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How to Create an Inbound & Outbound Marketing Strategy

DATE PUBLISHED: March 18, 2015

combining inbound and outbound marketingTo paraphrase Mark Twain, “the death of outbound marketing has been greatly exaggerated.” That's because many principles of outbound marketing—print television advertisements, billboards, and yes, even the dreaded cold call—can still prove valuable to certain business functions and industries.

For example, as many solar salespeople will tell you, there's something tremendously valuable about giving a residential lead a sales brochure. Therefore, we here at Palmer continue to see advertising departments in specific industries like retail and manufacturing embrace good, old-fashioned outbound techniques. The trick isn't whether to go “inbound” or “outbound,” but instead combining inbound and outbound marketing to create a hybrid approach. And here's now to do it. 

First off, examine your existing advertising tactics and channels. Ask yourself, “Who are our buyer personas and what approaches most effectively speak to them?” Younger demographics will naturally gravitate towards more inbound-oriented approaches like social media. Older demographics may still appreciate the periodic mailing. Baby Boomer demographics may be somewhere in between.

Also understand that the product or service that you're selling may not be intuitively aligned to an inbound or outbound approach. If you're a health plan provider, it's important to have a social media presence. However, you can't effectively explain the ins and outs of a health plan in a Tweet or a blog post. These inbound techniques have to act as a bridge towards a more outbound-oriented approach like sending out hardcopies of health plans.

Advertising also requires close collaboration with the in-house marketing department—a function that has their own inbound and outbound techniques. Therefore, it's important both entities are on the same page. For example, let's say the marketing department helps to roll out an eBlast with a Call to Action. They run an analytical report and find that a certain demographic had a disproportionate higher CTR, suggesting that this demographic can be leveraged in the “outbound” world. There's just one problem: no one conveyed this news to the advertising department, who has been running ads based on six-month old data. That's not good.

Ultimately, your firm's advertising approach will be a hybrid model, combining inbound and outbound marketing techniques. The details hinge on your industry, buyer personas, products and services, and the extent to which your ad team is dialed in to the marketing side.