Marketing moves so quickly, professionals must continuously look ahead to anticipate trends and changing consumer behaviors. It can often feel overwhelming.
The good news? You’re far from alone.
This becomes quite clear in an updated annual survey that takes the temperature of what’s on the mind of marketing pros.
This year’s State of Inbound 2017 survey by HubSpot, provides great insight into the challenges and future marketing and sales priorities of companies of all sizes around the world. More than 6000 people responded to the survey this year, including CEOs and senior executives as well as in-the-trenches professionals who are executing programs, so it’s a good snapshot at every level.
Here are a few themes that popped out to us:
- Video is huge priority. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they were adding YouTube as a content distribution channels to their marketing efforts in the next 12 month, followed by 46% for Facebook Video, and 37% Instagram.
- AI and VR are on many professionals’ radars. These were two of the top responses to an open ended question about disruptors to the marketing industry. Big data, machine learning and the automation of repeatable tasks are very much on everyone’s minds.
- Social platforms, especially messenger apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp, continue to prove challenging, especially with constantly changing algorithms and analytics.
How are you making strides in integrating these channels into your marketing programs?
Could message apps replace email?
People still prefer to interact via email more than any other channel, but the report notes, “Chatting through messaging apps is now an ingrained part of business life for 31% of our respondents.…For over a third of responses, social media and messaging apps are part of how they communicate.” [Emphasis ours.]
For marketers trying to activate audiences through email sign-ups, the inbox still matters, but other channels may become even more enticing.
Modern Buyers Remain Mysterious
One of the themes that stood out in this report is how difficult it is to get a clear picture of how modern consumers are changing their buying behaviors. As the report puts it, “Trying to track and understand target customers across multiple channels is a complicated and challenging endeavor for many organizations.” That may be an understatement.
harder than it looks
Overall, the survey reports that three top marketing challenges are generating traffic and leads is the top marketing challenge (63%), followed by proving the ROI of marketing activities (40%) and securing enough budget (28%).
But when the survey splits out different seniority levels of respondents, it reveals C-level execs see Marketing differently than those lower in the corporate hierarchy. For example, 69% of executives think their marketing strategy is effective, but only 61% of Managers and 59% of individual contributors agree.
As HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan writes:
“…executives who set the vision for their companies have very different perspectives on the state of their business compared to individual contributors tasked with executing on that vision. Executives need a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges employees face, and employees need to communicate more clearly the roadblocks in the way of success. Without clear communication and alignment, a company will struggle to build strong and lasting relationships with its customers.”
Clearly marketers — and their agencies — need to build better cases for how they can improve marketing to deliver higher ROI to the business.
download the full report
MMK Marketing is a HubSpot partner. Get in touch to learn more about how digital inbound marketing strategies can support your business goals.