Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing: Which One Should You Choose?

Team Pepper
Posted on 19/01/227 min read
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing: Which One Should You Choose?

Table of Contents

  • What Is Inbound Marketing?
  • Examples of Inbound Marketing
  • What Is Outbound Marketing?
  • Examples of Outbound Marketing
  • Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
  • Key Takeaways
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Businesses rely on various forms of marketing to draw in customers. It can sometimes be as simple as pitching products directly, delivering brochures, or running advertisements. Marketing also involves complex strategies that are taken up by well-funded marketing departments. But, regardless of the complexity or size of the marketing strategy, it will always be broken down into two types: inbound marketing and outbound marketing.

If you’re wondering what is inbound marketing and what is outbound marketing, you have come to the right place. In this blog, we talk about inbound marketing vs outbound marketing, and which marketing strategy is best for your business. 


What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a method used by different businesses to draw in potential customers, rather than aggressively advertising products and services to them. It’s a smart process designed to attract, engage, and delight customers, while also trying to drive growth. 

Examples of Inbound Marketing

Before we proceed further, let’s talk about the different forms of inbound marketing. There are many tactics to use when it comes to inbound marketing strategies. Given below are a few examples. 


Blogging is a popular form of inbound marketing that is widely used today. According to HubSpot, marketers who focus on blogging are 13 times more likely to receive a positive return on investment (ROI). So, the more consistent and valuable your blogs are, the higher your chance of succeeding. 

White papers

A white paper is another fantastic tool when it comes to inbound marketing strategies. It is a well-researched, educational type of content that provides users with in-depth information. It is a more formal piece of writing that adds a lot of value.


Many businesses have now started creating ebooks to drive traffic. An ebook allows you to build your brand image. It is usually free and is mostly exchanged for customer information. If you are planning to create an ebook for your inbound marketing strategy, you must take it seriously. It requires sophistication and a lot of focus.

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is quite different from inbound marketing. If we compare inbound vs outbound marketing, we will see that with outbound marketing, you can reach out to potential customers or get in touch with them rather than waiting for people to contact you. It’s a traditional form of marketing that pushes messaging to potential customers. Outbound marketing focuses on activities like seminar series, trade shows, and cold calling. It’s a costly form of marketing and ROI is much lower, as compared to inbound marketing.

Examples of Outbound Marketing

Before we begin the discussion: outbound marketing vs inbound marketing, let us look at a few examples of the former. 

Traditional advertising

Traditional advertising is a form of outbound marketing. It includes billboards and TV advertisements. 

Cold calling

Cold calling is another form of outbound marketing that is quite effective if done properly. Today, easy-to-use software can help monitor discussions and also keep track of outbound leads.

Cold emails

Today, with so many tools to maintain and monitor databases, marketers can get in touch with thousands of customers. With well-designed software platforms, it’s easy to create great campaigns and functional emails.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Finally, it’s time to talk about inbound vs outbound marketing. With inbound marketing, you create tactics and content to spread brand awareness. This is done so that people can learn more about your brand and its offerings. In inbound marketing, you also provide users with meaningful information that solves their problems and answers their queries. 

Through the content you share on social media and other platforms, people may go to your website to find out more about your brand and show interest, which could potentially lead to a sale. Inbound marketing helps create relationships and build brand loyalty. So, instead of calling up and chasing customers, inbound marketing focuses on motivating customers to contact you. 


Due to their obtrusive nature, outbound marketing strategies can cause the users to feel irritated, which can have a negative effect on your brand image. Plus, outbound marketing strategies take up a lot of effort and time, and may not yield the results you desired. If we compare outbound vs inbound marketing, we will see that outbound marketing is more time-consuming, costly, and has a limited reach. However, outbound marketing could be used to popularize brands locally or reach non-digital consumers. India is not yet a fully digitalized country. So, there is potential for outbound marketing to convert customers. 

Whether you go for inbound or outbound marketing largely depends on the overall vision of your business and what exactly you are wanting to achieve. It also depends on who your audience is, and what they require. Some methods of outbound marketing can be quite costly, making it difficult for many small businesses. Hence, it’s fair to say that you must try and focus on using a combination of outbound and inbound marketing, as both can work closely together.

