Inbound marketing hits the mark. That’s the overwhelming message from marketing and sales professionals in Australia and the rest of the world with the release today of HubSpot’s seventh annual State of Inbound Report.
The global report, which covers more than 3500 respondents from more than 150 countries, shows inbound marketing is preferred to outbound marketing by a ratio of 3:1 in all seven global regions, with 78 per cent of ANZ respondents showing this region leads the world in its inbound preference.
The report also highlights ANZ and North America are more concerned with providing ROI than the other global regions and provides worrying news for the advertising industry with paid ads being judged as the most over-rated marketing tactic by both inbound and outbound marketers.
“Over the last few years especially, we’ve seen inbound marketing and sales methodology continue to take root around the world. As an industry, the State of Inbound Report can be used to determine which facets of inbound people are gravitating towards and which elements, or markets, remain nascent,” said Ryan Bonnici, HubSpot’s director of marketing in Asia Pacific. “The latest report shows that businesses prefer inbound to outbound tactics 3-to-1, the movement has proven itself as a success.”
Available online, the 2015 report features in-depth analysis of global industry trends based on data from thousands of the world’s foremost marketers and salespeople. The annual report also monitors yearly progress and the emergence of new patterns and themes within marketing and sales.
Created by HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company, the report revealed businesses around the world predominantly prefer inbound to outbound marketing and sales activities. Inbound marketing entails the creation of remarkable content for distribution and promotion across social channels, while outbound includes the use of banner ads, direct mail, cold calling, and other intrusive ways of grabbing the customer’s attention.
Meaningful marketing to many
Key marketing takeaways from the study include:
- Inbound is the norm rather than the exception, as businesses now prefer inbound to outbound 3-to-1
- Companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound campaigns
- Paid ads are the single-most-overrated marketing tactic, according to both inbound and outbound marketers, signalling a great opportunity for a better way to do ads
- 84 per cent of small businesses are predominantly using inbound marketing
- Inbound is the preferred marketing strategy regardless of company type, meaning B2B, B2C, and non-profits alike are all adopting and implementing inbound tactics
- Lead generation and conversion are the biggest challenge for marketers, proving the value to be gained from the convergence of marketing and sales
Sales shifting to inbound
This year, the report increased its focus on trends in sales and sales technology. Key sales findings include:
- Manual data entry is the #1 issue for salespeople when trying to use their CRM systems
- Sales teams are 2x as likely to be unsuccessful if they use Excel, Outlook or physical files to store lead and customer data
- Salespeople cite prospecting as their #1 challenge when ranking the most difficult parts of the sales process
Matthew Butler, group marketing manager at Reckon Limited, is one who placed ROI high on the list of desirables for any marketing.
Reckon Limited, the ASX listed Australian company well known as a leading provider of software solutions for business and accounting and bookkeeping professionals, engaged HubSpot in 2013 to help the 30-year-old company build brand awareness and generate leads when it underwent a name change in 2013.
Previously, the team employed traditional marketing tactics such as brochures and direct mailing to generate demand. However, Mr Butler wanted to adopt a new marketing strategy that would enable him demonstrate the ROI of marketing activities and, in turn, provide insight to make informed business decisions.
“We saw an opportunity to work more effectively and an opportunity to increase our conversion rates and sales,” he said. “I liked HubSpot because it seemed to be a blend of functionality and simplicity; some of the other solutions were impractical and I was trying to make it an easy enough tool for the whole marketing team to get their heads around, and HubSpot met that,” he said.
The State of Inbound 2015 report had a much greater emphasis on global trends than the 2014 report. Compared to the 2014 report, in which 78 per cent of respondents were from North America, this year it only represented 18 per cent of respondents. The 2015 report also examined different segments at a much more granular level, analysing trends by region, company size, and role in the organisation.