What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing attempts to initiate a conversation about a product or service by rapidly spreading word of its existence through a variety of traditional marketing methods. When most non-marketers think of the word “marketing,” its this classic definition that they refer to. Whether a marketer places advertisements on the television or the newspaper, these traditional methods are still highly regarded by many industry professionals.

How can a business spread the word about its new product or service? This very question is what likely led to the development of the marketing field as a whole and is still the top problem pondered by professionals today. While various approaches have come and gone, one tried-and-true strategy has stuck with the field from the onset.

Why use Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing tries to reach consumers through general media advertising as well as through in-person contact. Depending on the venue, the approach can be extremely broad (TV advertising), thoroughly personal (face-to-face meetings), or “impersonally personal” (cold-calling or blanket emails). Through each outbound method, sales leads are generated and then followed by internal sales representatives.

In the past decade, traditional marketing has clashed with inbound marketing (and thus, the designation “outbound marketing”). Inbound marketing is much more web-based, and positions the company to be easily found on the Internet, drawing customers in as they search rather than aggressively going “outbound” to seek them out.

While many larger companies argue that inbound marketing is more effective and efficient, the fact is that until people know and trust a company, there’s very little inbound marketing occurring. Think of inbound marketing as the ongoing development of a relationship; however, you can’t have a relationship without an initial introduction (or at least a chance meeting). Outbound marketing greatly increases the probability of that “first contact,” so that a business relationship can thereafter develop.

Who utilizes Outbound Marketing?

As the Internet and mobile devices grow in popularity and offer new and creative methods of advertising, outbound marketing has lost some of its longstanding appeal. Nonetheless, some companies continue to dedicate as much as 90 percent of their marketing budgets toward outbound marketing.

The goal of outbound marketing is lead generation, making it critical to those businesses looking to gain customers. For those companies looking to get on the map, outbound marketing is often the way to reach the widest possible audience in the shortest amount of time.

Additionally, because certain outbound marketing strategies are no longer preferred methods, for example, a display ad in the Yellow Pages, or cold-calling people in the neighbourhood, advertising through these means has actually become cheaper. Thus, a local restaurant might have a better return on investment through these means than by creating a social media presence.

What kind of customer is Outbound Marketing effective for?

Generally speaking: The older the customer, the stronger the chance that outbound marketing will impact them. For one, it’s the style of marketing most older customers are used to. They’re comfortable with television and radio ads, and may even make a point of scanning newspaper ads and flyers when they’re ready to buy. Whereas inbound marketing is usually delivered via technologies that older consumers still struggle to understand and trust. While the media used in outbound marketing feels more familiar and welcoming.

Outbound marketing also proves to be particularly effective in business-to-business marketing, and/or with transactions involving higher-end products. Although businesses may research other companies (inbound marketing), ultimately they seek personal contacts established through face-to-face meetings, or networking at industry events and trade shows.

How is an Outbound Marketing campaign developed?

Most outbound marketing involves spreading a message to the broadest audience possible. The best outbound marketing strategies will nonetheless be somewhat targeted. No matter what kind of strategy is used, customers, individual or businesses will be wading through a variety of marketing and branding messages, and its up to the business to make their message stand out.

The first step in an outbound marketing campaign is to properly assess a product or service. What makes it stand out or could make it stand out? What need is it meeting in the marketplace and who in particular has those needs?

To determine the answers, businesses must collect data. Customer feedback helps businesses discern the buttons they’re already pushing (or failing to push), while internal customer lists allow them to develop “big pictures” of their current audiences.

With an established target, businesses move to create their messages. These messages generally include something that elicits a specific customer response—a link to a website, a phone number, or a physical address where someone can obtain more information (or use) the product or service.

Depending on the size of their target audience, businesses choose to disseminate their message on a variety of platforms. A mass audience will require some combination of mass media such as television, radio, newspaper, magazine; or a strong Internet presence that could include viral videos, aggressive Facebook and/or affiliate advertising, etc. A local or regional business, on the other hand, may choose to conduct a direct-mail or phone campaign, or even to distribute flyers door-to-door so that there’s a sense of personal engagement (and thus, personal trust and/or obligation) involved. In turn, business-to-business marketers will seek to establish personal alliances through their presence at national and regional industry events, and through regular personal follow-up with potential business customers thereafter.

For more information, learn more about inbound marketinglead generationlead nurturing or lead scoring.

Or, check out the following blogs focusing on lead generation:

Nurture Your Leads With 7 Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics

Outbound Marketing or Inbound Marketing for Lead Gen?

Lead Generation – Ideas

Beyond the Lead Score: Qualify a Lead in 60 Seconds

Combining Inbound & Outbound Marketing Strategies


RAVEN5 is a contest marketing agency, that works with clients in developing and administering consumer programs in Canada and the United States. RAVEN5 works with clients to develop strategies and tactics with a focus on both traditional, digital and online coupons as well as redemption solutions that work for both B2B and B2C consumers. RAVEN5 Ltd. are leaders in Consumer Promotions that produce results.