Inbound vs Outbound Marketing für B2B-Unternehmen

Lena M.
5 min read
20.11.2023 10:48:00

In the world of modern marketing, we often distinguish between two basic strategies: Inbound and outbound marketing.

Some marketing experts also refer to the strategies as pull and push marketing.

While inbound marketing (pull) aims to attract potential customers through an attractive offer, valuable content, or SEO strategies, outbound marketing (push) focuses on direct contact through traditional forms of advertising such as ads and cold calls. 

Both approaches can lead to more visibility and more sales. Nevertheless, both methods have their advantages and challenges and play a decisive role in the marketing strategy depending on the company's objectives and market conditions.

In the B2B market, however, it is often not easy to combine the two forms of advertising to achieve strong conversions.

Questions such as:

  • Is pull marketing also suitable for our industry?

  • Do we have the resources to use relevant channels?

  • Are we even in a position to create high-quality content?

are causing uncertainty for many B2B companies, especially when it comes to inbound.

Should you pull or push? Let agile thought leaders inspire you:

For sustainable success, smart B2B companies rely on a successful mix of push and pull marketing.

This is how they pick up customers based on their needs - and you can do the same.

Inbound and Outbound in B2B Marketing?

B2B marketing is the placement of expensive ads. The diligent presence at trade fairs. And sending countless emails.

That's true - but only in part. B2B marketing is also about providing valuable content via your own website, for example as an online trade magazine. Regularly publishing videos on YouTube. Or captivating the target group via a carefully maintained Facebook fan page.

When these measures are combined, something great is created: genuine customer loyalty. It creates a solid foundation of trust, which forms the basis for every deal.

Inbound Marketing is Based on High-Quality Content

Pull measures are generally much better suited to retaining your customers in the long term.

Why is that the case? They are based on high-quality content, i.e. content with real added value. For example, you share valuable tips that help solve a specific problem in your industry.

Your B2B content can also be entertaining and establish you as a first-class contact. However, your offer should only play a secondary role in inbound marketing - the focus is on the target group.

This approach is in contrast to many B2B companies, which often focus more on themselves than on the needs of their customers.

No wonder that cold calling, a typical outbound strategy, makes many companies uncomfortable. However, a clever combination of inbound and outbound marketing could be the key to a successful lead generation strategie, as it could turn even cool contacts into warm leads.

The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Inbound and outbound marketing or push and pull marketing differ from each other in many ways. This is why they complement each other so well in the modern marketing mix of B2B providers.

A well-known example:

You provide a white paper in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter. This is a classic pull or inbound marketing method. After all, the prospect comes to you if they want to benefit from your content.

If you also advertise your landing page with the whitepaper via a Google Ads campaign, you are adding a push measure.

This form of outbound marketing is independent of your platform, although it is usually used temporarily. This is not least due to the comparatively higher costs, which are not only incurred in B2B push marketing.

The Question: Which of the Strategies is Better?

Do qualified leads automatically find their way to your mailing list? Do you retain customers with your content without additional effort? Can you effectively reduce your advertising costs?

When you consider the benefits of inbound marketing, it's easy to assume that this is the marketing of the future! However, this cannot be said across the board.

Despite the obvious advantages, one thing is clear: The successful marketing mix of today thrives on the unit of inbound outbound marketing.

Note, however, that well-implemented pull marketing generally takes more time than a successful outbound measure.

The time to results factor should therefore by no means be underestimated. It often takes several months for a new company website to achieve a good ranking in the search engines. This can also be the case despite optimal SEO and less competitive keywords.

If you don't use push advertising during this period, you are giving away a lot of revenue. It is therefore important to implement a suitable inbound outbound marketing strategy for you and your target group.

B2B Marketing and Pull? Of Course!

Push and pull marketing is a powerful unit.

However, if you take a look at the World Wide Web, you will quickly notice that the majority of B2B companies have not yet recognized their potential. This could be fatal due to advancing digitalization.

Its importance for providers is by no means a secret. On the contrary! In the business customer sector, more and more potential customers are researching online before deciding on an offer.

Highly visible B2B companies that build long-term partnerships secure a clear competitive advantage.

In contrast, less visible providers have to fight harder for the attention of the remaining target group - a disadvantage that should be avoided, especially in highly competitive sectors.

The good thing is: if you act now, you can overtake your competitors. Tailored pull marketing and outbound marketing will help you do this.

Both inbound and push marketing require a strategic approach. Think about what content is really relevant for your target group. Every piece of content you create should pursue a specific goal. This can be
  • a subscription to the newsletter,

  • strengthening your brand image, or

  • increasing the length of stay on your website.

In contrast to products that often require explanation, inbound marketing in B2B does not have to be complicated. In fact, the opposite is often the case. It is best to use your knowledge of your customers for your advertising success.

  • What questions do they regularly ask? Answer them in your company blog.

  • What advantages does your offer give them? Provide helpful case studies.

  • What sets you apart from your competitors? Focus on this and show your target group how they can benefit from it.

As you can see, pull measures are uncompromisingly customer-oriented and therefore a successful strategy for lead generation. They can therefore be used in any industry that offers solutions.

Conclusion: Inbound & Outbound Marketing for Your B2B Company

No successful company can afford to do without target group-oriented marketing, regardless of whether it is the industry leader or the family-run contract manufacturer next door.

The combination of push and pull marketing is often one of the factors why they seem to master their lead generation with ease. Maintaining existing customers also seems to be particularly easy for them.

The question is: Can you do the same? Yes! A well-thought-out marketing strategy, meaningful data, and flexible action will help you do this. This combination can be a real game changer for you as a B2B provider - now and in the future.

Offer helpful content on your website, your Facebook fan page, or via a podcast and promote it effectively to attract the attention of your target group. This will keep you present and relevant in the minds of your customers not only online, but also offline.