HubSpot recently released its fifth annual report on inbound marketing. It’s 175 pages, detailing trends, tactics, statistics and more. If you have the time, it’s definitely worth reading. If you don’t, here are our favorite highlights:
- Integration. Marketing is ineffective without sales. Sales can’t be made without proper marketing. The two are inextricably linked. Yet only 24 percent of marketers report a concrete plan within their company to integrate sales and marketing strategies when it comes to handling leads.
- Priorities. The two top marketing priorities for companies engaging in inbound are reaching the right audience and lead conversion. Just below that is increasing total volume of leads, followed closely by creating quality content.
- Resources. Inbound resources are 125 percent more likely to come from the marketing team than from sales, and resources are even less likely from other departments. At a glance, this makes sense. Where else would you get your inbound resources from but marketing? But remember, success requires cooperation, not isolation. Effective inbound marketing should have broader business planning, utilizing a company’s full range of available resources.
- Implementation. B2B companies lead the way in implementing inbound strategies, with 65 percent. B2C companies are in last place with 47 percent.
- ROI. The top concern among inbound marketing agencies is proving the ROI of their campaigns to their clients.
- Lead generation. Inbound marketing delivers 54 percent more leads than outbound marketing. The leads are higher quality, and the cost per lead is, on average, 13 percent less than outbound. But early adopters have the competitive advantage. It’s important to get on board with inbound immediately to see the best results.
- Lead growth. Some of the most effective lead growth comes from implementing HubSpot. HubSpot customers reported growing their lead base, on average, from 300 to 9,100 after just a year and a half of using the service.
- Budget. In most areas, budget growth is leveling out. But nearly half of marketers are increasing their inbound budgets. Forty-one percent did so based on past success. And overall, a larger portion of marketing budgets is being allocated to inbound.
- Blogs. Producing content regularly increases your following and increases lead generation. Marketers posting 15 or more blogs per month (roughly 3-4 per week) reported an average of 1,200 new leads per month. But remember: quality is as important as quantity. Your content needs to engage your readers in order to get their attention.
- Teams. Eighty percent of marketing departments have less than six people doing inbound marketing, and 29 percent don’t even have one full-time employee for inbound. Inbound marketing has a lot of facets and demands a tremendous amount of work, meaning these small inbound teams are over-worked and over-stressed.
- Personnel. Social media is taking hold as the most prevalent use of marketing resources, with 16 percent of companies hiring a full-time social media marketer. The next largest use of personnel is e-mail marketing, at 11 percent.
- SEO. 15 percent of marketers saw above average lead conversion from SEO as opposed to other methods, making it the most effective method of converting leads to sales.
What can we take away from this? First, inbound marketing is effective. It’s working better than other forms of marketing and getting results that can’t be denied, in terms of leads and sales. But despite this, many companies and clients still won’t acknowledge inbound’s success and dedicate the necessary resources to help it really make a difference. It’s time to stop messing around. Inbound marketing is the way of the future. Those who don’t get in on the action will be left behind.