easier to implement, it is often much more expensive than inbound marketing. Putting up thousands of billboards or creating a television advertisement is costlier. But what is inbound marketing pro? It may take longer to show results, but executing is much cheaper. For example, social media ads or online ads are inexpensive compared to traditional ads. Small businesses usually opt for inbound marketing since they do not have the budget for outbound marketing, and it can sometimes increase the expenses more than the revenue generated.

  • ROI is Difficult to Measure

Tracking your return on investment (ROI) with outbound marketing, particularly with traditional forms of advertising like TV ads and billboards, can be challenging. Outbound marketing mainly aims to deliver a message, making it easier to determine the number of people you reach but harder to gather specific measurements, like how many people took action after seeing your ad.

  • Easier to Tune Out

Outbound marketing is more annoying since it involves untimely calls, unsolicited junk mail, etc. You can even stumble across legal roadblocks. Moreover, TV and video ads are easier to tune out. The audience highly prefers inbound marketing efforts since they offer information that is of value to potential customers; they even go searching for the services that are being offered through inbound marketing.


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I hope we answered your query about ‘What is outbound marketing?’. Outbound marketing is very much relevant today. Marketing is a highly competitive field, and sometimes relying on consumers to come to you isn’t the right approach. You need to put the brand out there for all to see.

An essential thing to keep in mind is that many inbound marketing principles apply well to the outbound domain. You will need to gauge your target audiences and must be able to provide some value and assist in solving people’s pain points. 

Once you ace these parameters, outbound marketing automatically becomes part of your overall strategy. 

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Kamal Jacob

Blog Author
Kamal is an experienced Online marketing consultant with a high degree of expertise in SEO, Web Analytics, Content/Technical planning and marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1 Is there much difference between the marketing of inbound and outbound types?

Yes, there is ample difference between these forms of marketing. Outbound marketing depends on business initiating interactions, while inbound marketing depends on customers searching for a brand.

2 Is social media part of inbound marketing or outbound marketing?

Social media can be a part of both inbound as well as outbound marketing tactics. Paid ads could be labelled outbound, while organic reach falls into the inbound marketing category.

3 Why is outbound marketing seen as effective?

Outbound marketing is immediate, and this makes the same highly effective.

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