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Outbound Marketing vs Inbound Marketing is determined by who makes the first contact - is it the seller or the buyer?
Outbound? Inbound? These are the words used to describe Marketing Methods for who makes the First Contact between a Business and a Customer. Is it the Business making First Contact with the Customer (Outbound), or is it Customer making First Contact with the Business (Inbound)?
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

What's the Difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

By Douglas Krantz

Simplistically speaking, going through the crowds in the marketplace, picking out potential buyers, and showing them the wares is marketing. Here, the seller is picking out who to talk to.

So is sitting beside the road in the market square and showing what's available. Here, potential buyers pick who they want to talk to.

Marketing is Not Sales

First off, though, there is a difference between marketing and sales. They may be tightly intertwined, but knowing the difference is important.


Sales is necessary; it keeps the business running. Selling is the process of exchanging goods and services for money. It provides the needed cash-flow for the business to continue to produce. Pretty much, the decisions have already been made by the buyer and the buyer is giving money for the goods or services, or at least is haggling over the price.


Marketing keeps sales running. To make intelligent decisions on spending their money, it provides Information for the customers' knowledge base.

Sometimes marketing is included with sales, but marketing always comes first. People just don't put their money down until they at least have some idea of what they're buying. Even sending out mail or calling people out of the blue (cold-calling) to let them know about the business is marketing, not sales.

So that potential customers will associate the business name with satisfying their need, marketing a business is any method of getting out the business name along with showing its products or services.

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Marketing Methods are Always Changing

There are the tried and true traditional marketing methods, and there are newer marketing methods. Some of the newer marketing methods will become traditional and some of them will soon disappear.

Common traditional methods of marketing:
  • Posting billboards with the business name
  • Advertising the business in print, radio, TV
  • Displaying signs on the side of the trucks showing the business name
  • Giving out hats showing the business name
Marketplace (Web) Marketing:
  • Showing the products or services in the marketplace (on the web)
  • Describing those products or services to those passing by (those browsing the web)


Remember, it's marketing that comes first, and the initial marketing is outbound from the seller to the buyer, or it's inbound from the buyer to the seller.


Douglas Krantz

Content Writer
Describing How It Works

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