Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing for Ad Agency New Business

I believe there has been a paradigm shift that has had permanent impact upon ad agency new business.

My epiphany came in January of 2008 when I was reading a CMO Study that stated, 80% of CMOs surveyed found their vendors not the other way around. That stat impressed upon me the shifting importance from chasing new business to “getting found” by your target audience. People are much more in control of what information they receive and how they receive it.

Most small to mid-size ad agencies tend to spend 90% of the new business efforts on “Outbound Marketing” tactics such as direct mail, cold calling, email blasts, efforts pushing their message out. But rather than push their message out to a wide, diverse prospective client audience, already inundated with over 2000 interruptions per day and becoming better at blocking them out, it is much more effective and efficient to follow the paradigm shift.

I recommend that an agency do the reverse and focus 90% of their new business efforts on “Inbound Marketing” techniques, to be found by their best prospects who are actively looking for an agency and ready for business.

To do this effectively, the most successful Inbound Marketing programs will have three key parts:

  1. Content – Content is the fuel for this new business engine. It is what attracts potential clients to your site.
  2. Search Engine Optimization – 90% of new business begins with online search.
  3. Social Media – will amplify the impact of your content.

An agency blog, done the right way, becomes the hub, the central platform for your efforts. It is the the “gateway” to your agency, that will attract prospects on a daily basis, optimized for search, integrated and repurposing content through social media sites and complimented by educational email efforts that are a resource and valued by your audience.

Inbound Marketing techniques can be jumped-started to produce new business leads as quickly as “Outbound Techniques.” It doesn’t have to take six months to start generating leads.

One of the leaders of Inbound Marketing is Hubspot. This online lead generation company provides so many great services and tools that will help your agency to generate, promote and optimize your content to capture, manage and nurture leads to win more new business. I highly recommend their services.

I encourage you to read the inspiration for this post, the article, “Inbound Marketing & the Next Phase of Marketing on the Web”

Additional articles that may be of interest:


About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Once again, great post Michael.

  2. Thanks Dan.

  3. Great stuff! Thanks!

  4. You are welcome Paul!

  5. Such a great post Michael… It is so important to create valuable, shareable content. Creation of great content helps to establish you/your brand as thought-leaders. Shareable content helps to spread your reach with your niche…

    Great content here…

    RM – InBoundMarketingPR

  6. Thanks RM

  7. Interesting read were just becoming involved with inbound marketing and after learning about the power of the method we decided to completely rebrand…. Looking forward to more articles to help me grow!

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