Successfully marketing your business in the digital age requires three things: Knowing what works, doing what works, and knowing how to prove what you're doing is working.
Executing on the most important digital marketing trends requires more than guesswork; it requires research, analysis, and the boldness to implement what you discover. CEOs are not interested in guesswork, but they are interested in actionable proof—the digital marketing trends that drive positive marketing ROI.
The following 7 digital marketing trends were gleaned from Hubspot’s annual marketing research. All of the trends weigh the benefits of inbound’s digital marketing and growth-driven website tactics against the traditional methods of interuptive, advertising-based marketing.
Trend #1) An 'Inbound' Focus on Marketing
Instead of blasting out interruptive ads and trying to pull people to your company, inbound marketing uses helpful content to attract visitors and get them to engage with you of their own free choice.
Outbound marketing is dying fast. In most everyone’s eyes, B2B, B2C, and NPOs, being interrupted by advertising is highly annoying. What do you do with junk mail or with T.V. ads? People simply are not paying attention. Inbound, by contrast, solves, educates and empowers.
Because of its positive-ROI, Inbound Is the Marketing Strategy
of Choice for Companies of Less than 200 People
Even among those who have failed, inbound remains the marketing tactic of choice. [Source: Hubspot] (Click to Tweet)
Trend #2) Paid Advertising is Overrated
Every marketer knows the importance of advertising and that it works. But at what cost and with what results? With decision-makers constantly looking for ways to chop budgets, CMOs are pressured to find tactics that work but within the context of shrinking budgets.
Even people using outbound think it’s a waste. [Source: Hubspot] (Click to Tweet!)
Roughly 32% of respondents whose companies mainly engaged in outbound marketing called paid advertising the most overrated marketing tactic—the number one answer by a wide margin. Some outside of the survey hold that even paid digital advertising (PPC) is a waste of money.
The Most Overrated Marketing Tactic
Both inbound and outbound marketers classified
outbound as a waste of time
Trend #3) Proving ROI Unlocks Budgets
Tactics that focus on ROI hit the top of the list of most important digital marketing trends.
Inbound marketing often has been seen as small companies’ answer to the big marketing budgets of larger companies. While large companies with sizable budgets are able to spend on flashy advertising, smaller organizations have struggled to get the word out with comparatively much smaller budgets.
But with inbound marketing, that all has changed. Inbound prioritizes quality content over ads, pulling customers to you rather than pushing your message at them. Suddenly the little guy possessed just as much marketing power (and sometimes more) than their peers with deeper pockets.
From the data, current marketing trends show:
- SMBs more often use inbound; bigger companies use both outbound and inbound.
- Getting more leads and converting more of them is a top priority across company sizes and sectors.
Trend #4) Inbound is a Marathon
For at least the past five years, inbound has been one of the most important digital marketing trends. It’s just that now, the secret’s out.
By far, the one factor that is influencing marketers to continue budgeting for inbound is past success. Proving ROI and seeing results from last year’s campaigns drives marketers to forge ahead if not dig in deeper with greater focus on inbound. Inbound is a long game; the tactics your execute today will pay a return way down the road.
Past success with inbound marketing is the best way to secure higher budget. [Source: Hubspot] (Click to Tweet!)
Trend #5) Everyone is Implementing Inbound
Think inbound marketing is only for everyone else, like big corporations? Guess again. Of the nearly 4,000 people who took part in this data-gathering survey, 75% favored inbound as their marketing approach of choice, with outbound getting the 25% share. This 3:1 ratio remained consistent across all company types (B2B, B2C, and nonprofit).
Inbound Works for Every Company Type
Whoever your customers are, inbound
is the best approach to reach them
Three out of four marketers across the globe prioritize an inbound approach to marketing. [Source: Hubspot] (Click to Tweet!)
Trend #6) Inbound Achieves Higher ROI than Outbound
Marketers can stretch budgets further using inbound rather than outbound and see greater results.
- Companies who budget under $5M annually on marketing favor spending on inbound.
- Companies who spend less than $100,000 annually are four times more likely to execute inbound than outbound.
Trend #7) Watching Metrics Increases ROI
Inbound, in contrast to outbound, is an agile means to marketing. Marketers who react to changes in results are more likely to see growth in positive ROI.
Inbound 2015 data showed that marketers who checked metrics 3 or more times per week stood to achieve positive ROI. [Source: Hubspot] (Click to Tweet!)
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