The Foundation of Marketing: The Philosophical Difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing
If Muhammad will not come to the mountain, then the mountain will come to Muhammad. But what if Muhammad doesn’t want the mountain to come to him? What if Muhammad say, prefers to lounge at the coast of the black sea instead of having to climb a bloody mountain in his free time? Does anyone even care on what Muhammad actually wants? That rant just sounds like a bunch of malarkey but this existential dilemma between the mountain and Muhammad sits at the core of the philosophical difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
When it comes to the discussion of marketing, the average public probably recognizes the practice of outbound marketing as what is traditionally known as traditional marketing. By comparison, inbound marketing is considerably less in-your-face and subtler than outbound marketing and this low-key approach is what sometimes makes inbound marketing more preferable. For Melbourne SEO services and marketers looking to get ahead in their marketing efforts, understanding the difference between the two and knowing just the right time to use them is essential.
An overview of outbound marketing and inbound marketing
When you’re watching a Formula 1 race only to have the live broadcast interrupted by an ad for KFC, which don’t ask me how and why but happened once while I was on a trip abroad, what you’re seeing is an example of outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is a marketing practice in which you’re essentially shoving your brand down the throat of an unsuspecting public whether they want to or not. Pesky YouTube ads, commercial breaks and billboard ads you see on your commute are all forms of outbound marketing. If your brand is the mountain and the public is Muhammad, outbound marketing is where the mountain comes to Muhammad.
Back when passive consumption of media were still the norm and we have little control on what would air on TV, on the radio and what we see on the magazines we read, outbound marketing is simply inescapable. Right now though, with ad blockers installed on our browser and the various ways we have now in enjoying music, film & other media, outbound marketing has somewhat fallen out of favor with brands and companies adopting a subtler way of reaching out to potential customers through the practice of inbound marketing.
In the practice of inbound marketing, brands and marketers attempt to pull in potential customers first without overly promoting themselves. It’s both subtle and indirect, engaging potential customers with quality contents before attempting to turn engagement into sales in the process commonly referred to as conversion. The practice of content marketing, search engine optimization and native advertising are all examples of inbound marketing and their popularity has more or less exploded in recent years.
The brand fatigue of 21st century
The rise of the internet didn’t simply change the medium of marketing, it changed the way they’re delivered and the message embedded in the marketing as well. Earlier this year, a video ad went viral courtesy of a Tweet from Ryan Simmons of SB Nation. In the viral Tweet, Simmons shared a link to a video while challenging users to guess the brand behind the ad, which was only mentioned right at the end of the video. The ad turned out to be from the sandwich chain Subway but there was absolutely nothing in the video that would remotely suggest a sandwich chain.
These over-the-top commercials are definitely a hoot to watch but they don’t necessarily add anything of value to the viewers. Sure, you get to see a lavishly produced piece of short filmmaking but you’re not really getting anything tangible out of this other than the fact that Subway must’ve had a lot of money and time in their hands. You’re still pretty much left in the dark about what kind of sandwiches does Subway make, why they’re different from other business that sells sandwiches or pretty much anything about sandwiches. Is it any wonder that consumers at large are getting tired of these kinds of marketing?
Outbound marketing has fallen somewhat out of favor because people would rather enjoy something they’re actually interested in and completely in their terms. They’d prefer to read thinkpieces or see memes on a subject they actually like in their time instead of having to see a rather aimless commercial that has absolutely no point other than to get the name of their brand in front of the eyes of the public. This is primarily why inbound marketing has rocketed in popularity in recent years.
Outbound marketing is useful to give you a shot in the arm
Inbound marketing is effective at easing potential customers to recognize the value of your brand. By catering to their needs and offering contents they’re actually interested in, inbound marketing works by drawing their interest and finally earning their trust before asking for their commitment. On the other hand, if the idea is to simply raise public awareness of your brand, outbound marketing is still more effective, even if it has a rather crude way of achieving that goal and technology too has turned the practice of outbound marketing into something that’s considerably more useful.
For example, I’ve seen several ads in Instagram that I feel was perfectly suited to my needs at the time. I bought several shirts for work through a brand I saw an Instagram ad and I once went to a lovely pop-up bazaar from an ad I also saw on Instagram. Of course, this might be because I spend too much time on Instagram that they’ve already had a good deal of data on me but this has also shown that outbound marketing can be attuned to customer’s needs as well thanks to technology and brands shouldn’t completely stay away from outbound marketing just because they carry a bad rap.