7 Inbound Marketing Trends in 2016

Every year, automated marketing software provider HubSpot surveys thousands of the world’s foremost marketers and salespeople for content marketing trends – customers and non-customers alike. They poll them on their most pressing priorities, the challenges they face and the tactics they’ve used to meet those challenges head-on.

They then track their respondents’ quantitative answers, collate and consolidate their subjective answers, and put the polished result into a master report: State of Inbound. A collection of the common inbound marketing trends.

For the last seven years, the report has tracked the practice and adoption of “inbound marketing.” Instead of blasting out interruptive ads and trying to pull people to your company, inbound marketing uses helpful content to attract visitors and get them to engage willingly. These practices apply equally to content marketing in Edmonton.

The State of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is no longer a totally new concept. Marketers and other business leaders who are not currently practicing inbound marketing tend to be at least somewhat familiar with the methodology. At the other end of the adoption spectrum, a healthy number of marketers have gone all in on inbound marketing and learned valuable lessons along the way. They’ve used these lessons to iterate and refine their marketing strategies, and their results bear testament to this hard work.

Related: Why Digital Transformation Matters Outside of the IT Department and Can Inbound Marketing Reduce the Cost of Lead Generation?

Here are 7 of the most important takeaways from the full inbound marketing report from HubSpot:

  1. Three out of four marketers across the globe prioritize an inbound marketing approach.imgres.jpg
  2. Both inbound and outbound marketers rank paid advertising as the number one most overrated marketing tactic. Even people using outbound marketing regularly think it’s a waste. HubSpot, our Flawless Inbound customers, and anyone else who’s discovered the effects of inbound marketing will say that paid advertising (print ads, TV, billboards) is a poor investment. Indeed, of respondents whose companies favour inbound marketing, 20 percent more named paid advertising as the most overrated marketing tactic than the next-closest item. But guess who else thinks the same? The people paying for print, TV, and billboard ads. Approximately 32 percent of survey respondents whose companies identify as primarily outbound organizations called paid advertising the most overrated marketing tactic – the number one answer by a wide margin. While this could be explained by large companies throwing money at paid as a sort of diversification of their marketing portfolio, it bears repeating that the smart money is on inbound, and that outbound is classified as a waste of time across inbound and outbound organizations.
  3. Proven marketing ROI unlocks budget, but you have to be tracking ROI in the first place, which not everyone is doing. Having a strong marketing automation software that can show you the full marketing cycle linked to the sales cycle in one dashboard is a great value add, especially for departments that are reporting directly to the CMO office.
  4. Leading marketers recognize that inbound is a long game. Both past success and past failure with inbound correlates with an inbound marketing budget increase. Even to the point that Marketing content creation no is no longer limited to in-house writers. According to the tenets of inbound marketing, marketers should create compelling content that reflects their company’s voice and brand while helping the consumers of this content turn into website visitors, leads, and customers. However, the people capturing that unique voice and providing that value don’t always need to be your own employees. This year’s data showed an increase in the number of respondents who indicated they use freelancers and agency partners for content creation.
  5. Inbound is the preferred marketing strategy regardless of company type. B2B, B2C, nonprofit – everyone’s implementing inbound tactics. Leads (and converting them) remain top priority. Increasing volume at the top of the funnel while increasing conversion percentage at the bottom remains important for respondents as well. This is true across company size, as well as organization type (B2B, B2C, nonprofit). Moreover, these two priorities were of nearly equal importance across all segments.
  6. Demonstrating ROI is the number one challenge marketers face. Proving a demonstrable return on marketing dollars was the most oft-cited challenge 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. For companies under 25 people, these two concerns were 10 percent less likely to be cited as the top-ranked “proving ROI”; among established companies, they were 40 percent less likely to be mentioned. Inbound campaigns achieve higher ROI than outbound. This holds true across different company sizes and budgets.
  7. Establishing a Marketing-Sales Service Level Agreement (SLA) leads to higher ROI. The presence of an SLA also correlates with budget and staff increases. Today’s buyer’s journey is especially complex. There are multiple different avenues and opportunities for the modern buyer to conduct their own research. There are also many different ways that the modern buyer can learn, compare products, share his or her opinion and build trust. This is a relatively new phenomenon. The traditional Sales model does not work anymore.

The sampling method for the information within this article was a voluntary sample, with the audience solicited through promotional channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, paid and email campaigns. It doesn’t end there. For a closer look at a host of sales-specific topics, please be sure to download State of Inbound.

Feel free to contact us at Flawless Inbound if you want to dig deeper into any of these points for your organization. We would be happy to happy to help.