This month, Hubspot released its annual State of Inbound Marketing report, which features survey data collected from nearly 4,000 respondents around the globe. These respondents include marketers and sales people from businesses of all sizes and types (B2B, B2C, and nonprofit).
Some of these respondents are using inbound (digital) marketing, while others are not, but together they project a clear image of emerging marketing trends, priorities, and challenges for marketers around the world.
The full report is packed with data, but here are a few of the main takeaways.
Globally, 3 Out of 4 Marketers Prioritize Inbound Marketing
This data may surprise the 25% who aren't currently prioritizing inbound marketing, but for the rest of us, it confirmed something we already knew. Inbound marketing has proven high ROI, and marketers around the world are taking advantage of that success.
As the report shows, more and more marketers realize that blogging, social media, email marketing, and other inbound strategies are more beneficial than traditional, outbound campaigns.
Inbound is the Preferred Strategy Regardless of Business Type
Some marketers hold off on prioritizing inbound strategies because they don't think they'll work for their business type. This data suggests that marketers in all types of business (whether that's B2B, B2C, or nonprofit) are using inbound strategies successfully.
The survey found that, overall, 75% of people preferred inbound marketing. Interestingly, that statistic remained consistent (within 3%) when they broke the data down further by business type.
Proving ROI is the Number One Challenge for Marketers
Proving ROI has consistently ranked as the number one challenge marketers face. This year, however, it fell 7% since the last survey and several other challenges are slowly catching up. This makes perfect sense. Marketers and executives need to know that marketing strategies, whichever strategies those may be, are worth the money and effort.
In the last year, though, 7x more marketers report that finding an executive sponsor is their top challenge. It stands to reason that once they've established ROI for inbound strategies, finding someone in leadership to support their efforts would be a subsequent challenge.
Inbound Campaigns Produce Higher ROI
Fortunately for the 22% of marketers primarily concerned with proving ROI, inbound marketing strategies have established success. In fact, companies surveyed were 3x more likely to see higher ROI from inbound campaigns than traditional, outbound strategies. That holds true for companies regardless of size and marketing spend.
This suggests that for those marketers worried about ROI, tracking inbound marketing success may be the best way to prove it.
Paid Advertising is the Most Overrated Strategy
Inbound and outbound marketers both agree that paid outbound advertising (print, outdoor, and broadcast) is the most overrated strategy. Thirty-seven percent of companies primarily using inbound marketing reported paid advertising as the most overrated strategy. This isn't completely surprising.
However, 32% of companies using mostly outbound marketing (the people actually paying for this kind of advertising) agreed with them. This strategy beat out the next closest overrated strategy by more than twice as much.
What do you think about these findings? Is there anything that surprised you?