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5 Best-in-Class Marketing Lessons for SMBs [New Data]

By Pat Heffernan on 10/13/15 9:00 AM


In today’s world of big data, actionable data remains rare — especially for the small and midsize businesses (SMBs) whose limited marketing resources make gut-based decision making most risky. Which is why the wealth of actionable data in the just-released seventh State of Inbound Marketing 2015 report is such a resource. (Do not be misled by the term inbound marketing in the title; a wide range of marketing tactics is covered.)

Survey scope and participants

Each year, HubSpot surveys thousands of the world’s foremost marketers and salespeople -- customers and non-customers alike. For the first time this year’s report is a global document, with more than 150 countries represented. The majority of the 3,957 respondents are marketers who work for B2B SMBs, and nearly two out of three have no affiliation with HubSpot. Half of the companies represented generate under $1M a year in revenue, and the other half generate over $1M.



5 Best-in-Class Marketing Lessons

There are many takeaways from the rich data in the report -- fodder for future blog posts – but here are five marketing lessons that jumped out from the best-in-class companies. These are the lessons to be learned from the SMBs enjoying the highest ROI on their marketing efforts, which led to increased resources and revenues for their firms.

1. Prioritize an inbound approach to marketing.

Three out of 4 marketers across the globe do, because inbound campaigns achieve higher ROI than outbound. This holds true across different company types, sizes and budgets. Every company surveyed -- regardless of marketing spend -- was three times as likely to see a higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound.


2. Measure what matters.

The best marketers check their marketing analytics 3+ times per week. (Not everyone is even tracking results yet.)



3. Leading SMB marketers make their dollars go farther.

If your organization spends less than $100,000 on marketing annually, you’re four times more likely to practice inbound than outbound. And paid advertising is the outbound marketing tactic considered to be most overrated by companies of all types, sizes and budgets.


4. Launch a balanced attack to churn out compelling content.

Leading marketers’ content comes from in-house and out. Content sources include staff, company executives, freelancers, guest contributors, agency partner, curation, and writing panels.

5. Align (and clearly define criteria) for marketing and sales success.

You’re likely to have heard before that establishing a Marketing-Sales service level agreement (SLA) leads to higher ROI, but for many SMBs this can sound like just so much marketing jargon. Whatever you call it, the survey data shows is the best-in-class companies share certain marketing-sales team characteristics:

  • Marketing tactics and content are audience (or persona) driven
  • Shared CRM software shows information useful for both marketing and sales
  • Marketing is involved in sales software decisions
  • Salespeople (both inside and in-field) have solid information on prospects
  • The characteristics of a “hot lead” are clearly defined

There you have it — five marketing lessons from the SMBs enjoying the highest ROI on their marketing efforts. Tackle implementing as many as you can for your SMB!

Graph and image credits: State of Inbound 2015, HubSpot

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