Inbound Marketing Grows in Importance

April 28, 2010

Inbound marketing is continuing to grow in importance at the expense of outbound marketing, according to the “State of Inbound Marketing Report” [pdf] from internet marketing firm Hubspot.

Inbound Lead Generation Expands, Outbound Contracts
As a percentage of the overall lead generation budget, inbound marketing expanded slightly from 2009 to 2010 (38% to 39%), while outbound marketing contracted more significantly (29% to 24%). The net effect is that the gap widened from inbound marketing, which had a 9% greater share of the overall marketing budget than outbound marketing in 2009, to a 15% greater share in 2010. Roughly one-third of the lead generation budget is considered “not classified.”


Inbound Marketing Channels Continue to Grow in Importance
Looking at the last six months, businesses rate every inbound marketing channel as more important than any outbound channel. This is a continuing trend from 2009. In addition, no outbound channel grew in importance, with direct mail and telemarketing declining and trade shows remaining flat.


However, three of four inbound marketing channels grew in importance between 2009 and 2010: social media, blogs, and search engine optimization (SEO). PPC (paid search/ad words) significantly declined from being rated important by 32% of businesses in 2009 to 22% of businesses in 2010.

While blogs and SEO grew slightly in importance, social media dramatically increased in the percentage of businesses considering this channel important, from 46% in 2009 to 60% in 2010.

Inbound Marketing Budgets are Increasing
Slightly more than half (51%) of businesses are increasing their inbound marketing budgets this year, with another 37% enacting no budgetary change. Only 12% are decreasing their inbound marketing budgets.


For businesses increasing their inbound marketing budgets, the most common reason given is past success (58%), with 31% citing the economy and 28% citing a change in management. Conversely, 92% of businesses decreasing their inbound marketing budgets gave the economy as a reason, suggesting companies lowering their inbound marketing budgets are doing so due to external pressures rather than dissatisfaction with inbound marketing’s performance.


Social Media Aids Customer Acquisition
More than four in 10 companies overall have acquired a customer from four major social media channels, according to other findings of the Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing report. Forty-one percent of companies have acquired a customer from both Twitter and LinkedIn. That figure rises to 44% for Facebook and 46% for a company blog.

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