Hubspot’s Newest State of Inbound 2015 Report

I just downloaded Hubspot’s newest report on the state of inbound marketing and wanted to give you a “quick” snapshot of what you can find. You will very quickly see why I have out the word quick in quotes above.🙂

For starters, you can download the full report but then either just look at the state of inbound marketing or the state of inbound sales parts of it. I chose to look at both as you can as well.

The state of inbound marketing section covers: the growth if inbound marketing, emerging trends, the best in class marketing practices, setting up for inbound success, and international inbound

The state of inbound sales on the other hand covers: sales priorities, technology, challenges and trends. I will cover this section in a subsequent blog post.  So stay tuned!

As the kick off to the report itself states, “Last year, we added sales to the mix to provide a more complete view into the entire lead-to-customer lifecycle. Our research found that salespeople struggle with a lack of information about their leads and manual data entry — two challenges that necessarily reduce their effectiveness at converting leads to customers. Just like Marketing’s lead generation is of prime interest to salespeople, marketers would be wise to take the problems sapping Sales’ efficacy to heart…with more than 150 countries represented. The majority of our nearly 4,000 respondents are marketers who work for B2B SMBs, and only one-third have an affiliation with HubSpot. Half of the companies represented generate under $1M a year in revenue, and the other half generate over $1M.”

Here are some of Hubspot’s key takeaways from the marketing section first:

  • “Both inbound and outbound marketers rank paid advertising as the #1 most overrated marketing tactic.”
  • “Inbound is the preferred marketing strategy regardless of company type. B2B, B2C, nonprofit…”
  • “Over six times as many respondents from companies with fewer than 25 employees cited inbound as their primary marketing approach…at companies with over 200 employees, inbound and outbound marketing strategies are deployed equally.”
  • “Leads (and converting them) remain a top priority.”
  • Growth of Inbound –>
  • These were the top priorities, based on company size [I chose to only list the top 2 out of 4]:
    • 0-25 employees: converting contacts/leads to customers, increasing the number of contacts/leads
    • 26-200 employees: increasing the number of contacts/leads, converting contacts/leads to customers
    • 201 or more employees: converting contacts/leads to customers, increasing the number of contacts/leads
  • These were the top priorities, based on the type of company [I chose to only list the top 2 out of 4]:
    • B2B: increasing the number of contacts/leads, converting contacts/leads to customers
    • B2C: converting contacts/leads to customers, increasing the number of contacts/leads
    • Nonprofit: increasing the number of contacts/leads, converting contacts/leads to customers
  • “Demonstrating ROI is the #1 challenge marketers face…across companies of different size and focus, and securing more budget to allocate toward ROI-generating activities was next in line”
  • “Finding the right technologies and managing a website were understandably a larger concern for small companies fighting to reach the growth phase.”
  • These were the top challenges, based on company size [I chose to only list the top 2 out of 4]:
    • 0-25 employees: proving the ROI of our marketing activities, (and a tie between) securing enough budget/managing our website
    • 26-200 employees: proving the ROI of our marketing activities, securing enough budget
    • 201 or more employees: proving the ROI of our marketing activities, securing enough budget
  • These were the top challenges, based on the type of company [I chose to only list the top 2 out of 4]:
    • B2B: proving the ROI of our marketing activities, securing enough budget
    • B2C: proving the ROI of our marketing activities, managing our website
    • Nonprofit: managing our website, proving the ROI of our marketing activities
  • Emerging Trends –>
  • “…proving ROI (though indeed still a top priority) has fallen in importance year over year.”
  • “ROI is still the #1 challenge, but executive support and team training are soaring.”
  • Most overrated marketing tactics across inbound and outbound organizations alike [ I chose to only list the top 3 out of 10]:
    • 1. Paid advertising – print, outdoor, broadcast, 2. Paid advertising – social media, online ads, PPC, 3. Social Media
  • “Senior executives favor inbound more than managers.”
  • “This year’s data showed an increase in the number of respondents who indicated they use freelancers and agency partners for content creation.”
  • Best-in-Class Marketing Practices–>
  • “Let’s dive into what the companies with the highest return on their marketing dollars are doing:
    • Inbound efforts achieve higher ROI than outbound regardless of company size or total marketing spend
    • Leading marketers resist the allure of paid campaigns and recognize outbound as being overrated
    • Best-in-class marketers track ROI, prove it’s growing each year, and secure increased budget as a result
    • Past success with inbound marketing is the single-biggest factor that drives budget increases
    • Both staff and guest contributors write marketing content
    • The best marketers check their marketing analytics 3+ times a week
      • Marketers who check their metrics 3x+ times a week are over 20% more likely to achieve positive ROI.”
  • Setting Up for Inbound Success–>
  • This section covers “how leading marketers ascend to the top. What tools do they use? hat sort of relationship do they maintain with Sales? How do they think about metrics (and how often)?”
    • “The main tool in top marketers’ arsenals is a platform for automating their team’s marketing efforts.”
    • Using marketing automation software increases a marketer’s chances for success.  And when Marketing and Sales loop each other in to software purchase decisions…the odds are even better.  Marketers who were involved with sales software selection were 13% more likely to see a positive ROI, and 11% more likely to receive an increased budget.”
    • “Respondents whose teams checked marketing metrics three or more times a week were over 20% more likely to see an increased ROI in 2015.”
    • “Inbound success is a team effort, and requires strong alignment between Sales and Marketing. The organizations getting the most out of their marketing budget (and getting more of it) tend to be partnered tightly with sales.”
  • International Inbound–>
  • “The global community is united in their favor of inbound practices…[however] it doesn’t mean that each region works the same way.”
    • “Australia, New Zealand, and North America all are proportionally less concerned with training, and more concerned with proving ROI. The Asia Pacific region (excluding Australia and New Zealand) was on average 17% more likely to cite tailoring their content to an international audience as a challenge than other regions.  On the other hand, Latin America is proportionally more concerned with identifying the right technologies than other global regions.”
  • Top marketing challenges by region [I have selected the top 3]
    • Australia & New Zealand
      • Proving the ROI of our marketing activities
      • Securing enough budget
      • Managing our website
    • Asia Pacific excluding Australia and New Zealand
      • Proving the ROI of our marketing activities
      • Targeting content for an international audience
      • Securing enough budget
    • Europe, Middle East, and Africa 
      • Proving the ROI of our marketing activities
      • Securing enough budget
      • Managing our website
    • Latin America
      • Proving the ROI of our marketing activities
      • Identifying the right technologies for my needs
      • Securing enough budget
    • North America 
      • Proving the ROI of our marketing activities
      • Managing our website
      • Securing enough budget
  • “North America was the only region where more than half of respondents indicated they check their marketing metrics three or more times per week.  International regions have catching up to do in terms of tracking metrics and ROI.”

As promised, the next blog post will be focused on the takeaways from the inbound sales section.

I hope you’ve found this helpful and stay tuned!

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