What's all the talk about Inbound Marketing for?

Ranya Barakat

April 07, 2016

Any regular digital marketing agency will tell you that, as of 2016, the way customers engage has changed radically.

That isn't news at all. Any marketing and sales figure shows it.

However, many people fail to ask the right question. What has changed and why? And, most importantly:  how can my company address this shift?

Hubspot's State of Inbound 2015 report provides the latest digital marketing trends for success. It proves, especially, that the marketer needs to become a forward-thinking analyst, understanding and embracing the buying process changes and accommodating them.

  • 3 out of 4 marketing professionals consider using an inbound marketing strategy, and both inbound and outbound experts believe that paid advertising is the most overvalued type of publicity.
  • The most significant evidence for most marketers: inbound marketing influences a larger return on investment (ROI) both in the way it engages people with information and a customized, informed, and consumer-oriented sales process. Moreover, the inbound marketing method provides plenty of metrics to support marketers in proving ROI and subsequently increasing marketing budgets.

Traditional marketers say that they waste half of their advertising budget, but they don’t know which half.

The new customer is empowered. When asked about the sources of information they rely on when making purchase decisions for business software:

  • 60% of executives responded that they heard word-of-mouth, social media referrals, and friends
  • 49% reviewed customer references
  • 47% revised analyst reports
  • 43% checked vendor-authored materials such as ebooks, blog posts, and whitepapers.

 Only 18% relied on the salesperson. 

Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Report 2015

Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Report 2015

On the other hand, decision-makers enter the sales process much more informed about sales offerings than before and are busier.

Marketing executives can tailor the process to the modern buyer and be more forward-thinking by using techniques and tools which help them track the return on investment of different campaigns, products, prices, buyer personas, and sales channels.

However, proving ROI is a growing trend but is still not the winning one.

In Latin America, for instance, proving and demonstrating ROI accounts for only 32% of small companies, 4% of mid-market companies, and 46% of big businesses.

Source: Hubspot Estado de Inbound Latino America 2015

Source: Hubspot Estado de Inbound Latino America 2015

The most important challenge marketers have proving ROI to top management and secure a larger budget for the following year.

 How are successful marketers forward-thinking?

  • Successful marketers are concerned with measuring and proving yearly ROI with higher budgets as a result.
  • Past success with inbound is the single most important topic to increase budgets.
  • Leading marketers check their analytics over 3 times a week
  • The most successful companies show an increase in marketing budgets, demonstrating that their teams are worth the increase in the budget by measuring results year by year
  • Survey respondents had 50% more chances to get a higher budget in 2015 if they measured ROI in the first place and twice more likely to increase budgets when a higher ROI is demonstrated.

Even though "closing more deals" remains salespeople's number one priority, social selling is catching and working with leads up the sales funnel, instead of force-pushing them into acquiring a product, although it’s a long process, it’s more effective than direct sales when looking at the big picture.

 Hiring sales teams are more likely to:

  • Use Customer Relationship Management techniques.
  • Work with a custom database.
  • Use marketing automation software.

Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Report 2015Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Report 2015

At the same time, to customize solutions and sales offers, hiring sales teams are more likely to check data such as:

  • Contact information
  • Website interaction history
  • Social media information 

Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Report 2015

Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Report 2015

With these results, it is evident that time and effort to relate strategy and results are important. It shows that analyzing your customers and measuring return on investment might look like a large road, especially when you have to deal with waiting for a lead to nurture to get to sales. But, in the long run, it pays off.

"Top marketers realize that inbound is a long game," the report says. "If you get off to a slow start, you shouldn't back off. In fact, you might consider doubling down."

Since, in the long term, it is cost-effective and measurable, you can now go to your financial manager and tell them, effectively, which half of the advertising budget is wasted, and which half is not. Moreover, you can provide evidence on how a 10% increase can exponentially turn into a 50% profit.

It's April, and the year runs ahead. So you need to start tracking ROI now!

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Ranya Barakat

Ranya is a serial entrepreneur with over 8 years of experience working on the HubSpot CRM. She loves pushing her sleeves up , and getting s*** done. When she is not running her HubSpot partner agency, you can find her upside down on her yoga mat.

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