For those unaware of the difference:
-Inbound marketing pulls in prospects and customers via organic search, blogs and other social media.
-Outbound marketing pushes out messages using paid media, live events, etc.
So is everything but inbound marketing sorta obsolete these days? Short answer: No.
I was surprised the inbound aficionado even made that remark, as was my friend, who told me how many marketers he knows who still consider a good chunk of their inbound marketing experimental.
Some personal history: I embraced inbound marketing early (signed on with Typepad in 2005, and before Facebook pages existed, launched a FB marketing group that became the largest of its kind). My entire career has been in marketing. I’ve obviously been a bit involved in outbound stuff as well.
My take: There’s little to debate here. Naturally, if your objectives, goals, and dreams are met through organic search, blogs, Facebook pages, a YouTube channel, and so on, you needn’t bother putting money into paid media.
Not in that boat? You’re far from alone. Many if not most marketers need a combination of inbound and outbound. They simply don’t acquire enough of the right leads, customers, donors, members, or subscribers through inbound marketing. In these cases, it’s best to optimize the use of inbound – and then add the most cost-effective mix of outbound until objectives are met.
You’ll find two common ways of deriving a marketing mix. One is based on speculative leaps – often linked closely with long-held opinions and biases.
Now that’s what I call “old school.”
The alternative is to optimize your inbound marketing program – and then test your way through relevant outbound marketing options. It’s key to measure these experiments and make important decisions based on facts.
Think of your potential acquisition sources as “buckets.” After making the most of your inbound buckets, fill up your most productive outbound bucket, followed by the next, and so on, until your objectives are reached.
How do you know which acquisition sources are best for you? Again, the answer is to test your way to success. You may find that inbound marketing yields the highest ROI percentage, but outbound marketing provides the highest total profits.
Don’t expect your answers to be entirely obvious. An integrated media mix often makes it difficult or impossible to track 100% of revenue back to original sources. In some cases, it’s even debatable what is inbound and what is outbound: email is one example.
Doesn't really matter. What counts is that you go in with an open mind, run interesting experiments, and make the right moves to optimize your outcomes.