Inbound marketing may be defined as the art of being found by hot and qualified prospects and be able to convert these leads. Content marketing and SEO / Paid search are most often the pillars of an inbound marketing strategy. Content allows to attract, engage and persuade. SEO, paid search, and sometimes social media, allows marketers to promote or push the content.
The Whole Brain Group defines inbound marketing as attracting, educating, and engaging prospective customers.
Inbound marketing is opposed to outbound marketing by which interruptive and "traditionnal" techniques - cold calling, advertising, direct mail, etc. - are used to "hunt" the customer.
Inbound marketing strategies and techniques are said to be:
less expensive and to have better ROI
less interruptive and "permission marketing based"
more focused on hot and qualified prospects
However, it has to be noted that good content marketing is not cheap to produce and to promote.
Inbound marketing is sometimes viewed as an agency buzzword, the term was coined by HubSpot in 2005. It is true that the line may be thin between inbound and outbound marketing and that both can be mixed.
Nevertheless, the concept has one merit, it emphasizes the role and power of content in digital marketing.
Inbound marketing applies to B2C and B2B contexts, but it probably delivers more potential for B2B.
The inbound marketing methodology according to HubSpot:
Image Credit HubSpot