Only a bare majority of inbound marketers are measuring ROI, according to HubSpot’s latest annual “State of Inbound” report, with that result continuing a theme from past studies. But that doesn’t appear to be stunting their confidence: a significant share of inbound marketers are reporting higher ROI than last year – perhaps as previous success is the top reason given for increasing inbound budgets. Interestingly, more inbound marketers this year identify the proof of ROI as their top marketing challenge, while fewer are worried about securing enough of a budget. In fact, some 47% of B2B companies surveyed report increased inbound budgets this year, with another 27% keeping their budgets steady.
Although they feel that proving ROI is their top challenge, marketers don’t identify it asÂ a leading priority, instead being more concerned with improving their lead generation and lead conversion efforts.
Those efforts already seem to be paying off, though: 45% of respondents cited inbound as their primary source of leads, double the proportion (22%) who indicated outbound to be their primary source. And in zeroing in on B2B companies in North America, the study notes that inbound leads are proving far more cost-effective than outbound leads for companies of all sizes.
Not surprisingly, inbound and outbound marketers are prioritizing different channels: the vast majority of inbound marketers feel that social media, blogs and SEO have grown in importance over the past 6 months, while few outbound marketers concur. Indeed, the only channel which a majority of both groups see as growing in importance is email marketing.
As for the inbound tactics that are being most used by respondents, blog content creation and growing SEO/organic presence are the top-2 by both B2C and B2B companies. Indeed, the study notes that marketers who blog are 13 times more likely than their peers to enjoy positive ROI (although that may not be necessarily a causal relationship).
About the Data: HubSpot fielded its “2014 State of Inbound Survey” between June 25, 2014 and July 15, 2014. The survey was administered online, where 6,432 respondents started the survey and 3,570 completed it. The sampling method was a voluntary sample with the incentive being a chance to win one of ten available Beats Solo2 On-Ear Headphones. The audience was solicited through the following promotional channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Paid & Email.
Some 78% of respondents are based in North America, and 44% are HubSpot customers. Slightly more than two-thirds are B2B; 21% are B2C and 5% non-profit. Marketers (1,723) outweighed sales professionals (631) in the sample by almost a 3:1 ratio.