Inbound and Outbound: The PB&J Sandwich of Marketing

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here's why inbound and outbound marketing are like peanut butter and jelly—truly complementary ways of marketing a product or service.

Marketers may not be as notorious as, say, lawyers or sales people for having inflated egos, but they are certainly proud of their work and are great at touting their efforts as the best solution for gaining and converting customers.

Within the marketing world are the two groups who gladly subscribe to what might seem like conflicting schools of thought.

There is outbound marketing; the attempt to blindly reach out to new customers without a prior relationship.

Then there is inbound marketing; the cycle of marketing to customers who have found you.

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For years, outbound marketing was the only way of working. Now, it is all but obsolete with inbound marketers nearly dismissing its validity.

But inbound marketing actually owes a great deal to outbound marketing. The origins of inbound techniques are rooted in what decades of marketers have learned from cold calls and even the dreaded door-to-door salesman.

These two types of marketing might seem like diverging roads, incompatible flavors or ambivalent ideas since even the contradiction is in the name.

But inbound and outbound marketing are not like peanut butter and pickles, they are like peanut butter and jelly, truly complementary ways of marketing a product or service that creates a delicious and satisfying result.

Inbound marketers should put their egos aside and use outbound marketing to their advantage.

The following methods, mastered by both inbound and outbound marketers, are enhanced by applying both ideals to the strategy for the success of converting prospects.

The Email Blast

Email is one of the most effective marketing tactics available. Its simplicity, personalization without violating personal boundaries and directness all contribute to the wide-spread use of email campaigns.

  • 89 percent of marketers say email is their primary channel for lead generation
  • 20 percent of marketers say their business’s primary revenue source is directly linked to email operations
  • More than 70 percent of businesses prefer email communication above all other forms of marketing

The email blast is one of the most infamous outbound maneuvers. It is also one of the most popular strategies taken by inbound and shaped with their values.

Together, both parties are successful at targeting customers with creative and eye-catching content.

Outbound emails are ones that go to new prospects not formerly familiar with the company.

Many companies can buy email databases to mine the list for potential converts.

Inbound emails are ones that customers opt in or out of when interacting with a company.

Emails are mostly used for newsletters (66 percent), promotional content (54 percent) and welcome series messages (42 percent).

When crafting the content for these formats, inbound marketers can take a page from the outbound marketing playbook.

Without an established relationship, outbound marketers must be much more innovative and thoughtful in how they communicate with customers through email.

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This doesn’t mean inbound marketers can lean on familiarity as a crutch. They should also use outbound methods in aiming for success.

The first goal of email marketing, both inbound and outbound, is to gain an open click, then a click-through, then a conversion.

This is how most marketers measure success with 47 percent measuring click-through rates, 43 percent watching conversion rates and 38 percent looking for click-to-open rates.

Personalization and Segmentation

Most effective inbound marketing plans almost always include the elements of personalization and segmentation.

In fact, personalization is the top priority of the majority of marketers. It has been proven successful in communicating with customers on their terms, attracting their attention more effectually and converting at higher rates.

The concepts of personalization (tailoring content to a customer’s interests and needs) and segmentation (dividing customers by these interests and needs to develop different strategies for each group) seem like manifestations of inbound marketing.

But they have evolved out of insight gained from outbound marketing. And these ever-important marketing qualities and lessons learned can be applied to both ways of thinking.

Outbound’s Single View

The biggest challenge to inbound marketers implementing personalization is gaining a single customer view to fully understand their customers.

This singular view comes from the integration of CRM software, better data interpretation and accurate analysis of customer behavior.

Often times, technology is the real barrier between companies discovering and using personalization.

But if inbound marketers return to the days before a plethora of integration and analysis technology, they will find that outbound marketers only worked from a single view of customers.

Of course, they knew where to target advertisements, like putting ads for cars and hardware stores into football games.

But outbound marketers only worked with a general demographic, nothing as specific as “a 19 to 24-year-old in Brooklyn who frequents a pressed juice café.”

Returning to the broad stroke view of customers provides an excellent starting point for leveraging personalization for the best results.

Inbound’s Emphasis

With such an emphasis on personalization and segmentation, outbound can learn from this tactic as well.

They can dive deeper than those general overviews of customers to try out personalization.

While they might not have or need the technology inbound is using, they can parse down campaigns to target a more specific group than purely age or gender.

If a new product or service would be ideal for people who are more outdoorsy and also older, outbound can seek avenues and potential prospects that match this demographic.

The first PB&J sandwich we eat as children is one of the most fulfilling sensations.

Realizing you’ve struck gold on a sweet combination provides you sustenance and enjoyment for years to come. Inbound and outbound marketing can have the same effect on one another.

However, just as the perfect PB&J sandwich relies on ratios and balance of peanut butter to jelly, so too does inbound marketing rely on a practiced and sensible amount of outbound tactics.

Related Article: 4 Interactive Ways to Make Your Business More Engaging

These two groups, while they might seem at odds, actually complement each other quite well.

They can learn important lessons about how marketing has evolved from huge, unspecific campaigns to individualized, segmented messages.

In particular, email campaigns, still an incredibly effective method at gaining conversions, can apply ideas from the other camp.

So smooth out your inbound peanut butter and pair it with your outbound jelly to see an increase in your marketing success.

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