Every now and then it's a good idea to broaden our focus and look at the big picture. If you're considering inbound marketing and its components, content marketing, social media marketing, lead conversion and analytics, it helps to understand your goals first. For many of us the goal is simple, generate sales leads. We need new business, and we need to be as efficient as possible about finding it. But how to allocate our marketing budgets to achieve our goals?
Last year HubSpot released its State of Inbound Marketing Survey in which 167 marketing professionals were asked how they spent their marketing budgets and how effective each technique was in generating sales leads. The overall budget breakdown was as follows:
In 2008 there was a fairly even distribution in marketing budgets among both inbound and outbound marketing techniques. 2009 was a perfect storm for advertisers and marketers, however. The double whammy of a historic recession and a rapidly changing marketplace conspired to shut down marketing budgets across the board. Faced with declining sales, marketing professionals and decision makers sought the most cost-effective solutions for generating sales leads. In 2010 there can be little doubt that companies of all sizes are turning towards inbound marketing and social media and away from traditional advertising and marketing approaches. The chart below from MarketingSherpa shows increasing budgets for social media marketing across a wide spectrum of industries.
For most decision makers, however, trends don't govern their budgets, reality does. Your brand, your target market, your products and services and your company culture dictate what works and what doesn't work. But there is ground truth in the data. Consumers are rejecting direct mail, e-mail spam and TV advertising. They want relationships, and they are building those relationships in social media. They seek information, but not from producers. They want online referrals and ratings. They demand responsiveness, and to an ever increasing degree, they qualify you before buying from you. Clearly, inbound marketing is a growing trend, but not because it's hip or cool. Inbound marketing works because it addresses the needs of consumers and builds relationships between you and your customers.
Bottom Line: In 2010, if you want to generate more qualified sales leads, you should look into inbound marketing.