Outbound marketing reaches consumers in two ways. This occurs through general media advertising as well as 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 larger companies argue that inbound marketing is more effective and efficient, the fact is that until people know and trust a company’s brand, there’s very limited effective 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.
The Four Categories of Traditional Marketing Strategies
Print marketing is the oldest form of traditional marketing. Loosely defined as advertising in paper form, this strategy has been in use since ancient times, when Egyptians created sales messages and wall posters on papyrus. Today, print marketing usually refers to advertising space in newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and other printed materials intended for distribution.
Broadcast marketing includes television and radio advertisements. Radio broadcasts have been around since the 1900s, and the first commercial broadcast—a radio program supported by on-air advertisements—aired on November 2, 1920. Television, the next step in entertainment technology, was quicker to adopt advertising, with less than ten years between its inception and the first television commercial.
Direct mail marketing uses printed material like postcards, brochures, letters, catalogues, and fliers sent through postal mail or hand delivered door to door to attract consumers.
Finally, telephone marketing, or telemarketing, is the practice of delivering sales messages over the phone to convince consumers to buy a product or service. This form of marketing has become somewhat controversial in the modern age, with many telemarketers using aggressive sales tactics. The Australian government has passed strict laws governing the use of telemarketing to combat some of these techniques.
Which Customers does Outbound Marketing appeal to?
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—(most of) 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.
The best ROI on Outbound Marketing Campaigns
Although much of 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, potential customers will be splashing through a variety of marketing and branding messages where it’s up to the business to make their message stand out.
The first step in an outbound marketing campaign is properly assessing a product or service. What makes it 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 both anecdotal and targeted data. Customer feedback helps businesses distinguish the buttons they’re already pushing (or failing to push). Simultaneously internal customer lists allow them to develop an objective overview of their current audiences.
Businesses can confidently move to create their messages once they have determined an established target. These messages generally include something that elicits a specific customer response like 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 can choose to disseminate their message on a variety of platforms. A mass audience will require some combination of mass media being outdoor, television, radio, newspaper or magazine. Concurrently a strong Internet presence could be used that could include viral videos, aggressive Facebook and/or affiliate advertising.
A local or regional business, on the other hand, may choose to conduct a direct-mail or phone campaign. They could distribute flyers door-to-door fortifying that there’s a sense of personal engagement. This type of outbound marketing activity can establish personal trust for a local business exemplifying their involvement in local matters.
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.