HubSpot logoWhere is the wonderful world of inbound marketing heading?

I have just been enjoying a read of HubSpot’s paper / ink busting 5th annual state of inbound marketing report. It is a monster, but it is very good and well worth a read (free to download, so follow the link to see in its full glory).

This year’s report gives insight from 3,339 marketers across the globe, only 9% of which are current HubSpot customers, so it gives a really interesting insight to attitudes towards inbound marketing.

This is an area that really interests me and we embraced the concept last November. In reality, we didn’t change anything in the way that we approached SEO but the notion of ‘inbound marketing’ is stronger than our historic ‘PR-led SEO’ approach and it is enjoying increasing familiarity amongst modern digital marketers.

I would encourage you to read the report yourself (give yourself a few hours!) and I plan to fully immerse myself in it when I get some time, but there are some encouraging signs for the disclipine:

  • 60% of companies will execute inbound marketing strategies in 2013
  • 48% of marketers plan to increase their inbound marketing spending
  • 41% of marketers confirm inbound produces measurable ROI
  • 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing

Amongst all the good news, there are some warning bells, especially with regards to the need to agree a definition of what it actually entails. 19% of marketers questioned were unsured whether their activities constitute inbound marketing activity. It reminds me of the early days of SEO when nobody really knew how to pigeon hole the discipline.

Another  interesting, although alarming, stat for me is the claim that 51% of inbound teams contain fewer than six people (although this stat is also quoted at 81% in the report?). Whilst this is not actually a great surprise for me, I believe that inbound marketing should be at the core of pretty much every stage of the customer journey (including beyond conversion – it is then time to turn your customers into loyal brand ambassadors). This simply cannot be siloed and needs adoption as a company culture rather than palming off to a small team.

There are some great graphs in the report. A personal favourite of mine is the evidence to support the positive impact that a blog can have on a website. Surely that is enough to shatter any resistance to the addition of fresh / engaging / opinionated / helpful / controversial / fun content to a site?

There is too much to summarise in one blog post and I don’t want to steal their thunder, so have a read yourself. Thank you to the HubSpot team for publishing the report each year.