The reality is inbound and outbound marketing can work the best when there's an effective synergy between the two. As a quick refresher, inbound marketing refers to activities that bring customers in, such as blogs, e-newsletters, social media marketing, SEO, etc. On the flip side, outbound marketing involves marketers having to go out of their way to get their prospect’s attention, such as cold-calling, direct mail, radio and television advertising, etc.
Outbound marketing done cost effectively can help tremendously with brand awareness which makes all of your inbound activities more effective. I frequently read arguments about the value of inbound marketing which tries to cast outbound marketing as outdated and overly expensive. The common term I hear used by inbound marketers when discussing "broadcast" and other outbound marketing methods is "interruption media". The reality of what is termed "interruption media" is actually a long standing agreement between consumers and content providers involving high quality content for free, but delivering interruption or commercial messages. A great example of these two concepts going head to head is Pandora radio. When offered the choice to pay for content or have a limited number of interruptions, the overwhelming majority of consumers have opted for interruptions. It is also unquestionable that inbound marketing can be incredibly effective at targeting specific audiences at a time when they are likely to be in the market for your product or service.
Don't let marketing professionals force you to choose between the two without exploring whether you can have an effective combination of both. For example, a pay per click ad is unquestionably more effective from a company I'm already familiar with through their television, radio or outdoor marketing. The key is to evaluate your marketing goals and pick the tools and marketing systems which are most cost effective for you.