Outbound marketing essentially means marketing where the communication is initiated by the company or brand. This term actually describes the vast majority of types of marketing that a company is likely to engage in and probably most of the forms that you typically associate with the term marketing. However, understanding the distinction and what it means for your business can make a huge difference to the way you build your brand and spread the word.
Outbound marketing essentially means that the communication between brand and customer starts with the company – the company initiates the communication and goes to find the audience that they want to market to.
What does this mean? Well consider most forms of advertising. Normally, you are sitting at home watching TV, when you see an advert appear on your screen. Alternatively, you might be reading a magazine on the bus and see an advert, or you might be on the subway and see a billboard.
In all these cases, the company or brand has initiated the conversation. They have come to you where you already were and shown you something, without you having to ask or show an interest first.
This is what I mean when I say that most of the conventional forms of marketing you are likely familiar with are examples of this outbound marketing. Now compare this to inbound marketing. Here, the customer comes to the brand and the brand then shows them their products. An example of this might be if you have a store and a customer comes in to look at one thing and then you promote something else and sell that too.
Outbound marketing of course can encompass a wide variety of different techniques and strategies. A related term here is go-to-market strategy. The GTM strategy, essentially means that you have identified your audience and found where they spend their time. This is then where you will market.
So for instance, if you sell garden products, then you might ‘go to market’ by advertising in a garden center, by advertising in a gardening magazine, or by placing ads on TV in between the shows that they will be likely to watch.
This is also an example of what is known as route-to-market. A route to market is simply any direct line that you have to your audience: any place where you know your audience is going to be spending time. A gardening magazine is a perfect example of this.
In order to find more routes-to-market, the question to ask yourself is: who is your buyer persona? A buyer persona is the imaginary biography for whoever it is that is going to buy from you. This is your ideal customer. And when we say that it is an imaginary biography, we really mean it! You need to profile not only the obvious things (their age, their sex, their location) but also the less obvious things like what it is they want, what their other hobbies and interests might be, their income… perhaps even their IQ! The best way to get this info is to query your audience using surveys or to use a survey company to collect the data for you.
Using this information, you can then start to ascertain details of the audience you want to sell to and you can use this in order to know precisely where they are likely to spend their time – even when they are likely to be there! – and market their accordingly.
When we consider outbound marketing and go-to-market, we are really talking about classic concepts in business. The simplest rule to business is that you need to find a group of people, identify their problems and needs, solve those problems, and then present them with the solution where they spend their time.
This is the whole idea behind outbound marketing. But before you dive in, consider that each step in this process is equally important. Perhaps the best strategy is to devise a business from the top down rather than the bottom up?
In other words, identify your routes to market first: what opportunities do you already have? Where do you have a captive audience? Which markets do you inherently understand?