WTF is Inbound Marketing Anyway?

This post started out as a tweet, then a comment on, but neither really allowed me to vent enough so its ended up here on my blog – (which is unloved to say the least).

It is in reference to this thread at which has been getting some heat on whether to include a PPC category on site.

These are the comments that caught my eye:

Buying ads is outbound IMHO. I was even surprised that we got an advertsing category here.” – Tad Chef

Not that I hate on paid search, but erm… the site is called PPC is paid media, which is the polar opposite.” – Ian Howells

Now frankly, Im in disagreement with both of the above.  PPC is absolutely a part of inbound marketing by my standards.  My definition of inbound revolves around being somewhere with the answer when someone is looking for it, NOT sticking an advert for a product or service in front of their faces.  That absolutely includes PPC!

Lets say you are looking for a specific product on google, that potential sales cycle was initiated by the user searching for something.  You pop up with a relevant ad.  How is that NOT inbound?  The fact that you paid for it doesnt remove the fact that you are getting your link in front of someone when they are actively searching for their product.

Granted, if for instance you are doing some really creative PPC and getting your brand out there on weird random queries, then that would be branding – NOT inbound.  If you are buying banner adverts, that would be branding, NOT inbound. If you are affiliate marketing, that would be performance marketing, NOT inbound.

But for god’s sake: if Im advertising a product through the medium of adwords, when someone is searching for that product, why is that NOT INBOUND??

I’m interested on other peoples take on the below, so feel free to leave a comment!


Martin MacDonald
Expedia EAN 😉



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