Ever since its origin in 2006, Inbound Marketing has proven to be the most invaluable marketing tool for companies and organizations alike. Formerly people used to opt for outbound marketing strategies that involved buying advertisements and contact lists and then praying for some leads to generate out of mindless spamming. Inbound Marketing challenges this theory by following the most result-oriented marketing strategies that have a direct impact on the target customer base of the company – no questions asked. Inbound marketing strategies are meant to attract and retain customers in a fashion that they will be enthralled to use the company’s services or products. There is no force involved, only logic.
” Inbound marketing produces both a higher quality and quantity of leads when compared to traditional marketing ” – Stateofinboundmarketing.com
Inbound Marketing stands for streamlining the marketing approach taken by companies, both budding and established. All companies tend to divert to inbound marketing sooner or later, to keep pace with the evolving customers. With the commencement of a new year, there is a rise of a new generation that is willing to accept the change, Inbound Marketing makes it possible to tap into this new domain with ease and influence their choices from the very beginning. For quite some time now, entrepreneurs have used many complicated and burdening theories of marketing, which signals the onset of Inbound Marketing, as it delivers great relief to the organizations inculcating it and to those who work in such organizations.
Does your company do inbound marketing?
After conducting an in-depth examination of the current market scenario, there is interestingly just vague news on how companies are providing inbound marketing services, and how their services are truly beneficial to their clients.
I have conducted a survey on two of the most prominent Inbound Marketing Agencies of 2014 – HubSpot and Communitize. These two, marketing icons research papers and documents have been analyzed over the course of my survey. Apart from these two prominent entries, I have also surveyed some small to medium-scaled companies that employ a total strength of 2-5 staff (29-% agencies) and up to 500 employees (8-% agencies). The annual revenue of these agencies varied from £50,000 to £1 Million.
” US, Europe marketing decision-makers allocate 34% of their overall budgets to inbound marketing strategies – 11% more than they dedicate to outbound campaigns, like banners, direct mail, and more. ” – Hubspot 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report
A summary of the analysis looked something like this – About 50-% of the surveyed agencies were anticipating a major increase in inbound marketing clients over a period of 1 year, and the other 25-% of agencies claimed their clients would shift to content services. The survey further revealed that most of these companies lacked the required knowledge of customer service, as a striking 83-% of these agencies were billing their clients for the services they provided.
Inbound Marketing Is All Talk – Absolutely Not
Are these agencies going to build a website? Are they only involved in online marketing? How to guarantee that there will be positive ROI if I invest in this agency? These are a few questions that the inbound agencies are well aware of nowadays. This is how they explained to us, their roles in growth hacking their clients’ business.
Out of the numerous agencies claiming to be good at inbound marketing, there are only a few with the required skill-set and capital to invest in such ventures. This is quite clearly portrayed by the figures in the survey, which stated that inbound marketing services were the reason for more than half of the profit for 19-% of agencies, whereas 64-% of agencies hardly made any significant profits out of it. More than 50-% of the surveyed companies were involved in full digital services while less than half offered different forms of social media, web design, online advertising, and email, SEO, or PPC in mixed combinations.
Channels used by Inbound marketing Agencies
The companies which bought inbound marketing services mostly belonged to the Business Sector, followed by the Technology Sector, after a huge gap. Companies involved in software trading, SaaS, IaaS, legal services, and recruitment sectors were least interested in opting for Inbound Marketing services. This portrays the scope for growth in every individual market sector.
My survey further revealed that 62-% of the companies were using Inbound Marketing services to drive product-related queries whereas almost 50-% pointed towards registration to their service.
Inbound Strategies generate Potential ROI
Inbound Marketing continues to gain prominence and grow stronger with every passing day. Out of the entire list of companies surveyed, about 51-% feel that their clients will prosper and continue to use their services while 25% feel that their clients will start opting for Inbound Marketing Services over a period of 1 year, owing to the devastating competition. This is a green signal for Inbound Marketing agencies to conclude that companies will devote a fair share of their investments into Inbound Marketing in the next 365-days, due to the growing prominence of Inbound Marketing. A minor percentage of the companies surveyed stated that there will be a decrease in Inbound Activities in the future (purely due to lack of knowledge). The increased budget of companies can be directly proportional to the growth of Inbound Marketing Agencies throughout the world, which is a positive sign for Internet Marketing Specialists.
