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Inbound marketing is a fundamental shift in marketing.

Yes, nowadays we focus more on list building, call-to-actions, lead magnets, viral loops, conversion rates, landing page optimization, a/b-testing, marketing automation, and all of that fancy stuff often associated with online marketing in general, and inbound marketing in particular.

But inbound marketing is so much more than just using various types of software to capture online leads.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

What is inbound marketing — and is there such a thing as ‘outbound marketing’? Here’s a slide with a few examples to illustrate the difference:

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
This issue is black-and-white.

This way of drawing the line between those who know you and those who don’t know you is nothing new:

  • In traditional marketing, this has been referred to as the difference between “push- and pull marketing.”
  • In sales, this is the classic difference between “hot- and cold leads.”
  • In public relations, we refer to inbound audiences as various types of “publics.”
  • Seth Godin coined the phrase “permission marketing.”

Still, this doesn’t mean that inbound has ever been a priority in marketing.


Most organizations see inbound audiences as already paid for and thus in no need of further attention.

Hence, most companies rather pour their marketing budgets into various outbound activities. “Why spend more on those already ‘acquired’?”

But in a wired world, that’s a poor strategy.

Inbound Marketing is a Mindset

Jerry Silver aka Doctor Spin.
Jerry Silfwer (Doctor Spin) speaks about inbound marketing.

Most companies want more traffic, more fans, more emails, and more sales. But in most cases, reaching new outbound audiences isn’t the real problem:

If you pay to 10x your traffic to compensate for lack of organic growth, then what? Now you have 10x the number of people who are bored and not engaged.

Or, in other words:

Advertising is the tax you pay for not being remarkable.

However, if you manage to activate and engage your existing audience, it won’t stay small for much longer. Because in a wired world, people influence each other.

And that’s the real power of inbound marketing.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing.001
The time has come to draw a line in the sand.

Do you agree with me? Please share your view in the comment section.

Photo by marcos mayer on Unsplash.