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B2B Marketing: The Outbound vs Inbound Debates | B2B Inbound Online

B2B Marketing: The Outbound vs Inbound Debates

B2B Marketing: The Outbound vs Inbound Debates
4 years, 2 months ago 6

As I sit down to write this post, an ongoing debate continues across the marketing world.  No, it’s not the presidential debate that was last week’s hot topic – although it did provide some excellent fodder for a certain live comedy show that many people like to watch on Saturday nights.  The debate to which I refer today speaks to the somewhat defined split in B2B marketing between outbound and inbound.


What might a B2B marketing debate between the two sides look like?  Here is one possibility I envisioned.  Play along with me, if you will.  I will take on the role as moderator today and let both sides tell us about their B2B marketing platform and their specific insights for each.  So let’s begin.  After the coin toss, it has been fairly decided that we will hear from the outbound representative for B2B marketing first.   The inbound representative will go second.

Moderator:  First, tell us what are some of the main characteristics of outbound B2B marketing?

Outbound Rep:  Outbound marketing is the more traditional and direct means of B2B marketing.  Most marketers know that outbound marketing usually involves cold calling between a representative from one business to a potential lead from a targeted business.  These calls are usually unexpected and may even be unwelcome – especially when the person on the receiving end feels they have received a high-pressure sales call.  Communication may be minimal in these transactions and the call volumes usually need to be very high in order to gain a lead.

Moderator:  Thank you.  Now, to our inbound representative, tell us what some of the main characteristics are for inbound B2B marketing.

Inbound Rep:  Although considered a fairly new form of B2B marketing, inbound marketing has actually been around for a few years.  B2B marketers have only recently become aware of the power of generating leads via inbound methods though, and the learning process still continues.  One main characteristic presents itself as being completely opposite to the tedious and often unwelcome cold call as mentioned above by the outbound representative.  Rather than pestering potential leads via one-way communication, inbound marketing uses strategies which bring interested leads to you.

Moderator:  Thank you.  The next question goes to our outbound B2B marketing representative.  What is one benefit in support of outbound marketing?

Outbound Rep:  Even though many are singing the praises of inbound B2B marketing, there is quite a lot of good to say about the benefit of tradition.  Many clients still embrace outbound, or “old-fashioned” B2B marketing because it still works.  There is some comfort in the familiarity that phone calls, emails, direct mailers, and traditional television/radio ads have for some companies who rely on these techniques to fill their sales funnels.

Moderator:  Excellent points.  And now, I will ask the same of our inbound B2B marketing representative.  Please let us know one of the main benefits of inbound marketing.

Inbound Rep:  One of the main benefits of inbound B2B marketing is that more and more companies are becoming technologically and social media savvy.  As a result, the decision-makers for these companies not only prefer to make their own decisions via online research, but also have gained the knowledge in how to successfully do so.  B2B marketers who have mastered inbound essentials such as content, SEO, and social media engagement, will experience higher rates of success in attracting these more sophisticated leads to their businesses.

Moderator:  Those are excellent points as well.  I’m afraid that is all the time we have for now.  I appreciate the insights and information provided by both sides of the B2B marketing debate.  I hope our audience found the debate to be helpful as well.



I hope you enjoyed my imaginary debate.  How will you decide?  There are certainly benefits and drawbacks to both forms of B2B marketing, so what is my advice to you?  Choose whichever marketing type works best for you, your company, and most importantly – your clients.  I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have as well.



Image courtesy of taoty/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tungphoto/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Featured Image: photo credit: mattbuck4950 via photopin cc





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About Jennifer G. Hanford

Jennifer G. Hanford is the Director of B2B Inbound Online, a division of OnTarget Partners.  She can be reached via email at jhanford@ontargetpartners.com or by phone at 469-200-4909.

6 Responses

  1. Well I think you make great points and I like the debate style post… made it interesting. I am currently doing both. BUT no cold calls. lol. I feel I have found a great mix and though I am training my sales team more on inbound marketing, they have some great connections and I am loving the combination that both methods are providing my biz. But I am a huge fan of Inbound… huge.

    • Thank for the comments and feedback, Angela! I thought it would be fun to put my “spin” on last week’s debates. My company also combines inbound and outbound marketing and the integrated approach does seem to work well. Thanks again!

      Regards, Jennifer

  2. Jennifer… nice spin … Myself? I am more focused on the inbound, but will never lose focus or sight of the outbound. Good article with good info..

    • I appreciate the comments and insight, Jeff. Inbound marketing has definitely been increasing in popularity and isn’t going away. Outbound isn’t going anywhere either…at least not yet.

      Regards, Jennifer

  3. Creative use of timely events and presenting your ideas.

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