What is outbound marketing in digital marketing

Outbound marketing

Outbound Marketing: Brief Explanation

Outbound marketing is often referred to as the traditional form of advertising. The advertising company addresses the target group directly and provides them with an advertising message. The difference to inbound marketing lies in the communication direction of the first contact.

Detailed explanation:

The crucial contrast between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is the way in which the relationship between the customer and the company is established:

  • In inbound marketing, customers come to the company. The customer is looking for certain information, the company provides this information.
  • With outbound marketing, the company addresses its customers.

Typical outbound measures are confrontational advertising methods. The potential customers are addressed directly, for example through

  • Promotional emails,
  • Direct mail,
  • Cold calling by phone,
  • Posters,
  • Print, TV, radio and online advertising,
  • Sponsorship

Why outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing has apparently lost its importance as "old marketing" in recent times. Due to the high range and the associated wastage, the ROI - i.e. the financial success - of outbound measures is difficult to measure. The costs therefore tend to be higher than for inbound measures. In the case of classic web-based marketing methods in particular, spam blockers, ad blockers and ad filters set limits to the effectiveness of direct advertising. Companies are therefore increasingly offering information that potential customers can find in order to generate leads. You are increasingly relying on inbound marketing and use software such as Hubspot and the possibilities of social media and SEO for this.

The obvious advantage of outbound marketing, however, is its large reach. This advantage is of course associated with high wastage: Men are inevitably also confronted with advertising for “typical” women’s products. However, in order to make the new design of a brand known - online and offline, via social media or TV - traditional, confrontational advertising is still necessary. Clever advertising strategies rely on an intelligent combination of both marketing strategies.

Overview: advantages and disadvantages of outbound marketing

Many channels play a role in outbound marketing: advertisements in print media, but also online advertisements, TV advertisements and mass e-mails. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tends to be less important for direct online advertising. The reach of advertising always depends on the selected medium, but it is usually much higher than with corresponding inbound measures.

Positive aspects of marketing are always associated with risks. It is therefore important to be sensitive to the choice and use of advertising methods.


Large ranges
Presence strengthens brand awarenessIntrusive advertising lowers brand reputation
Suitable for print, TV, radioLess suitable for social media


The opposite: inbound marketing

Inbound marketing relies on the product being found by the customer. Search engine optimization (SEO) is indispensable for the target group to find the product - at least when it comes to the online area. The three keywords for inbound marketing are therefore content, SEO and social media. The inbound strategy relies on online content that customers are looking for, for example on social media portals or via Google. In order for information to be found on Google, SEO is essential.

But even today companies rely on classic advertising measures that have proven themselves over many years. Outbound and inbound are not mutually exclusive. Rather, many companies try to combine old and new marketing strategies in order to actively win new customers or to consolidate the loyalty to existing customers with a well thought-out CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

Inbound marketing benefits from digital developments. Because there are new advertising methods on the Internet that go beyond the traditional possibilities of outbound marketing. But direct customer language is also inexpensive in online advertising and success is measurable. An example:

  • Advertisement in a newspaper is associated with high costs. These costs depend, among other things, on the circulation of the newspaper. It is uncertain whether that many copies will actually be sold. And not every buyer of the newspaper sees the ad.
  • Online advertising, on the other hand, can be placed precisely - even on social media. Targeting, for example, relies on people who have already shown interest in a particular article. While surfing, these people are shown a specific article over and over again.

Use ranges, minimize wastage

In order to minimize the wastage of outbound marketing, local SEO is ideal in digital marketing. Even in traditional advertising, local companies can, for example, limit cinema advertising to on-site light theaters. The same applies to radio and television spots. This method is particularly suitable for small and medium-sized companies with comparatively low advertising budgets.

The best results in marketing are achieved by combining different channels. This is possible,

  • if, on the one hand, the large reach of the mass media is used to arouse interest in a product,
  • and on the other hand, effective online tools are provided to customers. These tools make it easier to get to know the product.

The selection of the most promising channels for the placement of classic advertising is also important for successful outbound marketing:

  • TV spots are shown on programs for specific age groups.
  • Advertisements on the Internet appear on blogs relevant to target groups.
  • Promotional emails are aimed at specific customer groups.
  • Direct mail is delivered regionally.

Classic methods of outbound marketing

One advantage of classic advertising methods (flyers, regional direct mail or targeted e-mails) is their openness. The message is clearly marked as an advertising message. The addressee knows what he is about and decides whether the product is relevant for him or not. In outbound marketing, this reaction is usually not visible to other customers. In this way, damage to reputation through negative reactions, for example in social media forums, can be avoided from the outset.

Bulk e-mails are a very cheap, but generally negative, method of outbound marketing. They often end up in the customer's spam folder and are usually not opened. In order to still get a chance of being noticed, the formulation of the subject is essential.

There are also many disadvantages to telephone marketing. This type of advertising is restricted by law. Here, advertisers run the risk of paying penalties for violations. Incidentally, telephone marketing in particular regularly encounters defensive reactions from customers.

The advantages of outbound marketing are especially evident in the B2B (business to business) area. Because this is where information is of potential interest if the target group is accurately selected by a company. When a customer responds to a B2B inquiry, inbound marketing basically begins. In this way, outbound marketing can become the trigger for inbound marketing. With cold calling in particular, the number of rejections can be reduced through systematic competition monitoring and professional CRM.


Outbound marketing is still a very important advertising method. In principle, nothing has changed as a result of social media and SEO. Many outbound methods are still suitable, especially for creating brand awareness. Because the awareness of a brand requires its presence in the public - even if the addressee is not specifically looking for it.




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