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State Of Inbound 2015 Report Insights: Emerging Trends

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing trends have continued to develop in a somewhat predictable manner, however this year’s data findings have produced a few surprises. Here are some of the more eyebrow-raising findings and insights.

Companies Want Their Lead Generation Cake And Eat It Too

The top priorities for companies of all size and sectors are to increase lead volume and improve conversion rates. Interestingly, while this news is somewhat expected, what is surprising is when you discover that the lowest priority across company size and sectors is to reduce the cost for accomplishing these objectives. In fact, reducing the cost of acquiring new leads/customers was three times less likely to be prioritized as increasing the number of leads/customers. 

Takeaway:  While companies are worried about increasing leads and conversions, they are not concerned about the costs required to do so.

What Keeps Marketers Up At Night

While proving ROI continues to be a top concern for most marketers, results from this year’s survey suggest there are some underlying shifts occurring. For example, finding an executive sponsor was cited as a marketer challenge 7 times more in 2015 than in 2014. Another challenge was finding training teams, which was cited more than twice as much as the previous year. This makes sense, primarily for SMB’s who continue to fight for marketing budget (and prove ROI) and to get executive team buy-in. The next logical step upon receiving executive buy-in is to use the funds to train team members and improve their skill set.

Takeaway:  ROI is still the #1 marketing challenge however executive support and team training are soaring.

Even People Using Outbound Think It’s A Waste 

Anyone who has discovered the effects of inbound marketing will tell you that paid advertising (i.e. print ads, TV, billboards, etc.) is a poor investment. Interestingly, the people who continue to pour money into these outdated and costly tactics would tell you the same. In fact, approximately 32% of companies who identify as primarily outbound organizations called paid advertising the most overrated marketing tactic. Most of this can be explained by large companies (with 200+ employees), who continue throw money at paid advertising, likely in an effort to diversify their marketing portfolio, when the smart money is on inbound tactics. 

Takeaway:  Outbound tactics are classified as a waste of time across inbound and outbound organizations alike.

Inbound Works For B2B, B2C, and Non-Profits

Think inbound isn’t for you? Not so fast. Of the nearly 4,000 survey respondents, inbound had a 75% likelihood of being the marketing approach of choice, compare to outbound that only had a 25% chance. This 3:1 ratio is consistent across all company types, whether it’s B2B, B2C or non-profit.

Takeaway:  It doesn’t matter who your customers are, inbound is the best approach to reach them.

Senior Executives Favor Inbound More Than Managers

The data shows that the further you advance in your company, the more likely you are to adopt inbound approaches. Outbound is perceived to be the best marketing approach in terms of generating ROI among Managers and Senior Managers. At the non-executive VP/Director level, inbound and outbound are equally split. Inbound surpasses outbound as the preferred approach at the executive level, which represented over a third of all survey respondents. 

Takeaway:  Advancement up the corporate ladder correlates strongly with an increased favoring of inbound marketing tactics.

Marketing Content No Longer Limited To In-house Writers

Historically, marketers have created compelling content offers that reflect their company voice and brand while attracting website visitors and converting them into contacts. However, the people who write this content don’t always need to be your own employees. The data this year shows an increase in the number of companies who use freelancers and agency partners for their content creation.

Takeaway: The use of freelance and agency talent is on the rise.

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