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The Shift to Inbound Marketing

17th February 2014 by toucan team

Social Networking Content Marketing Digital Marketing Social Media Branding

Warning, in this blog I’m going to be throwing a few statistics at you for which I make no apologies. Inbound marketing a term bouncing around the depths of the web at the moment. I’m still staggered companies are not strategically and tactically embracing the concept. Whether you like or not, marketing has been disrupted by digital marketing and social media. People focus on these two elements, but that misses the point really, what you actually need is an inbound marketing plan.

As customers and consumers we are moving towards a market place tuning out of traditional marketing. During the industrial market complex we first asked the question, can we have it? We then asked how much does it cost? Where we are now; how does it make me feel? Consider the facts:

- 86% of us skip TV adverts.

- 91% of us unsubscribe from email.

- 44% of direct mail is never opened.

- 200 million people are on the ‘Do not call’ list.

There are many definitions of inbound marketing, look them up on Google. Of course its all subjective but lets go with something like this “Inbound marketing is a strategic, content driven approach that gains the attention of customers to your brand by engaging in conversation and interaction that eventually converts them into loyal brand advocates.”

So how does this differ from the traditional format we’ve all become a slave to for the last 60 years or so? Well my take is this:

- Traditional is cold calling. Inbound is search engine optimisation or rapidly tranforming to search engagement optimisation (SEO.)

- Traditional is cold emails. Inbound is blogging.

- Traditional is interruptive adverts. Inbound marketing is connection and conversation on social networks and delivering great content via digital platforms to your specific audiences.

- Traditional was very marketing centric. Inbound is very customer centric.

Its a shift that can’t be ignored. It doesn’t mean that some traditional marketing is dead, its just been replaced gradually. In the past you broadcast at customers, now customers find you. This means you have to be seen, you have to be visible and you have to create a very clear signal above all the noise in this world of abundance.

Central to inbound marketing is content. Blogs, interactive tools, images, videos, podcasts, infographics, presentations, ebooks, white papers, webinars etc etc. Here goes, some facts for you about the performance of inbound marketing:


- 61% of global Internet users research products online. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)

- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report, 2010)

- Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages. (HubSpot Lead Generation Lessons from 4,000 Businesses, 2011)

- 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)

Social Media

- 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. (Source: Aberdeen)

- 53% of social media marketers don't measure their success. (Source: Awareness, Inc.)

- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012) 96% measure number of fans and followers,

- 84% measure mentions, 55% track share of voice, and 51% track sentiment. (Source: Awareness, Inc.

- Websites using the +1 button generate 3.5x the Google+ visits than sites without the button. (HubSpot) Retail is the top industry that has acquired customers through - Facebook. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)

- Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3 times as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in their history. (RJMetrics)


- Blog frequency impacts customer acquisition.

- 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)

- Nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes. (eMarketer, August 2010)

Lead Generation

- Companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than 10. (HubSpot)

- 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each marketing campaign. (MarketingSherpa)

- Those with over 40 landing pages got 12 times more leads than those with only 1 to 5 landing pages. (HubSpot) 

Email Marketing

- 80.8% of users report reading email on mobile devices (HubSpot)

- 88% prefer to receive HTML emails vrs 12% who prefer plain text from companies (HubSpot)

- Your most recent subscribers are the most likely to click through (HubSpot)

Lead Management

- A whopping 68% of B2B organisations have not identified their funnel. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

- 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing. (Source: MarketingSherpa

- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)

What I’m saying essentially is that inbound marketing is multi channel by nature, its about all of the above being synchronised, understanding that your website might be a hub but if its not talking to the web, you have a huge problem. We can see that inbound is increasingly becoming far more effective. According to Hubspot, inbound creates 54% more leads than outbound marketing and costs 61% less than outbound.

Its a no brainer really. Its not easy deploying an integrated campaign to reach audiences because, for many, it means re training and re wiring the brain. As Tony Robbins is quoted as saying “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.” If outbound is working for you, and I mean truly working for you then great, but things are changing.

Marketers and brands need to lean into the future and consider how customer behaviour is becoming different. If you produce great content and deliver it to the right channels where your audience is at thats a start, then you need to be prepared to engage with them on a peer to peer level at a depth you’ve never experienced before. Thats a fearful place to be for many brands and that presents two choices; forget everything and run or face it and rise to the challenge.