Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is often referred to as the traditional form of advertising. Here, the advertising company contacts 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.

The key contrast between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is the way the relationship between the customer and the company is established:

In inbound marketing, customers come to the company. The customer is looking for a specific piece of information, and the company provides that information.
In outbound marketing, the company addresses the customers.

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

  • Promotional e-mails,
  • direct mailings,
  • cold calls by telephone,
  • posters,
  • print, TV, radio and online advertising,
  • Sponsoring

Why Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing has seemingly lost importance as “old marketing” in recent times. Due to the high reach and associated scattering losses, 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. Particularly in the case of web-based classic marketing methods, spam blockers, adblockers and adfilters set limits on the effectiveness of direct advertising. Companies are therefore increasingly offering information that can be found by potential customers in order to generate leads. They are increasingly relying on inbound marketing, using software such as Hubspot and the possibilities of social media and SEO, for example.

However, the obvious advantage of outbound marketing is its wide reach. Of course, this advantage is associated with high scattering losses: Thus, advertising for “typical” women’s products inevitably confronts men as well. But in order to publicize a brand’s new design, for example – online and offline, via social media or TV – classic, 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: ads in print media, but also online ads, TV commercials and mass emails. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tends to be less important for direct online advertising. The reach of the advertising always depends on the selected medium, but it is usually much higher than for corresponding inbound measures.

Positive aspects of marketing are always associated with risks. It is therefore important to proceed with sensitivity when selecting and applying advertising methods.


  • Large reach
  • High scattering losses


  • Presence strengthens brand awareness Intrusive advertising lowers brand reputation
  • Suitable for print, TV, radio Less suitable for social media

The opposite: inbound marketing

Inbound marketing relies on the product being found by the customer. In order for the target group to find the product, search engine optimization (SEO) is indispensable – at least when it comes to the online sector. The three buzzwords for inbound marketing are therefore content, SEO and social media. The inbound strategy focuses on online content that is searched for by customers, for example on social media portals or via Google. For information to be found on Google, SEO is indispensable.

But today, companies also rely on classic advertising measures that have proven their worth over many years. Outbound and inbound are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, many companies are trying to combine old and new marketing strategies in order to actively acquire new customers or strengthen ties with existing customers with a well thought-out CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

Inbound marketing benefits from digital developments. This is because the Internet offers new advertising methods that go beyond the traditional possibilities of outbound marketing. But even in online advertising, speaking directly to customers is inexpensive and success is measurable. Example:

  • Advertising in a newspaper comes at a high cost. These costs depend, among other things, on the newspaper’s circulation. Whether so many copies are actually sold is uncertain. 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 repeatedly shown a specific article.

Using reach, minimizing wastage

In order to minimize the scattering loss of outbound marketing, local SEO is an option in digital marketing. In traditional advertising, local companies can also limit cinema advertising to local light theaters, for example. The same applies to radio and television commercials. This method is particularly suitable for small and medium-sized companies with comparatively small advertising budgets.

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

if, on the one hand, the wide reach of the mass media is used to generate interest in a product
and, on the other hand, providing effective online tools for customers. These tools make it easier to get to know the product.

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

TV commercials are shown during programs for specific age groups.
Advertisements on the Internet appear on blogs relevant to the target group.
Promotional e-mails are targeted at specific customer groups.
Direct mail is delivered regionally.

Classic methods of outbound marketing

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

Mass emails are a very inexpensive method of outbound marketing, but generally viewed negatively. They often end up in the customer’s spam folder and are usually not opened. In order to still have a chance of getting noticed, the wording of the subject line is essential.

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

The advantages of outbound marketing are particularly obvious in the B2B (business to business) sector. It is precisely here that information finds potential interest if the target group is accurately selected by a company. If a customer responds to a B2B inquiry, inbound marketing basically begins. In this way, outbound marketing can become the trigger for inbound marketing. Particularly in cold calling, the number of rejections can be reduced through systematic monitoring of the competition and professional CRM.

Outbound marketing is still an advertising method that has great significance. Even through social media and SEO, nothing has changed in principle. Especially for creating brand awareness, many outbound methods are still suitable. After all, brand awareness requires a presence in the public eye – even if the addressee is not specifically looking for it.

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