Digital 22 discuss state of inbound 2016 title image

The leading voice in inbound marketing has released their annual report on the state of the marketing industry. The enormous HubSpot State Of Inbound 2016 survey results have been collated into this one stunning report. It's a massive insight into the goals, challenges and predictions of marketing and sales teams from all over the world. Here are our immediate takeaways and you can access the full report at the end of this blog.

Some Background To The Survey

Last year, 4,000 people from the industry took part in the seventh annual HubSpot led survey. The State Of Inbound 2016 survey is the eighth installment and it has grown once again. This year, over 4,500 respondents took part in the survey, from over 132 countries, and the majority of them are not HubSpot users. 

respondent background info from HubSpot state of inbound 2016 survey
Who took part in the survey. (Graphic from the HubSpot State Of Inbound Report 2016) 

As we are a Platinum HubSpot Partner Agency, it's great to see what other types of businesses and professionals, who also work with marketing and sales, are saying about the state of our industry, what techniques they use and what they plan on doing in the next year.

People's Priorities Over The Next 12 Months

Inbound Marketing Specifically

The inbound marketing priorities, generally, over the next 12 months and further into 2017 are as follows;

  1. Growing SEO/organic search presence
  2. Blog content creation
  3. Content distribution/amplification

So, Search Engine Optimisation and blog form content are still the favoured tactics of most inbound marketers in the world - but this is surprising when you consider how users are tending to favour their content being given to them in more passive formats such as video.

Just Marketing As A Whole

Looking more generally, here's what those surveyed who also use outbound marketing (exclusively or alongside inbound methods) will be prioritising;

  1. Converting contacts/leads to customers
  2. Grow traffic to website
  3. Increasing revenue derived from existing customers

What's interesting here is that these priorities fit nicely into the buyer's journey principle of good inbound marketing.

1. it's obviously a common goal, 2. it aligns with the 'Attraction' stage of inbound marketing (and can be achieved without costly outbound advertising methods) and 3. it's basically the post-conversion, the 'Delight' and 'Promoters', phase of the journey.

attract convert close delight methodology diagram
The inbound buyer's journey.

Sales Priorities In The Next Year

When it comes to what sales staff are prioritising over the coming year, not much has changed since last year.

  1. Closing more deals
  2. Improving the efficiency of the sales funnel
  3. Reducing the length of the sales cycle

There has only been minimal changes year-on-year on what is most important, "Closing more deals", with a drop from 72% to 70% stating this is the number one priority.

Respondents See More Effectiveness With Inbound Marketing

Remember, the majority of respondents in this survey were not inbound marketers. Marketers, of all types, made up less than 20% of the 4,500 people who took part.

But a whopping 81% of people who employ inbound marketing tactics feel their strategies are effective.

Only 18% of those using outbound methods feel the same.

inbound effectiveness 4 times higher than outbound graphic image

HubSpot's findings on inbound vs outbound technique effectiveness. (Graphic from the HubSpot State Of Inbound Report 2016)

Respondents Say Outbound Marketing Is Overrated

42% of outbound marketers surveyed say that paid outbound advertising is the most overrated marketing tactic.

And this is true all over the world, whether you work using outbound or inbound.

overrated marketing tactics from hubspot survey

(Data from the HubSpot State Of Inbound Report 2016)

Future Marketing Channels

Marketers are planning to experiment with the channels they use to broadcast and promote their clients, products and content on. Despite blogging being stated as the second leading priority for inbound marketers, there is a move coming for marketers to use more visual formats. This is in response to changing user habits.

YouTube, Facebook video and Instagram are leading the way as new channels for marketers to use as we go into 2017.

New social media channels being used according to hubspot survey

(Data from the HubSpot State Of Inbound Report 2016)

Earlier in 2016, as part of the HubSpot Consumer Behaviour Survey, Q1 2016, HubSpot found that users tend to consume videos, social media posts and short news articles more thoroughly than blogs and long-form written content, which they tend to just skim.

This adoption of YouTube, Facebook video and Instagram is likely a response to this change in behaviour by content consumers. But, interestingly, it goes against what the majority of content producers, as in inbound marketers,  plan on prioritising - blogs.

That is quite a disconnect.

The Full Report

We will be discussing some specifics of this year's State Of Inbound report in more depth on our blog. But if you would like to access the full report instead, download it here...

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