Integrating Inbound and Outbound Marketing

PropelGrowth Blog - Financial Services Marketing and Content Strategy

Think outbound and inbound marketing are mutually exclusive practices? Think again!

In recent years, as inbound and content marketing approaches have gained popularity, outbound marketing has been steadily falling out of favor. Outbound techniques are substantially more expensive than inbound techniques, and audiences tend to proactively block outbound approaches, perceiving them as unwelcome interruptions. Outbound techniques have even been labeled “interruption marketing,” and their effectiveness is continuing to decline.

So forward-thinking marketing organizations have been leveraging inbound and content marketing strategies to generate leads. But most firms selling technology to the financial services industry are finding that inbound tactics alone can’t deliver sufficient lead volume or quality.

However, when inbound and outbound are combined in an integrated strategy, marketing can start to have a substantial impact on revenue.

Understanding Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing involves attracting prospects to you by publishing marketing content that addresses a need or helps them solve a problem and placing that content in locations where your ideal prospects are likely to find it when they have a need. Inbound is based on the premise that if you are offering your audience the right content, they will find you through search, social media and word of mouth. Specific examples of inbound marketing include blogging, content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and social media engagement.

Inbound can work well with prospects already searching for answers, but it is only effective if it’s based on a solid, client-focused marketing strategy.

Outbound marketing allows you to target a very specific audience and reach out to them directly. With outbound tactics, you initiate the conversation instead of the customer. Examples of this technique include email blasts, telemarketing, events and traditional advertising.

Outbound strategies dramatically improve the effectiveness of a marketing program if they are customer-centric and tightly integrated with the content strategy. A recent DiscoverOrg survey of 1,000 IT executives found that75% of IT executives surveyed had elected to attend an event or take an appointment after receiving a cold call or email.

How NOT to Integrate Inbound and Outbound

Most firms don’t do a good job of integrating these strategies. For example, a lead that just downloaded a white paper is doing research, but this isn’t necessarily a signal that they’re ready to buy. So calling to schedule a sales meeting is premature. Instead, have inside sales follow up with a secondary content offer. Give them talking points that helps them engage the prospect in a conversation about the subject matter of the paper they downloaded.

How to Integrate Inbound and Outbound

Consider integrating inbound and outbound in the following ways:

  • When passing leads to Sales, include insights into the level of engagement the prospect has had with your content. Let them know how the lead was attracted, what messages they acted upon, and what they were expecting from their action.
  • Provide inside sales people with relevant talking points to help them follow up with people who have registered for content or events.
  • Leverage PR by incorporating press messaging in your content strategy. Then amplify your content by promoting it with press releases and press outreach.
  • Leverage your content as a way to follow up and engage with leads generated during live events.
  • Use advertising to promote content offers, and have a nurturing plan in place for leads that are attracted through this channel.

A Balanced Approach

In the B2B FinTech space, there is tremendous value in combining inbound and outbound marketing tactics as long as you’re strategic about it. Inbound is great because you have the ability to draw prospects to you in a relatively cost-effective way. But targeted outbound marketing is also valuable in that it can help you qualify leads generated by inbound programs, reach target prospects that don’t yet realize they have a need, and reach more members of the buying committee.