There was a time when advertisements like billboards, magazine pages, and radio spots ruled the day. A bit after that, television commercials became enormously popular: in some cases, companies spent millions of dollars advertising their brands on television for 15 to 30 seconds.
In the digital age, all that has changed. With techniques like search engine marketing and social media being touted as the end-all-be-all of marketing, many companies are wondering whether or not traditional forms of advertising are still relevant.
In an attempt to answer this question, let’s take a look at some recent research to get a deeper look into this debate.
The Rise of Inbound
Marketing thought leaders today have coined the term “inbound marketing” to describe the new breed of marketing. Inbound marketing focuses on creating useful content and answering the needs of prospects, instead of sending them messages that focus solely on the marketer or brand.
Some of the biggest names in the marketing world have eschewed outbound marketing, calling it ineffective and outdated. Noted entrepreneur and former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki once said, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”
Some research suggests that this view to the inbound vs. outbound marketing dilemma is the right one. Mashable reports that the average lead cost from inbound marketing was 62% less than the expense of a lead from outbound marketing. Outbound marketing tactics are also consistently named as some of the most annoying by consumers: over 85% of people skip through TV commercials, and 44% of direct mailers get overlooked or not even opened.
However, it is not all bad news for outbound marketing. There are some who believe that outbound marketing can still be just as effective as inbound.
The Outbound Argument
Although it may be considered outdated by zealots of inbound marketing, there is still a significant market for outbound marketing. Just drive down any main road or highway and count the billboards, or pick up a magazine at your local doctor’s office and notice how many advertisements you see inserted throughout the periodical.
There is also something to say about outbound marketing’s ability to get advertisements seen by as many people as possible. Research shows that 71% of Americans usually look at the messages on roadside billboards. The Super Bowl, one of the biggest television events each year in America, often draws an audience of well over 100 million people. Companies of all sizes in all industries continue to use traditional outbound methods, in some cases very successfully.
So are these traditional forms of advertising still relevant? To truly answer this question, you must think in terms of ROI. It is true that both outbound and inbound marketing tactics can be effective if used correctly. However, research and the opinion of many leading experts indicates that the new inbound marketing philosophy may be a much more viable strategy. This is often the case for marketers looking for a long-term, agile marketing solution without an excessively high price tag,