Ran Mullins By Ran Mullins • May 4, 2023

How Much Do You Invest in Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing?

Achieving an ideal equilibrium between inbound versus outbound marketing is paramount to optimizing your business’s revenue operations. Outbound approaches to lead generation will tinder your early growth and fund long-form efforts that result in high ROI inbound sales. This is especially important for B2B companies that require longer sales cycles for major, industry-shifting business decisions.

In this article, we'll explore the optimal blend of inbound versus outbound marketing and define these types of marketing with examples and pros and cons for each. Whether you're a seasoned CMO or a marketing executive looking to improve your team’s performance, let’s learn how to allocate your marketing budget effectively.

The Difference Between Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing

When it comes to marketing, there are two main approaches: inbound versus outbound. Both strategies have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and understanding the difference between them can help you allocate your marketing budget effectively.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing refers to creating valuable content that attracts potential customers to your brand. This content is designed to educate, inform, and engage your target audience, and it's typically delivered through various channels, such as blogs, social media, email, and search engines.

Examples of inbound marketing include:

  • Writing blog articles that address your customers' pain points and offer solutions
  • Creating engaging social media content that promotes your brand and encourages interaction
  • Developing educational ebooks and whitepapers that provide valuable information to your target audience
  • Offering webinars and other interactive content that engages potential customers and helps them learn more about your products or services
  • Opt-in email marketing (promotions, resources, newsletters, etc.)

The pros of inbound marketing include:

  • Builds brand awareness and trust with potential customers
  • Attracts qualified leads who are genuinely interested in your brand
  • Provides valuable information that helps your audience make informed purchasing decisions
  • Cost-effective compared to outbound marketing

The cons of inbound marketing include:

  • Takes time and effort to build a following and establish trust with your audience
  • Requires ongoing investment in content creation and distribution

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing refers to using traditional marketing tactics to promote your brand to a wider, more general audience. This approach is more aggressive in nature and relies on tactics such as paid advertising, cold calling, direct mail, and email blasts.

Examples of outbound marketing include:

  • Purchasing advertising space in print, online, or broadcast media
  • Cold-calling potential customers to pitch your products or services
  • Sending direct mail or email blasts to a purchased or rented list of contacts
  • Attending trade shows and other events to promote your brand

The pros of outbound marketing include:

  • Can quickly generate leads and sales
  • Targets a broader audience
  • Can be useful for promoting time-sensitive offers, products, or events

The cons of outbound marketing include:

  • Can be expensive compared to inbound marketing
  • Can be less effective for reaching a targeted audience
  • Often viewed as intrusive by potential customers

When deciding between inbound and outbound marketing, it's important to consider your target audience, budget, and overall marketing goals. In general, a balanced and even complimentary approach that incorporates both inbound and outbound tactics will be the most effective.

Factors That Affect Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing Budget Allocation

The decision of how to allocate your marketing budget between inbound and outbound tactics comes from a combination of internal and industry insights. These insights include the type of business you’re operating, target audience, marketing goals, competition, and industry trends. Let’s explore these five factors deeper.

Type of Business

The type of business you have is an essential factor in determining your budget allocation. For example, B2B companies may benefit more from inbound marketing strategies such as SEO and content marketing, as they allow them to establish thought leadership and build trust with their target audience. 

In contrast, B2C companies may see more success with outbound tactics such as paid ads, direct mail, and email marketing, allowing them to reach a wider audience.

Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial in determining your marketing mix. For example, if your target audience is younger and more tech-savvy, inbound strategies such as social media, SEO, and content marketing may be more effective. 

However, if your target audience is older and less tech-savvy, traditional outbound tactics such as direct mail or TV advertising may be more effective.

Marketing Goals

Your marketing goals should also play a significant role in determining your budget allocation. Marketing is often tied to seasonality and the current state of your revenue operations. If your goal is to generate leads and build brand awareness, inbound tactics such as social media marketing and SEO may be the most effective. However, if your goal is to drive immediate sales or conversions, outbound tactics such as email marketing, display advertising, or direct mail may be more effective.


Your competition can also influence your marketing mix. If your competitors are already established in the market, you may need to invest more in outbound tactics to reach potential customers. 

On the other hand, if you operate within a niche or an emerging industry, you can lay the ground floor of your marketing with inbound tactics to build your brand and establish your position as a thought leader.

Industry Trends

Finally, keeping up with industry trends is important in determining your marketing mix. For example, if your industry is shifting to a digital focus, you may want to shift more of your budget towards inbound tactics such as SEO and social media. In contrast, if your industry is more traditional and relationship-based, outbound tactics such as trade shows and press releases may be more effective.

Ultimately, the decision of how to allocate your marketing budget between inbound versus outbound tactics will depend on a variety of factors unique to your business. By considering these factors, you can make a more informed decision and create a marketing mix that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.

The Optimal Blend of Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing

Once you have determined your business’s specific needs, goals, and target audience, it is time to decide how to allocate your marketing budget between inbound and outbound strategies.

The optimal marketing strategy attributes 60-70% of your budget towards inbound marketing and 30-40% towards outbound marketing. Both inbound and outbound marketing are effective in unique ways. By blending the two, your marketing produces fast and sustained results while also targeting both mass and specific audiences.

The two strategies can also support each other. For example, if you have a strong social media following from your inbound marketing efforts, you can seamlessly amplify this engaged audience with promoted social posts. Similarly, brand-building media buys and advertisements can boost awareness to warm up new leads to your organic marketing content.

In addition to the benefits of a blended approach, using both inbound and outbound marketing can help you keep up with industry trends and adapt to changes in your market. As consumer behavior and technology evolve, having a diversified marketing strategy can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Ultimately, the decision of how to allocate your marketing budget should be based on your business’s unique needs and goals. By considering factors such as your target audience, competition, industry trends, marketing goals, and type of business, you can determine the optimal blend of inbound and outbound marketing for your business.

Implementing Your Perfect Marketing Blend

Effective budget allocation between inbound versus outbound marketing is crucial for any business looking to maximize its ROI and achieve sustainable growth. By utilizing the optimal blend of inbound and outbound strategies, businesses can reach their target audience, build brand awareness, and generate a pipeline of quality leads. 

This symbiosis between marketing and revenue operations will foster success for organizations of all sizes and in any vertical. If you need help strategizing or implementing your perfect blend of inbound and outbound marketing, Relequint is ready to navigate your business growth together. Contact us to get started. 


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