Perfect Your Outbound-Inbound Marketing Balance

Posted on by Grant Johnson

Life is about balance. The balance between your work and personal life. The right ratio of diet to exercise. So why should the outbound-inbound marketing be different?

In days gone-by it was the right combination between the image-driven brand creative and the quicker call-to-action and response of direct marketing. Today that discussion has shifted to inbound marketing; but folks are forgetting about the power of balancing that strategy with outbound marketing’s proven effectiveness.

No doubt the ad game has changed and continues to evolve rapidly. Inbound, which includes organic and paid Internet search marketing, blogging, social media, and content development, has grown with the increase in Internet usage and ubiquitous connectivity. The problem here is that while many marketers shift budgets to inbound, the congestion increases and results wane.

So does this type of marketing work? Yes. Sometimes.

Then we have outbound marketing. It includes traditional media (TV, Radio, Newspaper/Magazines, Direct Mail, e-mail, the use of a sales person/team, trade shows and PR), and is still used to influence those who might not find you, do not know you exist, or when launching a new product or service, including upgrading an existing one, typically to a broader audience. While effective it’s expensive and takes longer to ramp up and read test results.

So does this type of marketing work? Yes. Sometimes.

A company website acts as a balance of the two types of marketing, as it can accomplish both types of marketing, hence its importance to marketing efforts today. The same with landing pages/microsites.

Today, just like we’ve discovered from the past, we need to employ marketing that uses a combination of BOTH inbound and outbound strategies and tactics in order to increase our odds of success.

Inbound assumes, incorrectly, that your prospects will typically find you. With media and communication proliferation, the time to do due diligence is shrinking.  We simply have too many demands on our time. Thus, a combination of the two approaches makes more sense.

When done in unison you can scale quicker and more efficiently. Try and test aggressively with inbound tactics and take your findings and apply them to your outbound marketing efforts, continuing to test there as well. Test offers and/or messaging first and concentrate on key metrics – conversions instead of clicks for example.

This will allow you to determine what offers/messaging is working and confirm or debunk its effectiveness with your outbound approach, playing close attention to each channel and its ROI. If you have the offer/messaging down, you can go to market faster and with more early success.

By example, we used inbound to test a soft offer (“Be the first to know about…”) against two hard offers, a free collectible vs. a free hat. The hard offer won, but to the clients surprise the cheaper ball cap easily beat the expensive collectible.

We then used these findings to get aggressive with our outbound efforts, and successfully tested a new outbound channel, paid banner ads and landing pages along with traditional direct mail.

The client saved money, had an impressive ROI and determined what strategy to go to market with quicker based on a combination of inbound and outbound marketing.

The bottom line is that we live in a multi-channel marketing world. Those who understand this, along with the need for testing and more testing, will be the ones who end up taking the money to the bank.

Grant A. Johnson is the ambassador of fun at Johnson Direct/Responsory. He can be reached at [email protected]




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