A new report published by HubSpot, the State of Inbound 2017, highlights the latest trends in inbound marketing in 2017. The report is one of the most in-depth looks at the current state of inbound marketing and speaks to broader changes the web is creating in the global marketplace.
Achieving and proving ROI is a major part of successful marketing. This is because marketing spend is an investment – it’s more than just a cost of doing business. Finding ROI in marketing is how businesses can grow and scale their marketing efforts.
With that in mind, HubSpot’s latest report had some insight into what marketers are doing in 2017 to find ROI.
Top Inbound Marketing Priorities in 2017
There were a few things that, across the globe, marketers were making a priority. When asked what their inbound marketing priorities were, marketers responded:
- Growing SEO and Organic Presence (61%)
- Blog content creation (53%)
- Content distribution/amplification (47%)
This is not entirely surprising in the context of marketing as an investment. Building a strong organic presence doesn’t require a ton of resources, yet the return can be enormous.
The report also revealed that high level decision-makers trust vendor-authored content just as much as media articles, and more so than analyst reports. This is a sign that content marketing is working as intended. It’s giving prospects the information they desire, and, as evidenced by the top 3 marketing priorities, it’s driving sales for businesses too.
Keeping an Eye on Digital Disruptors in 2017
Another clear trend from the report was the fact that marketers were carefully watching the rise of a few potentially disruptive digital channels. Chief among them was video marketing, one of the top-cited disruptors, with 48% of businesses planning to add YouTube to their list of content distribution channels in 2017.
Video platforms are a common distribution channel now, but many marketers expect video to grow even more in importance in the coming years and are preparing now.
The other major disruptor in the report is messaging apps like WeChat or WhatsApp that are considered “dark social.” Marketers aren’t able to track sharing on dark social sites, which makes measuring success more difficult. But the main impact of dark social, especially in regards to messaging apps, is that they take people away from email.
In fact, 37% of C-level executives use messenger apps to communicate. This is a tremendous obstacle to email marketing – a centerpiece of nearly every marketing strategy.
Preparing for these potential digital disrupters in advance will help set marketers up for success in the future.
Boosting 2017 Sales Efficiency
The inbound report showed that businesses’ number two priority in regards to sales was improving the efficiency of the sales funnel. On top of that, 38% of businesses said their sales reps struggle the most with prospecting. There’s evidence inbound marketing is already beginning to help with this.
When businesses who characterized their sales and marketing departments as tightly aligned were asked where their most valuable leads come from, the majority said marketing. The opposite was true with misaligned departments where leads sourced by sales were deemed the most valuable.
Of tightly aligned sales and marketing departments, 81% said their marketing strategy is effective, compared to 27% of misaligned departments. Also, 70% of tightly aligned departments plan to increase the size of their sales teams.
When marketing is more integrated into sales, the effectiveness and efficiency of sales increases significantly.
Many Opportunities for Marketing ROI in 2017
While marketers are growing their organic presence, keeping an eye out for digital disruptors, and aligning more closely with sales departments, there are plenty of other ways to find a return on marketing spend.
Digital marketing, by nature, is highly measurable, which clears the path for proving ROI and scaling marketing efforts. As digital capabilities increase, businesses are wising up to the benefits of using inbound marketing to grow their business.