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In today’s digital economy, many people are no longer strangers to the term inbound marketing. If you’ve read any of our blog posts before, it’s likely you’ve come across our enthusiasm for the process (to say the least…) and – *disclaimer* – we’re about to toot the inbound marketing horn again.

As more and more business pros warm up to the concept and realize the positive outcomes which result from taking this approach to attracting, converting and closing leads, it’s no surprise three out of four marketers across the globe say they now prioritize inbound marketing over traditional outbound methods. But this particular stat is just the tiny tip of the ice berg…

Our friends at HubSpot have officially released the 2015 State of Inbound Marketing Report! What is this report, you ask? Every year, HubSpot surveys thousands of marketers and salespeople from all over the world (only about one third of the companies are actually affiliated with HubSpot) about their challenges, priorities, plans and strategies they’ve used to achieve important business goals. From this data, HubSpot analysts glean significant trends and insights that marketers – both seasoned experts and total newbies – can use to spruce up their own strategies for the coming year.

The State of Inbound document has a solid reputation for being comprehensive. Yet the seventh annual report incorporates both quantitative and anecdotal responses from nearly 4,000 participants in over 150 countries, primarily representing small and medium-sized B2B companies. Readers will also come across plenty of nuggets in the report that reveal insights into the challenges sales teams are currently facing, as well as how their initiatives and best practices have shifted since last year.

PMG has enjoyed a sneak peek at the report this year, and we wanted to share a few tidbits with our readers – and of course provide a link to HubSpot’s site so you can obtain your own copy at your convenience. Below are 4 stats to give you a taste of what’s included in this year’s State of Inbound Marketing

1. Outbound marketing is widely overrated.

And it’s not just inbound marketing proponents who think so. Although many HubSpot fans profess that outbound tactics consistently do not measure up to the success of inbound marketing, even 32% of survey participants from primarily outbound organizations agree that paid advertising (in the form of print, broadcast, outdoor, etc.) is the most overrated marketing technique. By a wide margin, no less. So if you haven’t hopped on board the inbound marketing train, it’s time you did!

2. Proving ROI remains the top challenge for marketers, but other priorities are taking a firmer hold.

While it’s not a shocker that demonstrating ROI is the paramount concern for the vast majority of respondents, monumental shifts are taking place just beneath the surface. Specifically, finding an executive sponsor (7x more likely to be cited as a challenge in 2015 vs. 2014) and training teams (twice as likely to be cited) have significantly increased in terms of perceived importance. Particularly for SMBs, this makes sense, as marketers truly need executive buy-in to secure a better budget – and they need top talent to deliver the results that positively impact ROI. And the link is clear, as HubSpot reports that “respondents were 20% more likely to receive a higher marketing budget in 2015 if ROI was tracked in the first place, and twice as likely to see an increase in that budget if that tracked ROI was shown to be higher than in 2014.”

3. The perceived credibility of salespeople is at an all-time low.

It may be disheartening, but according to HubSpot’s report, executives making business software buying decisions are least likely to rely on a salesperson for credible information. Instead, CXOs prefer word-of-mouth and social media referrals, customer references, and analyst reports. Therefore, engaging with buyers via social channels and perfecting your customer service policies and processes are imperative. In terms of inbound marketing, the fourth pillar Delight is now more important than ever before!

4. Outsourcing content creation has become increasingly common.

Creating awesome content is certainly one of the cornerstones to an effective inbound marketing strategy. But no matter how well you know your product or service and industry, you still need solid writing chops in order to build a piece of compelling content that engages prospects and cultivates their interest in your company. Despite that every business sports a different voice and branding style, the people capturing it in your content don’t necessarily have to be your own employees. 2015 data reveals an increase in the number of participants who indicate they make us of partner agencies and freelancers to help with content creation, whether it be blogging, social media posting, eBook drafting, etc. It’s often the most cost-effective solution, freeing up your subject matter experts to work on other projects while a partner firm or adept freelancer can synthesize the most important information provided by your SMEs into an attractive and informative piece for your website!

Interested in the full report? Click on the link below and you can download your own copy of the 2015 State of Inbound Marketing Report on HubSpot’s website – and dig into all the latest and greatest inbound marketing (and sales!) trends and tactics that will influence the business landscape in 2016. Happy reading!

Download HubSpot's State of Inbound Marketing 2015 Report

About the Author

Oren Smith | Marketing Manager
Oren Smith, Marketing Manager

Oren Smith—our resident Marketing Manager and data geek... *ahem* expert—has been heading up PMG's marketing for 5+ years. Between stretches of content writing and inbound strategy, you might find him planning his next adventure abroad or enjoying a good, old-fashioned lobster roll.

 Tags: HubSpot Inbound Marketing

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