Content marketing vs inbound marketing – what is the difference?

by on 17 November 2014 in Members Blog


Guest post by Denia Mariano, Pixel Inbound

Despite being two disciplines which are clearly interconnected, they are, in my opinion, two different concepts. Not everyone doing content marketing is necessarily using inbound marketing principles, especially SMB’s and the agencies that work with them.

Content Marketing is about the message; Inbound is about prospect intelligence (data).

If you have a content strategy that embraces a blog, some videos and social media – you might be using content as a tactic to attract people to your website and your brand, but that doesn’t mean you are doing inbound.

inbound marketing difference

Inbound Marketing is about sales, and sales are about leads. Not all content marketers are helping their clients to necessarily generate leads through the content they produce. They might be helping you drive traffic to your website, but not necessarily gathering leads or contacts for the business.

I understand the confusion the two terms are causing in the market – and the way I see it, you can do content marketing without necessarily going too deeply into some of the key tactics used in inbound marketing such as landing pages and calls-to-action optimisation, lead nurturing or email workflows, just to name a few.

Not everyone producing content – and sometimes great content – is necessarily using an inbound marketing tool such as Hubspot or Spokal in order to gather lead intelligence.

Your company might be attracting prospects to your website through social platforms and a content marketing strategy, and your potential clients might even contact you directly at times.

You could call this inbound marketing/sales because you’re not chasing people and they are coming to you, but what would have happened if those visitors have decided not to communicate directly with the brand at all?

You would not have had any idea of who those potential prospects were, and where on your website they have been.

I ultimately see them as inseparable tactics – they should be used in conjunction, yet a company might not necessarily be doing both of them.

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