Inbound vs Outbound Lead Generation: The Differences and Similarities
Back to articles

Inbound vs Outbound Lead Generation: The Differences and Similarities

Generating leads for your business is one of the most important parts of revenue growth and will give you a platform to form long-term relationships with customers and clients.

Providing products or services to your target audience is the make or break of how you’re going to fair in the market depending on how they react to your work.

Finding strategies to bring forth new customers or clients is the only way you can offer your services to others, meaning lead generation needs to be an essential part of your marketing strategy.

There are two parts to bringing traffic to your business and they are inbound and outbound marketing.

Today, we will be looking at the differences and similarities between inbound and outbound lead generation to give you a better understanding of what they are and how you can use them in opposing scenarios for your benefit.


What is Inbound Marketing?

In regards to ‘what is inbound marketing’, this is a marketing strategy that many businesses worldwide use to bring in customers organically using tools that are designed to nurture long-term customer relationships and create continued brand loyalty.

Inbound marketing focuses on using mostly organic marketing tools rather than paid distribution channels – no matter whether this is a complete newbie to viewing your business, a potential customer or an established client.

The logic behind this strategy is to generate organic traffic where the consumer makes the decision to come to you, rather than the other way around.

Attracting the consumer as you create content that is valuable and well-designed, engaging them with your solution to their problem and delighting them with your unrivalled customer service throughout any situation 24/7.

It's a time-consuming strategy but ultimately proves successful when it wins the heart of the customer by attracting, engaging and delighting their specific needs. This is what inbound marketing tactics are all about – generating leads that are actively interested in your products and/ or services so they're more likely to convert.


What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is a forced form of content that engages your target audience whether they want to be informed or not. The people targeted with outbound marketing are completely up to you, as your advertisement will pop up on a social media platform/ website without a consumer making that decision.

Outbound marketing includes taking more of a promotional approach to your marketing and investing more money into your vision as you believe your business should be known. Optimised as a sales funnel for your product or service to be viewed, push marketing is aimed at converting consumers.

This form of marketing solely focuses on more traditional ways to market a product or service, rather than using what is well-known in today’s marketing scene.


Inbound vs Outbound Lead Generation: Differences and Similarities

From the definitions of both inbound marketing and outbound marketing, you can most likely spot a vast array of differences and similarities already between the two. In this section, we’re going to break the differences and similarities into more of a bitesize approach.

This way, we feel you’ll be able to gauge each marketing method in its entirety and form your opinion on what you feel will benefit your enterprise the most (if not both). Here are the inbound vs outbound marketing lead generation similarities and differences:



To kickstart these two lead generation tactics, we’re going to be providing you with a multitude of similarities that can be spotted when looking at the two in detail:

  • Both have the main goal of generating as many leads as possible
  • Each marketing methods need a great understanding of the target audiences
  • They both try to convert as many customers/ clients as possible
  • Both use paid methods (in certain cases)

As they both have an opposing ethos, it is challenging to find clear similarities between either of them, but these are the few minor resemblances that we’ve found when seeing both of them being put into action. 


As for the contrasts, they are extremely different marketing methods so there are many differences that we could go through during this stage.

However, we’re just going to break down and give you the main ones that will give you an ideal image of where you can use these marketing tactics in your business:

  1. Inbound marketing is a more powerful way of marketing as it invites customers/clients to join your journey by presenting an excellent brand image. Whereas, outbound marketing is about spreading the word about your business to a wide audience of people with an unchallenged intent.
  2. Inbound marketing is more of a long-term marketing approach compared to outbound marketing as they focus more on short-term wins.
  3. Inbound marketing campaigns will typically cost a lot less than an outbound marketing campaign as they hone in on organic media rather than paid advertising.
  4. The paid media costs for inbound marketing will be across a long period of time with stable expenditure. Whereas, outbound marketing campaigns will require short and sporadic costs. 

Different Types of Inbound and Outbound Marketing Methods

Now that you know they counter each other, there are specific marketing methods that both inbound and outbound marketing enthusiasts use to generate leads for businesses (or themselves).

There is certainly a benefit of inbound marketing tactics, but outbound marketing tactics are slightly sceptical within the new era of marketing. Here are the opposing marketing techniques each of them uses:


Inbound Marketing Methods

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) through channels like Google
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts (content marketing)
  • Nurturing leads through a CRM and automation
  • Buying automatic digital marketing space (programmatic advertising)
  • Live chat (for assisting potential customers/ clients on your website)
  • Warm calling (leads that are already considering your product or service)


Outbound Marketing Methods

  • Cold calling (calling random numbers that align with your target audience)
  • Mass email marketing (sending spam emails to targeted and random emails)
  • Display ads (photos, GIFs, videos attached to a website or app in which a consumer can’t control whether it’s there or not)
  • Content syndication (all ads will be displayed across multiple websites and apps of the same consumer)

As you can see from the above methods, these marketing strategies completely differ from one another.

Overall, we believe inbound marketing is the right way forward for generating better-qualified leads.

To deliver an effective inbound marketing strategy, you'll need the right tools – HubSpot is the ideal platform, with specific features designed to attract, engage and delight your prospects. 

Further reading: 

As an Elite HubSpot Partner Agency we're in a great position to get you set up on the platform, as well as help you create and implement inbound marketing strategies that grow your business. 

If you'd like to talk to us about how we can help, book a call at a time that suits you.