Outbound marketing refers to any form of marketing where the customer is contacted by the business such as email marketing or cold calling. It can also refer to TV and radio advertisements where customers will receive a marketing message that they have not given express permission to receive.
Many businesses will spend the largest portion of their advertising budget on outbound marketing as it is the form of advertising that has been around for the longest period of time and it is accepted by a lot of businesses that spending money on this form of advertising is just something that has to be done. However, there a number of problems with outbound marketing that mean that it may not be such a good choice to receive the majority of an advertising budget.
The main problem with outbound marketing is that customers can choose to ignore it. Many households now have a DVR which means that television commercials are usually forwarded rather than being watched. If email campaigns are not permission based then the emails are likely to end up in the spam folder and will probably be deleted before they are read. It is hard to track the ROI for outbound marketing because it is not always clear where the leads have come from. The cost of a traditional outbound marketing campaign is likely to be high and the yield that it produces does not always make this investment worth it.
An alternative to outbound marketing is a more modern approach to advertising known as inbound marketing. As the name suggests it is based on opposite approaches to marketing than outbound marketing. Instead of the business giving its message to the customer, inbound marketing involves the customer finding the business. More emphasis is put on advertising that allows the business to be easily found when the customer makes an internet search for a search term that is relevant to that business. The customer will then make some form of contact with the business, such as visiting their website or sending an email enquiry, instead of the other way round.
Businesses do get results from outbound marketing otherwise it would have not become as popular as it is. However, as society seems to be entering an increasingly digital age traditional forms of marketing may no longer be as effective. While completely cutting outbound marketing from the advertisement budget may be a step too far, companies are likely to find that by allocating a larger portion of the budget to inbound marketing can make a real difference to the ROI of the marketing budget.