What Is Outbound Marketing?

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How to Make the First Move with Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing’s persona is confident, bubbly and straight-talking.

This marketing term describes any scenario where a brand makes the first move by attempting to break the ice with their target customer. Sometimes outbound marketing is referred to as interruption marketing as the brand — not the buyer — always initiate the communication.

In this way, brands can start a conversation, spark interest or at times, cause controversy.

The following are popular outbound activities:

  • Cold-calling
  • Push Notifications
  • Email Marketing
  • Feedback Forms
  • Pop-up Ads
  • TV, Radio and Print Ads
  • Digital Advertisements
  • Tradeshows
  • Public Events

Outbound marketing works best when used to raise awareness, instigate action and improve brand recall.

Here are a few examples:

  • Think of Compare The Market’s much-loved meerkats. These guys started as cute mascots and the central plot for entertaining TV advertisements. Since then, they’ve crept onto our movies screens and morphed into toys.
  • Remember Coca-Cola’s anticipated annual Christmas advert. This recurring advertisement feels like a race to be the first person to spot the truck and in turn, claim the beginning of the festive period.
  • Consider Misguided’s strategic push notifications. These messages offer discounts at the most convenient moments forcing customers to resist — or give in to — temptation every single payday.

Customers welcome these forms of interruption.

They may even actively seek them, discussing when this year’s advert will air or holding their wishlist items until this month’s money-off code appears.

Yet as you can imagine, the results of these ballsy tactics can quickly sour.

It all depends on the public’s reaction.

Advertisements that feel forced, presumptuous or downright offensive turn customers off. At worst, they can tarnish a brand’s reputation:

  • Let’s face it, nobody enjoys being sold to on a surprise phone call. Cold calling rarely works. Some may say it relies on victimising the vulnerable and unassuming receiver.
  • Advertisements like Reebok’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement to cheat on your girlfriend — and Dove’s unfortunate comparison of dark and light skin — prove even major brands are guilty of producing offensive advertisements.
  • Plus, even if an ad doesn’t necessarily spark a heated debate, they can run the risk of becoming simply ineffective. We’re pretty sure everyone is desensitised to DFS’ neverending sofa sale by now.

Outbound Marketing vs Inbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is the sister (or brother) of inbound marketing.

As a shyer, yet smoother version of its older sibling, inbound marketing is increasingly popular with modern-day marketers who know the importance of transparency and trust when it comes to building buyer relationships.

This doesn’t make outbound marketing obsolete, yet it does tell us a few things about its fundamental flaws:

  • It’s harder to calculate the ROI of outbound marketing. Since interruptive advertising is usually conveyed through mediums that aren’t owned by the company itself — TV channels, radio and magazines etc. — it’s harder to calculate the reach and success of such campaigns or whether viewers made a buying decision directly as a result of this.
  • Outbound marketing is a high-stakes gamble. Like proposing to your partner, outbound marketing can change the nature of your relationship with your customers — for better or for worse. When outbound marketing is done right, your brand recall can skyrocket. When done incorrectly, outbound marketing can kill your brand’s ambitions and attract negative attention.
  • Your outbound marketing efforts can be ignored. Despite the entire point of outbound marketing as an interruption, the invention of the ad blocker allows audiences to effectively erase your efforts when browsing content online. What’s more, many modern customers are becoming immune to traditional advertising after being bombarded with an influx of advertisements every day.
  • As well as being uncertain, it’s expensive. Outbound marketing usually involves a high level of production and some sort of payout to a promoter. With more people involved, outbound advertisements end up being costly, with no solid promise of profit. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is controlled in-house and relies on nothing more than expertise and honesty.

This doesn’t mean you have to be a gambler with cash to splash to get involved with outbound marketing or else forfeit your chances of running any type of traditional advertisement.

However, the consensus is to keep some of your chips off the table by adopting a blended approach incorporating inbound and outbound activities.

What’s an Outbound Marketing Strategy? What Should It Include?

These days, an outbound marketing strategy looks vastly different from what it did in the advertising boom that started in the ’50s.

The biggest difference is how your outbound marketing strategy is devised.

Creative types will no longer make wild guesses about how popular a concept will be with the public.

Marketing has become much more orderly and reliant on data. As a result, outbound marketing strategies are now largely informed by other promotional activities and major milestones in your business — namely, what you’re doing when it comes to inbound marketing.

Are you creating an ebook for customers to read before committing to your services? You could make this the subject of your next PPC campaign.

Similarly, remarketing works well as a contemporary outbound marketing technique.

This is the process of tracking people who have shown interest in your website or advertising before and showing them more promotional stuff.

It might sound stalker-like, but in practice, it’s more stealthy.

Remarketing is now an effective way to follow up with those engaged with your inbound marketing by drawing them in using outbound materials.

Don’t Write off Outbound Marketing

Die-hard inbound marketing fans — like the concept’s creator, HubSpot — may have you believe outbound marketing is dead.

This simply isn’t true.

While a softer and more informational approach makes for reasoned relationships and happier customers, outbound marketing still plays a pivotal role in promotion.

Outbound marketing cultivates that crucial chance encounter and gets eyes on the valuable inbound content prize that you’ve worked so hard to produce.

Outbound marketing is less of an outdated sibling and more of a strategic sidekick.

With this in mind, don’t say goodbye to outbound marketing just yet.

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