For the fifth year in a row, HubSpot undertakes a massive survey taking the pulse of Inbound Marketing trends and adoption by asking 3,570 marketers and sales professionals from all different kinds of backgrounds (HubSpot customers, non HubSpot customer, HubSpot partners and non-HubSpot partners). You can download the full report here.
1) Inbound Marketing ROI Makes 2015 Budget A No Brainer
For a lot of marketers, securing budget feels like a catch 22. They need to show success before they get budget approval. The good news is: According to the report, Inbound Marketing budgets have been up for five times as many marketers compared to those who had to endure budget cuts.
The first big conclusion of this report is that Inbound Marketing efforts are measurable, hence they show a clear return of investment.
If you can show a clear ROI, getting more budget next year is a no-brainer. The research has shown, that reporting a positive ROI with your Inbound Marketing efforts was the #1 factor for securing or even increasing your budget, followed by factors out of your control such as change in management and economy.
However, despite the measurability of the ROI with marketing automation platforms and other tools available today, ROI still remains the main challenge and - in fact - was the only challenge that was reported higher this year than last.
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2) "Getting found"
Getting found is the number one priority across all respondents. Blogging and organic growth through SEO are the number one priorities for both B2C and B2B, followed by content distribution and amplification.
According to the report, "84% of inbound marketers – compared to only 9% of outbound marketers – cite organic, top of funnel sources (social media, blogs, SEO) as rising in importance."
While smaller companies are more likely to produce content in-house due to tighter budget restrictions, the internal staff is still the most effective personnel to create content with the highest ROI.
Outsourcing content creation to agencies and freelancers, however, delivers still more ROI then content written by executives and guest bloggers or content curation. This allows companies to scale their content output while at the same time increasing the capacity of the marketing team to measure and optimize.
3) Data facilitates alignment.
Data plays a crucial part in the inbound machine.
It allows us to measure ROI and see what is effective and what is not, it helps us to align leadership with execution as well sales with marketing.
And there is another important data point that needs a special mention: the cost per lead which significantly differs between outbound and inbound. A medium size company (51-200 employees) who relies on traditional (outbound) marketing, will spend more than three times as much per lead compared to a business of the same size practicing inbound marketing.
4) Agencies are leading the pack
The adoption of Inbound Marketing is up across the board. According to HubSpot, "the number of marketers who state they are practicing inbound rose from 60% last year to 85% this year, while the percentage of marketers who concede they don’t run inbound was nearly halved to 13%."
When comparing vendors to agencies, marketing agencies like Organic SEO Press are leading Inbound Marketing adoption and success by sourcing 47% of their leads through Inbound.
5) Inbound beyond Marketing: The era of “inbound selling” has arrived.
Inbound is expanding into other lines of businesses and departments beyond just marketing. Sales, IT, product development, recruiting, professional services and research & development are embracing Inbound Marketing into their daily routines: 25% of the respondents in sales and 10% of the services professionals stated they have started to embrace inbound practices.
HubSpot suggests to see them as an extensions of the marketing team – both in terms of championing the inbound philosophy throughout the organization as well as contributing content to the engine that drives the program’s success."
How About Your Inbound Marketing in 2014?
Did you also find ROI reporting challenging? Who write the content in your organization? What are your budget expectations for 2015? Share your thoughts with us - we would love to continue the conversation.