Inbound marketing is an industry game changer – a substantial budget to spend on flashy promotions is no longer a requirement for successful marketing tactics. Smaller organizations are now equipped with the same marketing power as the big boys through use of compelling content.
The State of Inbound 2015 survey reaffirmed that inbound marketing is more effective than paid advertising in accomplishing marketing goals. The inbound marketing statistics below reveals what separates the most successful inbound marketers from the rest.
Stat 1: Inbound campaigns achieve higher ROI than outbound.
By a landslide, inbound is the preferred marketing method over outbound for companies spending less than $5M annually on marketing. In fact, preference for inbound marketing climbs successively higher in congruence with lower spends. Either the nearly 4,000 State of Inbound respondents are doing something wrong, or inbound marketing is working (we’re betting on the latter).
By digging further into the inbound marketing statistics, we see why this is the case. No matter the size of the marketing budget, big or small, everyone is seeing more ROI from inbound marketing than outbound.
on Inbound Marketing Campaigns than Outbound
On average, 48% of all marketers see higher ROI using inbound marketing compared to only about 14% seeing higher ROI from outbound efforts. The data suggests that outbound marketing significantly trails inbound marketing in ROI. Or, as State of Inbound 2015 puts it, “…outbound lives in inbound’s shadow.”
So, how can you use this stat to your advantage when asking to increase your budget for next year? Change in management and the economy were two factors identified by survey respondents that caused a change to their inbound budget. However, no single factor was more important in driving a higher inbound budget than past success with inbound marketing.
Here’s where it gets interesting: past failure with inbound also resulted in higher budget. Of those who were unsuccessful with inbound last year, 81% still increased budget this year. This means that top marketers are keeping their end-game in mind – inbound marketing often takes time and endurance to see the payoff. If your inbound marketing gets off to a slow start, don’t abandon it, but escalate these efforts instead.
Stat 2: Even people using outbound think it’s a waste
Print ads. TV. Direct mail. Billboards. It’s easy to throw money into outbound marketing, which explains why companies with large marketing budgets allocate more toward outbound. Marketers who identify as primarily inbound can obviously see the wastefulness of outbound marketing: 20% more respondents in this category named paid advertising as the most overrated marketing tactic than the next-closest item.
But what you might be surprised to learn is that companies who favor outbound marketing say the same: approximately 32% of these marketers called outbound marketing tactics overrated – the number one answer by a long-shot. You read that correctly – the people paying for print, TV and direct mail consider it trivial.
State of Inbound 2015 declares that, “While this could be explained by large companies (200+ employees) throwing money at paid as a sort of diversification of their marketing portfolio, it bears repeating that the smart money is on inbound.”
Stat 3: Best-in-class marketers track ROI
What do the world’s top marketers have in common? Big budgets. How do they get them? They prove their team’s positive ROI through data, and data is difficult to dispute. State of Inbound 2015 marketers were 20% more likely to receive a higher budget in 2015 if ROI was tracked in the first place. These odds more than double if respondents were able to show ROI year-over-year. Marketers who fail to demonstrate ROI get receive some bad news: The report shows they are nine times more likely to receive a lower budget.
Whether positive or negative, this data provides a strong case for establishing links between marketing activities and results. With budget on the line, dedicating time and resources is well worth the outcome. You can’t afford not to track inbound marketing, so it is paramount that your company learns how to prove ROI.
Stat 4: Leading marketers use marketing automation software
You’ve seen how proving ROI year-over-year gives you a 50% chance of increasing budget. But what if you could get the odds up to nearly 100%? Marketing automation holds the keys to a secure marketing budget. We’ll break it down for you:
Marketing automation is the central tool in top marketers’ repertoire, serving as a platform for automating marketing efforts.
Best-in-class marketers use marketing automation software
Marketers who saw a higher marketing ROI last year were more likely to have used marketing automation software
These same respondents had almost no chance of receiving a lower budget, and had a higher likelihood of increasing their budget
The moral of the story: Marketing automation software increases marketers’ chances for success.
Stat 5: Content creation doesn’t have to be in-house
By definition, inbound marketing should consist of compelling content that reflects a company’s voice and brand in order to increase website traffic and capture and convert leads. However, emulating your brand’s unique voice and value proposition does not always have to come from internal employees. According to State of Inbound 2015, the use of freelance and agency talent is on the rise as marketers increasingly partner with outside vendors for content creation.
The secret to a successful inbound marketing strategy includes a diversified approach to generating compelling content. The report notes that companies that saw an increase in ROI year-over-year were more likely to employ staff writers and guest contributors than their less successful peers.
Inbound marketing relies on the basics to become successful: proving the impact through positive ROI will result in a budget increase, which allows enhancements to inbound efforts such as marketing automation and outsourced content creation.