Difference Between Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing

Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing are two marketing strategies used by businesses to reach out to the right prospects in a way that doesn’t feel like an intrusion. These marketing techniques help a business grow its audience in so many ways: ensure engagement with buyers, help get more leads flowing in, increase sales, strengthen loyalty, etc.


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Marketing Automation vs Inbound Marketing

The difference between Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing is that Marketing Automation uses marketing software to reach out to potential clients while Inbound Marketing uses social media and search engines to target audiences for selling their products and services. Marketing Automation target audience through automatically generated emails and social media posts.

Marketing Automation is a marketing strategy that uses software platforms developed for organizations and marketing departments. It replaces manual solutions with automated solutions such as sending emails, scheduling social media posts, setting blogs to publish times, creating workflows, etc. The software is used to plan, organize, optimize, execute and analyze the marketing program.

Inbound Marketing is an online marketing strategy used by businesses to attract people to their products and services. The sources used in Inbound Marketing are original content, social media, and search engine optimization. Instead of using interruptive techniques like traditional marketing, it uses interactions and content that is relevant and helpful to potential customers.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMarketing AutomationInbound Marketing
MediumMarketing software like HubSpot, and Marketo.Social media, search engine optimization.
StrategyTarget consumers with automated emails and scheduled posts on social media.Presence on all channels where the target audience is found.
GoalStore the data of each lead in a segmented manner.Increase the reach of a business among the targeted audience.
Target AudienceB2B and B2C Companies.B2C Companies.
Pricing$900-$3500 per month.$2500-$12,000 per month.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing Automation refers to automating the entire marketing technique. It means using automation software to make everything more streamlined and automated. Marketing automation platforms or software are mostly used for sending out emails, scheduling blog posts, triggering a response, getting SEO suggestions, scheduling social media posts, and setting up CTAs and campaigns.

According to a State of Marketing Survey Report, 75% of businesses currently use automation tools for the marketing of their products and services. A poll included in the report suggests that 83% of votes are in the favour of social media post-scheduling as the most suitable digital market element for automation. Email marketing bagged 75% votes for being the second preferred element. PR outreach and brand promotion came last with only 23% votes.

Marketing Automation consists of various stages. Initially, goals are set up. Then a narrow audience is targeted to ensure customer-centric marketing campaigns. Customers are engaged at each stage. The track of each customer’s purchasing level is kept. Then sales and marketing teams are engaged together to construct better algorithms. There are automated drip campaigns that businesses set up to create engagement and re-engagement campaigns for keeping the customers in the loop. Marketing automation software also sends notifications about clients’ activity to let the businesses instantly respond and cater to their needs.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is a term coined by Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot. It’s a strategy for attracting customers to the products and services of any business through a combination of three things: content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. It differs from the more traditional outbound approach to marketing.

Inbound Marketing is used to turn even the not-ready-to-buy customers into buyers and loyal audiences. It builds trust and credibility in the brand and turns customers into brand advocates. It increases traffic and brand awareness. It creates automated sales, and marketing and nurturing leads using conversational bots. Sales-qualified leads are also gathered from different channels.

Inbound Marketing takes place in four stages: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. Strangers are converted into visitors using blogs, keywords, and social publishing. Visitors turn into leads through landing pages. Leads develop into potential customers through CRMs, emails, and workflows. These customers then become promoters through surveys, smart content, and social monitoring.

The four stages of Inbound Marketing agencies are Discovery, Research & Strategy, Execution, Analysis, and Optimisation. In the first stage, the main goals of a business are discovered and marketing KPIs are set up. Secondly, areas of opportunity are researched, personas are defined, and inbound plans are shaped. Thirdly, conversion paths and research keywords are mapped, and SEO-friendly content is created. And lastly, the performance of the campaign is tracked and data-driven improvements are made for better results.

Main Differences Between Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing

  1. Marketing Automation uses software like HubSpot and Marketo to reach an audience while Inbound Marketing uses social media, content marketing, and search engine optimization to target the relevant audience.
  2. Marketing Automation target audience through automated emails and scheduled posts on social media. Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, ensures its presence on all channels where the targeted audience is found.
  3. The goal of Marketing Automation is to store the data of each lead in an organized manner. While Inbound Marketing increases the reach of a business among a targeted audience.
  4. Marketing Automation target Business to Business Companies as well as Business to Customer companies while Inbound Marketing caters mostly to Business to Customer companies.
  5. The price for Marketing Automation ranges from nine hundred to thirty-five hundred dollars a month. Whereas, Inbound Marketing would cost twenty-five hundred dollars to twelve thousand dollars a month.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-16-1442-2_5
  2. http://eprints.ugd.edu.mk/16421/
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