Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever wondered the difference between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing? Better, have you ever wondered if there is in fact any difference between these two definitions? Both Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing are relatively new concepts, and the consolidation of Digital Marketing in the market has contributed to this discussion flourishing. After all, is it different or synonymous?

When we talk about digital marketing strategies it is very common that we find terms like Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing.  However, these subdivisions of marketing may seem confusing and too complex for beginning entrepreneurs. Many do not understand the difference between both concepts and end up creating ineffective strategies to attract customers and grow their business. To prevent this type of problem from happening to you, this post brings the two concepts in a clear way so that you can choose the most appropriate strategy for your business.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a strategy that aims to attract new customers and convert sales. Its planning is broad, encompassing various techniques of digital marketing, including content. In order for inbound marketing to work, it is necessary for the entrepreneur or the professional dedicated to this task to be very thorough in analyzing the target audience, creating the people to whom the strategy will be directed and establishing the best channels for their communication. Inbound Marketing is also part of the monitoring of results, the creation of A/B tests and adaptation of the strategy for the sale to take place.

Another important detail in Inbound Marketing is that the relationship is not just a visitor and a customer. Unlike traditional marketing, there is a sales funnel that follows a slightly more complex and detailed order:

  • Visitor: You are getting to know your site and have not yet shared any contact details with your company;
  • Lead: Signed a newsletter or downloaded a rich material for free, leaving some contact data as “currency of exchange”, such as name, company name and email;
  • Opportunity: They are Leads that are ready for purchase and have been educated over time with content generated by the company. It is only at this moment that the salesperson will come into direct contact with the future client. Learn more by watching the webinar “Leads Management”;
  • Customer: Now yes, the person after knowing and studying a lot about his problem, finally got his product.

That is, it is not the relationship in which the person goes to the store and already becomes a customer directly. Inbound, sales are not “pushed”, they happen to people who already know the company, they already know the problems they have and the solutions that can be delivered. In addition, there are basically 5 fundamental steps that are part of an Inbound Marketing strategy. This makes the methodology a systematic, scalable and predictable process of customer acquisition:

  • Attract: Bring visitors to your site through created content. The attraction may be, mainly, organic search, paid search or social networks;
  • Convert: Collect users’ contacts in order to start a relationship with them, transforming them into Leads. Conversion can be done through a free offer of a product on a Landing Page. Learn more in Webinar “Creating Effective Landing Pages”;
  • Relate: It is the key to drive the Leads until the moment of purchase. Use social media, work on your mailing lists and prepare for sale using nutrition from Leads;
  • Selling: After a previous relationship with the Leads already close, the moment of purchase becomes much easier and generates more results. Align Marketing and Sales teams and qualify your leads to sell your product to the right people;
  • Analyze: To keep the machine running and developing, examine each step and identify what needs adjustments. Learn more in our eBook “Web Analytics in Practice”.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a strategy that complements inbound marketing. It provides the provision of service to customers through quality content. The goal is to generate value for the customer without forcing sales, in order to stimulate a relationship with the brand, making the purchase a natural consequence of this relationship. Therefore, content marketing does not end in the conversion of the sale but continues as an aggregator in the relationship with the clients already conquered, also being a strategy of enchantment and customer loyalty.

Content marketing can be that extra delivery that surprises your customer and generates loyalty. Another feature of content marketing is that it is not unique to the internet, as is inbound marketing. It can be used in printed vehicles, such as through the publication of customized magazines, books and even the packaging of their products. Going straight to the point, content marketing is all content made to educate, inform, entertain a prospective client. It’s the Inbound fuel. The idea is to inform people so that in future they not only respect the brand and have it as a reference but also become customers. The concept of “Content Marketing” is relatively new. However, their applications were even before the digital age. Yes, offline content marketing exists.


The purpose of Inbound Marketing is to attract people to an offer, exchange that offer for their data and educate them until they become customers. However, this Inbound process directly contacts Content Marketing because there is no way to generate Leads without good content. We can briefly summarize how Content Marketing being a consumer relationship strategy and Inbound Marketing as a conversion and sales strategy. The truth is that there is no inbound marketing or content marketing, but rather Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing. None survive without the other. If you analyze content and inbound marketing alone, you will notice differences in behavioral profiles. While the former will have a more holistic marketing view, the other will be more focused on the sales funnel. So be the farmer and use content marketing if you believe it is a good method for your brand. Combine that quality with that of a hunter, and also use inbound marketing to convert your audience into sales, if that is your goal. But always be wary of who promises quick results.

Author Bio

Sarah Feldman is an experienced Digital Marketer at Digital Express a Digital Agency in Dubai. She loves to write about latest Internet Marketing trends, news, and tips.

sahil arora Author

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