According to a new article by CRMproductReview that aggregated a lot of industry data, adoption of Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) worldwide is projected to grow by a whopping 50% per year. In its State of the Marketing Technology Industry, big data analytics company Mintigo shows market leader HubSpot used mainly in SMEs with 78% of its customers counting 100 or fewer employees, while most competitors find higher user percentages in larger firms. In the leading US market, the highest adoption rate is found in the technology industry followed by healthcare and business & financial services.
As we have noted in other blog articles and ebooks, inbound marketing is highly efficient in creating, managing and nurturing leads. This shows in the usage rates of AdWords with its lower customer engagement and lower brand affinity compared to inbound marketing. The daily AdWords budgets are lowest amongst HubSpot users, though still significant at an average of $150 daily (ibid). Users of competitive MAPs spend up to $600 daily, the rate for Eloqua with its highest penetration amongst large companies, but also a significant $500 for users of Marketo, which is also considerably more expensive and complex to use than HubSpot (Marketing Matters).
One US HubSpot VAR (Value Added Reseller) conducted an useful study that clearly shows the advantages of adopting an all-in-one marketing automation tool such as HubSpot (among others). Since inbound marketing is focused on organic traffic, on which up to 94% of users click (as opposed to Google AdWords) OverGo Studio looked at organic search engine traffic and found that HubSpot users achieved an astounding 590% growth in traffic in one year, while clients not using this tool achieved 170%. Since lead generation volume is heavily dependent on the volume of visitors a site receives (next to conversion rates), implementation of HubSpot clearly pays off after only a few months into an inbound programme with more visitors, leads and customers.
The agency studied 14 of its clients over one year who received the same level of inbound services and published the same number of blog articles during that period. Blogs are the number one way of generating traffic to a company website and therefore a central element of any content-focused inbound program.
The difference in using free and disconnected tools that Google, WordPress with its third-party plug-ins, MailChimp or other newsletter tools and more bring compared to the fully integrated and far more powerful marketing tool set HubSpot brings to bear is significant. Most European online marketers have no idea what they are leaving on the table by using what everyone else does (and is free).
While common sense tells us that’ it’s not cost, but value that makes the difference in both B2B and B2C business results, marketing is still mostly seen as a cost factor instead of in investment with a clearly measurable ROI that returns its cost in multiples already during the first year with inbound marketing.
Platforms such as WordPress are convenient, cheap and widely used for creating “brochure-ware” websites, but they are not built for marketing and therefore produce poor to no business returns, as the study implicitly shows. Google Analytics reflects anonymous traffic data, which can be helpful, but is of little use for marketing. Only MAPs are capable of showing detailed contact data in its analytics that allow for refined targeting and optimisation to empower gains in traffic volume and conversion efficiency.
As the OverGo study shows, the use of HubSpot for inbound marketing enables opportunities to gain on the competition through better search rankings using long-tail keywords as SEO, competitive keyword tools, campaign, as well as workflow and other marketing automation tools. While these do not come free, their value for digital marketing is undeniable for the forward-looking marketeer.