As an inbound marketer, you understand that the days of screaming and shouting at your potential customers to attract their attention is an aging practice that is going the way of the dinosaur.
While some organizations still swear by interruptive, outbound marketing, many businesses who opt to take an inbound marketing approach are seeing huge rewards. This is what makes HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound Marketing 2015 such an important report.
Let’s examine the most telling trends in this report to better understand what the numbers could mean for your forthcoming marketing plans.
Big Trend #1: Inbound Marketing Costs Less, While Returning Greater ROI.
Only the largest corporate giants have pockets deep enough to rely solely on outbound marketing. HubSpot’s report states that companies earning less than $100k a year, which are typically start-up companies and other smaller entities, are much more likely to practice inbound marketing.
They practice inbound marketing four times as much as the big companies.
In other words, inbound marketing is the guerrilla warfare of modern marketing. It’s fast, efficient, and allows organizations with fewer financial resources to achieve an efficiency similar to the grand marketing machines that brand-name corporations use.
The effectiveness of inbound marketing compounds this cost-effectivenes further. HubSpot’s report states that companies are three times more likely to experience a higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than outbound ones.
Imagine what will happen when the monsters corporations shift to an inbound marketing strategy.
Big Trend #2: Better Analytics Means Bigger Budget Allocation
Everyone wants more budget. Securing more budget is once again the second most pressing challenge for survey respondents. However, securing more money for your team might not be as hard as it seems.
The results of the report outline one simple truth. Show a positive return today and receive a higher budget tomorrow. The best way to do this is to demonstrate a positive ROI and budget allocation. Teams that were able to demonstrate a positive ROI were nine times less likely to see a lower budget the following year.
The key is to track ROI so you are able to show a positive return. Not tracking ROI means not being able to demonstrate ROI, which means no budget increase.
Big Trend #3: Different Outbound and Inbound Priorities
Companies of different sizes have different priorities. Larger companies deploy inbound and outbound marketing on nearly a 50-50 basis, medium groups focus on a 70-30 split and small companies focus on a 84-13 split.
The amount of money available for marketing, the investors backing these companies, and the experience companies have with inbound marketing tend to dictate what type of marketing these companies will use.
Smaller companies, which tend to have less budget and less to management hurdles than big corporations, likely rely upon inbound marketing due to their limited funds and relative freedom from boardroom environments.
Big Trend #4: Outbound Marketers Say Outbound “Overrated”
One surprising trend HubSpot’s 2015 report found was the fact that outbound marketing was considered a considerable waste by inbound and outbound-centric companies alike. This means that the people in charge of marketing understand that outbound marketing has a low ROI.
HubSpot’s report supports this. They found that executives preferred inbound marketing over outbound marketing, non-executives viewed inbound and outbound marketing as equally matched, and people further down the corporate ladder, such as management, preferred outbound marketing more.
In other words, the more a person understands the actual ROI of inbound marketing, the more likely they are to be successful.
Big Trend #5: Responsive Business Strategies are More Successful
HubSpot’s 2015 report shows that outbound marketers tend to take a laissez-faire approach towards marketing. This approach seems to result in a lower ROI.
Marketers who checked their analytics more than two times a week were rewarded by an increased ROI. The implication here is that they changed their strategies to dynamically suit what their customers wanted, which in turn rewarded them with higher profits.
This is likely why inbound marketing produces a better ROI than outbound marketing. Rather than telling the customer what they should want, you are answering to your customers as to why your product fulfills their needs better than any other solution available.
This makes inbound marketing an anything-but-passive approach, which is a contrary to many outbound campaigns.
>Big Trend #6: CRM Tools Make Businesses More Successful
While social selling remains more hype than reality, the real sales gold involves building a lasting relationship with customers.
The reason social selling may continue to fail to take off pertains to the undervalued nature of CRM solutions. Roughly a quarter of the respondents said they lacked a proper CRM solution, and half of the salespeople that responded stated they used solutions like Excel for CRM.
The worst part about this trend is that companies lacking a CRM solution were two times as likely to fail as companies that did have CRM software.
The adoption of CRM software for inbound marketing, rather than using antiquated tools like Excel that make data entry easier for salespeople, allowed for a plethora of profits.
Big Trend #7: Great Salespeople Aren’t Commission Driven
One trend that remained constant amongst companies with inbound or outbound marketing philosophies was that a strong sales team was needed to further their business goals.
The problem is acquiring these talented people. Rather than compensation or a prestigious position, most salespeople responded that they preferred the “opportunity for growth”.
This means that focusing on providing an environment where salespeople can create connections while contributing to the whole as an individual is one of the most important things any company can do.
This need may stem from the way most upper-level people in companies view the credibility of someone in sales. HubSpot’s report found that very few executives would rely on the people making sales for purchasing decisions. They would rather rely on social media, word-of-mouth or customers references for these decisions.
Final Takeaways from the State of Inbound 2015
There are more than just a few points that are painfully clear when it comes to the information presented by the State of Inbound 2015.
The things to keep in mind are:
- Inbound marketing is preferred by inbound & outbound marketing professionals.
- Inbound is 3x more likely to produce positive ROI than outbound.
- Paid advertising is ranked as #1 overrated marketing tactic by inbound & outbound marketers.
- Companies that spend less than $100k / year are 4x more likely to practice inbound over outbound.
- Senior Executives favour inbound more than mid-level managers.
- Data from customers determines the success of inbound marketing.
- CRM solutions provide a leg-up while elevating the bottom line.
- Retaining talented salespeople requires more than just a flashy paycheck.
If you’re tired of spending money fruitlessly on less-than-amazing marketing results, then now is the time to switch to inbound marketing. Other companies with significantly more bountiful marketing budgets will do so, which means that establishing yourself before them is one of the few ways to create an edge.
By successfully employing the right customer-centric solutions while remaining active about retrieving and interpreting the data your customers give you, it is possible to create a lean, mean, marketing machine with inbound marketing.
In a realm like business where only the fittest survive, this makes a focus on inbound marketing something that your business needs to remain viable.