Inbound and Outbound B2B Marketing: Determining the Best Marketing Mix

content marketing content strategy messaging Apr 29, 2021

Marketing is essential for any business and having a complete understanding of your options can be useful in planning for the short term and long term. What marketing activities you decide to facilitate should be aligned with your company goals and values. If there is no cohesiveness between how you will market your product and what your company stands for, your audience might not be able to make a valuable connection to your brand.  

The two primary marketing strategies are inbound marketing and outbound marketing. While inbound and outbound marketing techniques can be effective in achieving results, inbound marketing can be more engaging with customers and significantly cheaper, so it is often implemented more heavily than traditional outbound marketing.  

Let's take a look at marketing activities that fall in these two categories and discuss key objectives to focus on.   

Inbound Marketing 

Inbound marketing strategies aim to spread brand awareness by attracting and engaging audiences with content. Key avenues to support this focus are:  

  • Website. Your website is at the core of your business. As digital marketing becomes more important, being tuned in to all things digital is critical. Having a user-friendly and brand-focused website can be useful in attracting and engaging your audience. This is also where you will keep digital assets like blogs and gated content such as eBooks. 
  • Social Media. Your B2B company should be on social media. Social media allows you to distribute content, share resources and engage with your audience  
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As people search for something in a search engine, they are actively looking for resources that can solve what they are trying to figure out or learn more about. If your content is relevant and has the right keywords for the topic, it can be shown to them.
  • Videoor Webinars. How-to videos and webinars are a great way to attract and engage people. Videos and webinars can draw in a wide range of viewers if the topic of the content is something that suits them.
  • Gated Content. eBooks, whitepapers and any other gated content that you may have can be used for inbound marketing as well. Because the assets are gated, it enables you to capture their content information before they download the asset and grows your database of leads. Your company can use social media, PPC and SEO to drive to these gated content pieces.   

Outbound Marketing  

Outbound marketing strategies focus on pushing a product out to people and then evaluating their interest level.  Key avenues to support this focus are:  

  • Inside Sales. This is a very direct outbound method where you will sell your product or services primarily over the phone and often supplemented with email or other online channels.
  • Print and Online Advertising. Advertising your company's offering can generate revenueDistributing ads to your target audience with impactful messaging can lead them to convert to your goal.
  • Direct Mail. While direct mail might be out of style for some, it can still be effective. 42.2% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get and spent 28% more money than those that did not receive direct mail.
  • Trade Shows and Conferences. These in-person events are a staple for B2B marketers and 85% of B2B leadership believe in-person events are necessary to company success. Promoting your products and services at these large events can generate awareness and even lead to demo requests or purchases on the spot. Even in a virtual world, these can be valuable when done well!
  • Public Relations. Distributing a press release about your company offering or even about recent client success. The reach of this press release can lead to opportunities. 

Determining the Best Marketing Mix 

Your company’s goals, along with internal resource constraints (people, time and money) will determine how you spend your time. While ultimately a combination of inbound and outbound marketing is ideal, the components of inbound marketing also support your outbound efforts – so if you have to prioritize one, inbound is a good place to focus initially!  As specific examples, for inside sales to be effective, you need to have information of interest and value to share when outreach is done.  For advertising or direct mail, you need valuable content to use as your call to action.  For public relations, you need to be able to drive them to a website, etc.  

When it comes to effective marketing, it starts with clear messaging and a unique value proposition. Register for our Create Better Brand Messaging for Better Business Outcomes course. This course guides you, step-by-step, in how to lay the foundation for a brand that’s cohesive, resonant and enduring, driving action from your targets and better business outcomes. 

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