Inbound Marketing Agencies – Why Your business needs it?
All said and done; it becomes highly important to educate companies about the power of Inbound Marketing. This is a serious challenge that hinders the growth of Inbound Agencies, which was a primary reason for worry, among the agencies that I surveyed. The next problem was meeting and allocation of budget for around 45-% of the agencies, which clearly showed that either the companies were not aware of Inbound Marketing, to suit their requirements or they simply did not have the necessary funds. The analysis further justified that Inbound Marketing was popular among the senior level which allocated significantly low resources for Inbound Marketing campaigns. 36-% of the companies surveyed, were inefficient to show business benefits and 25-% did not have a proper website/ landing page or a central buy-in point.
Lack of knowledge can be further demonstrated as 49-% of the agencies were not aware that inbound marketing could reduce the cost of acquiring leads, and if so, by what ratio. 10% of the companies even stated that they had never used inbound marketing while a measly 4-% said that they had their cost of acquiring leads reduced by 50-% through inbound marketing.
Other benefits of Inbound Marketing that are worth mentioning are an increase in the volume of leads, an increase in popularity and social presence, and better alignment of sales and marketing. Another element that gained tremendously from Inbound Marketing was the increase in the volume of marketing. Upon conducting another survey, I found out that only 17-% of agencies were dissatisfied with their ROI for services offered to clients and only a small number of clients were unhappy with the ROI the agencies were getting them.
Now, here I have a situation where on one hand, the majority of agencies claim to be happy with the ROI for them and for their clients whereas on the other hand, inbound marketing reduces their cost-per-lead factor. There is a reasonable explanation for the way ROI is being measured. The measured ROI seems good enough for the marketing department of these companies but is not satisfactory for its senior departments.
Even though social media management techniques made it possible to increase the number of likes and followers of the page, the business objectives of conversion are far from reached, at such an early stage. This is where Inbound Marketing takes the lead by not only driving traffic but also converting visitors into customers.
The Future of Inbound Marketing
About 80-% of the surveyed agencies were happy or extremely satisfied with the services they offered. 76-% of agencies said their customers were asking for more digital services, whereas only 24–% said that their customers were deeply satisfied.
Growth in demand has been recorded for internet marketing specialists as 43-% of agencies had ‘hiring more staff’ listed in their primary checklist for the coming days. The next best category for staff recruitment went to account managers by 33-%, sales staff by 22-%, and marketing specialists by 23-%, and directors by 10-%. But 43-% of agencies wanting to hire Inbound Marketing Specialists and Analysts is the catch here.
By hiring digital marketing specialists, these agencies can get diversified clients by satisfying their current client base with the best ROI and hope for future opt-ins by providing the best Inbound Marketing Services.
It’s a Good time to implement a proper inbound strategy
Interestingly, I can conclude that most of the agencies as the survey finds out – are looking forward to massive growth in the Inbound Marketing field. All data and statistics confirm that more companies are soon to migrate into Inbound Marketing strategies, and the existing companies are going to increase the Inbound Marketing budget this year.
The gap of unskilled and less-knowledgeable to skilled and informative agencies that provide Inbound Marketing services has to be filled. With the advancement of technology, it’s becoming difficult for all agencies to keep pace due to financial constraints, but it is clearly visible from the survey that companies using the latest equipment are faring better in terms of cost-per-lead. Being updated is not only advantageous for these companies but it also signifies that they are ready for a change, if needs be in the near future.
Even though outbound marketing has been effective in many cases, but do you feel that Inbound Marketing is going to gain a firm ground in the coming days? If so, let me know the possible ways how the gap of unskilled and less knowledgeable to skilled and updated agencies can be filled. Share your views about the current state of affairs, in the ‘comments section provided below.