Today’s marketers in the digital age need to be clever, agile and one step ahead. Inbound marketing does just that; it goes out and finds the buyer that doesn’t even know she’s ready to buy, makes the product easy to find at the top of all the search engines through many strategies, educates her with brilliant content and blog pieces, assures her by promoting written and video reviews, and makes buying the product a one-click process.
It’s remarkably effective…and, naturally, very difficult to execute properly. How so? Well, Hubspot put out their annual study on all things inbound marketing, with a special focus on how different members of the marketing and sales teams view their interactions. Over 6,000 professionals gave their thoughts and insights from all over the globe…so let’s dive in and see how it applies to where you may be at with your marketing strategies and how affiliate marketing fits into a highly functional inbound strategy.
Inbound Marketing Promises to Grow Exponentially
First, a little proof on the sweeping statements above. Globally, 71% of those surveyed affirmed that inbound marketing is their primary focus. That’s a huge number, and one that is expected to continue to grow exponentially. The respondents from North America also were specific about their inbound marketing priorities: SEO growth, blog content creation, and distribution and amplification of that content topped the list. This should make those in affiliate and content marketing very optimistic about their futures in this new age as these tactics all play apart in a superb affiliate strategy.
The Beast We Call ROI
Obviously since generating leads and traffic is a marketers primary goal, the fact that this was the biggest challenge was no surprise. What is mildly surprising is the fact that marketers STILL aren’t figuring out how to measure ROI.
The marketers that responded listed proving return on investment (ROI) and securing enough budget to carry out inbound marketing as two of the top three challenges they face today (the first was, predictably, generating traffic and leads…something marketers have always struggled with). That’s exactly why marketers love performance based marketing strategies because ROI is easy to calculate and money is only spent on performance.
In fact, while a large majority (46%) claimed that inbound marketing gives the highest ROI, a shocking 41% either didn’t or couldn’t calculate ROI, or just did not bother to answer the question at all. So, while the companies generally agree on the direction global marketing is headed, they still have a hard time justifying it to the bosses upstairs and clients in part because a large percentage aren’t even willing or able to calculate ROI. Challenging, indeed, and potentially a large obstacle to lower level marketing teams who are on the right track, but may struggle for support.
Inbound Marketing Challenges
There are plenty of challenges, both present and future, and this report nails down quite a few. Disruptors in marketing was a main theme, and there is plenty of data and quotes to show both the positive and negative sides to these new concepts. Managing and targeting customers through a variety of ever-changing social channels seems to be a common issue; while some thrive and welcome the challenge, others feel lost and overwhelmed.
Allocation of resources towards these evolving mediums is necessary, and many may choose to bring in some outside help to professionally consult and manage affiliates and other inbound branches. Video, in particular, is a focus: expansion into YouTube and Facebook Video are the top two channels companies are prioritizing. Many welcome this, but some content writers and editors feel it might decrease their roles, or even make them obsolete. As with all of these disruptors, adaptation is key. For example, the writer who trains himself to integrate video in his content and is able to easily merge with multiple social channels should be ahead of the game.
Download the Report Because It’s That Good
This survey is full of information and insight for today’s marketing team, much of which we didn’t even touch on in this piece. As always, adaptation, innovation and forward thinking professionals will lead the pack, and the best know how to put the right people in the right place to get it all done. If you have questions about this post or the report and how affiliate marketing can embrace these trends and power your brand, contact us anytime! We’re a friendly bunch…