Today's most effective marketing campaigns are able to utilize a number of different channels to maximize exposure and brand awareness. However, each channel, or method of communication, can be boiled down to either an "inbound" or "outbound" strategy.
According to Kristin Hambelton in an article for CRM News, these two methods refer to how contact is established with the consumer. Outbound applies to outgoing, usually indiscriminate, ad-based marketing platforms such as email, direct mail, mobile messaging and telemarketing, while inbound refers to prospects coming to you, be it through a company website, a call center or a point of sale.
"Study after study concurs that inbound visitors presented with a relevant offer are more inclined to respond, compared to recipients of direct outbound communications," Hambelton writes.
"Therefore, inbound contacts offer multiple, incremental opportunities to capture information about prospects and customers in real-time – and to make timely, relevant offers," she adds.
But as the notion of "conversational marketing" continues to evolve, spurred by the rapidly growing popularity of social media, mobile technology and targeted direct mail, whether a marketing strategy relies on inbound or outbound channels, the demand for personalized, human-to-human contact will trump all else.