Key Takeaways

  • Inbound marketing is a strategy that is used by different businesses to draw in potential customers.
  • Outbound marketing is different from inbound marketing. With outbound marketing, you reach out to potential customers, rather than waiting for people to contact you. It’s a traditional form of marketing that pushes messaging on to potential customers.
  • Some examples of inbound marketing are blogs, white papers, and ebooks.
  • Examples of outbound marketing are traditional advertising, cold calls, and cold emails.
  • Whether you go for inbound or outbound marketing largely depends on the overall objectives of your business. Some methods of outbound marketing can be quite expensive, making it difficult for many small businesses. 


Today, marketing has undergone a lot of changes, thanks to digitization. However, some traditional marketing strategies still work and will continue to be used by a lot of businesses. There is no one way to settle the inbound marketing vs outbound marketing debate. Both inbound marketing and outbound marketing work well in the B2B environment. But, which one you must go in for will depend on the specific requirements of your business and its audience. 


1. How to create an inbound marketing strategy?

Here are a few ways to create an inbound marketing strategy. 
– Building buyer personas. 
– Set your inbound marketing strategy objectives. 
– Outline your customer’s triggers and pain points. 
– Create a list of keywords. 
– Align content with the buyer’s journey. 
– Create a lead-nurturing process. 
– Practice conversion-focused blogging. 
– Build a team of inbound marketing strategy experts.

2. What is the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing?

With outbound marketing, you try to reach out to consumers to get them interested in your services or products. However, inbound marketing focuses on creating the right content and distributing it smartly so that customers contact you. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is a form of continuous advertising, which may come across as pushy to many consumers. To make outbound less pushy, the brand has to ensure that they are churning out enough inbound content to satisfy the customers. It may seem that outbound won’t yield enough results while comparing inbound vs outbound marketing. However, outbound provides the CTA and effectively places the product that definitely leads to a conversion. Most of the inbound marketing efforts are directed towards informing customers about the product that helps them in the buyer decision-making process.


3. What are the five principles of inbound marketing?

The five principles of inbound marketing are: 
1. Standardize
2. Contextualize
3. Optimize
4. Personalize
5. Empathize
The most important principle to keep in mind when doing inbound marketing is to always provide value to the consumer. In inbound vs outbound marketing, inbound focuses on churning out informative content, while outbound focuses on promoting the brand’s product and services. 

4. What are some examples of outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is also called interruption marketing as it pitches the brand’s products while consumers are watching or passing by some other form of media. Pop-ups, pop-unders, search spam, television, radio, and printed billboards,  cold emails, cold calling, press releases, outbound sales calls, paid app reviews,  are some examples of outbound marketing.  While inbound marketing educates consumers about how their brand can alleviate their pain points, outbound marketing persuades consumers to buy the product. A brand needs to utilize both inbound and outbound marketing to increase sales and conversions.

5. What are examples of inbound marketing?

Some examples of inbound marketing are topical blogs, social media campaigns, ebooks, search-engine-optimized website text, viral videos, and web-based seminars. Try to provide value to your customers at every step. Between inbound and outbound advertising, inbound marketing focuses on giving value to the customers in exchange for following, comments, shares, or any other form of engagement, while outbound marketing focuses on promoting their brand or products. Both are crucial to achieving the best possible results from marketing strategies.

6. How must you choose between inbound marketing and outbound marketing?

To sort the dilemma between inbound and outbound marketing, let us go over what value each puts in a business. It largely depends on the overall objective of your business and what exactly you are wanting to achieve. Inbound marketing usually refers to targeted informative digital content that is brought out to solve customers’ issues and help them understand the product better. They are more cost-effective. It is easier to measure the returns against social media advertising. They also reflect the brand’s values and are the first channel of communication between a customer and the brand. 

Outbound marketing refers to non-digital content that is pushed towards customers to convince them to buy the product. Since these mostly involve telemarketing, media advertisements like banner advertising, radio, and television advertisements, and utilizing email channels, their reach is limited as compared to inbound marketing strategies. If we compare inbound vs outbound marketing, inbound marketing has more flexibility and is an all-encompassing strategy with multiple channels. However, you can use outbound marketing to popularize amongst the local audience. Both are beneficial and can be customized as per your needs.