Is outbound marketing dead?
Short answer: no. While inbound marketing gets most of the attention these days, done well, outbound marketing is still effective and by no means dead.
Outbound marketing can be characterized as marketing initiated by a company selling a product or service. A company initiates a correspondence with its customers by sending out a broad message and targeting a larger audience in hopes of attracting attention.
Outbound marketing is a term that has become synonymous with more traditional forms of marketing. In the past, marketers have relied on techniques such as cold calling, email blasts, telemarketing, radio, and banner ads.
What is the problem with outbound marketing?
With the advent of social media and short-form content it has made it increasingly hard for marketers to hold customers’ attention–this is true in both the B2B and B2C worlds. A study conducted by Microsoft determined that the human attention span ranges around eight seconds.
On average a web page visitor will read 20% of the content present and only 28% of words at most.
- 84% of millennials will leave a webpage if they find it to be overly salesy and intrusive.
- 58% of direct mail recipients either scan received mail or do not bother to read it.
- On average consumers come into contact with 1,700 banner ads a month, but only notice 50% of them.
What outbound marketers also have to contend with is the movement to limit interruptive advertising.
- By the end of 2020 the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry reported 239.5 million actively registered phone numbers.
- Globally, 47% of internet users have adopted ad blockers.
Outbound marketing typically comprises the bulk of marketing budgets. The most identifiable problem with outbound marketing is that there is a high cost with very low yield. As more people experience information and media fatigue, more choose to avoid advertising altogether.
This means the bulk of paid ads go unnoticed or ignored.
There is also great difficulty tracking return on investment (ROI) for some of the most popular outbound marketing strategies. Because there are multiple touch points and marketing avenues, it’s harder to calculate efficacy, making measuring ROI a pain.
Why is this happening? In the past the majority of marketing strategies were based around outbound marketing, so why has its efficacy declined?
The increasing integration of the internet into our daily lives means that customers are more tech savvy than they’ve ever been. Customers have learned how to control the content they consume and actively filter the media they are exposed to.
For outbound marketing to succeed, the company behind the marketing must command some influence. As company control continues to slip away, outbound marketing will continue to become less and less effective on its own.
Types of Outbound Marketing
Despite its drawbacks, done well, outbound marketing can be an essential piece of your sales and marketing toolkit. While inbound marketing has become more popular in the digital age, it performs best when used in conjunction with outbound marketing. Used together, both forms of marketing can really increase customer awareness, and in some cases conversion.
Here we list 3 outbound marketing techniques to help you drive sales.
Direct Mail Marketing
With the movement to online marketing, direct mail may seem obsolete. However, using direct mail is one of your best bets if your audience isn’t particularly online. And, according to this recent study from the USPS, even digital-savvy millennials still respond to direct mail. It’s also a great complement to your online marketing efforts.
In the B2B space, direct mail can also be used for following up with leads 1:1, or postcard marketing to targeted audiences for greater awareness.
Despite blocking efforts, cold calling is still a necessary part of sales and marketing for many companies. While the majority of people you call will hang up, the percentage that entertain your call are highly interested leads.
Cold calling also allows you to make a connection with a lead that is not possible through the internet. Person-to-person contact will humanize you as a company to your prospects.
Speaking of humanizing your company, in person opportunities are a great way to generate leads because you create a more intimate and immediate connection–particularly as more businesspeople crave face-to-face interactions after a year of COVID lockdown.
Meeting people face to face leaves a more distinct impression of who your company is and can help you learn more about the pain points of their specific job function, or more broadly, their company.