Online Marketing by an Undergraduate

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making sense of marketing one post at a time

Hubspot Inbound Marketing Report – Analysis

Today I read my first white paper, the “State of Inbound Marketing”, produced by Hubspot. Below I list the paper’s three key findings and then present my reaction to the paper. Comments and criticism welcome.

3 Key Findings:

  1. Inbound Marketing channels deliver a dramatically lower cost-per-sales lead than outbound channels.
  2. Blogs lead other social media in terms of importance to business.
  3. Small businesses are most aggressively allocating lead generation budgets to blogging, social media, and search engine optimization.  (Hubspot, 3)

My Reaction:

Point 1 Take away: Dramatic Difference in lead cost between outbound marketing driven business and inbound marketing driven business overstated because of skew in large business outbound driven marketing spending.

When the white paper aggregates the survey data, an inbound marketing driven business lead averaged $84 in cost whereas the outbound marketing driven lead averaged $220—difference, $136. When the white paper breaks the data down, however, the difference grows to about $400 for large (>50 employees) businesses and shrinks to between $10-$15 for both small (<10 employees) and medium (11-49 employees) sized businesses—a much different picture.

A key cost driver for large outbound marketing driven businesses are the expensive trade shows—expensive because 55% of respondents said that trade shows cost above the average of other lead channels—to which they allocate at least 13% of their budget (at least 13% because this is the average for all large businesses, an outbound marketing driven business might allocate a higher portion of its budget to trade shows). On the other hand, small business only allocate about 5% of their budget to trade shows and only generate 5% of their leads from this channel.

The large business spending on such an expensive outbound marketing tool contributes to an overstatement of the difference in lead cost between an outbound marketing driven business and an inbound marketing driven business.

 

Point 2 Take away: Blogging leads other social media in importance but unclear why.

The white paper shows that 31% of respondents felt that blogging was critical to their business with fully 75% saying blogging was useful (the categories were critical, important, useful, somewhat useful, not useful). The social media tool Stumble Upon came in second with 5% of respondents saying the service was critical  and 55% saying the service was at least useful. For perceived business importance, blogging is the clear winner. The white paper, however, does not disaggregate blogging from social media in the lead generation statistics, so I cannot know the difference in effectiveness between blogging lead generation, and all other social media lead generation.

 

Point 3 Take away: Small businesses are aggressively shifting resources to inexpensive lead generating channels with success.

Small business respondents allocate three times the budget (15% vs. 4%) of medium-to-large businesses to blogging and social media resources. Additionally, they spend more (15% vs. 10%) on search engine optimization than medium-to-large businesses do. This finding suggests small businesses are more cost conscious than their larger counterparts, as 55% of respondents estimated blogging and social media costs are below the average cost of other lead generating channels and 48% responding SEO costs are below the average as well. Additionally, SEO was THE ONLY distribution channel that generated leads in a percentage significantly greater than its budget allocation (16% vs. 12%).

 

My Take away:

The white paper demonstrates the advantages of using an inbound driven marketing strategy as well as presents inbound marketing techniques within the context of a broader marketing strategy.  

Because each lead generation channel produces leads in line with spending (except for SEO), the more a business can shift resources to less expensive lead channels, the better. Here, inbound marketing techniques win over outbound techniques (trade shows, direct mail, telemarketing) because inbound techniques are generally less expensive.

Additionally, with the increasing importance of the internet as a social environment, outbound marketing strategies are becoming less effective, putting even more pressure on businesses to shift resources to inbound marketing strategies.

Although based on the previous two paragraphs, businesses should shift more of their resources to inbound marketing, that does not mean a business should eliminate their outbound marketing strategies, it just means they should play a lesser role.

Not without flaws, the paper could have benefitted from a lead generation budget allocation breakdown comparison between inbound marketing driven businesses and outbound marketing driven businesses in both large and small business categories, a disaggregation of lead generation data between blogging and social media, and an historical breakdown of lead budget allocation percentage vs. lead generation percentage to see how quickly outbound marketing is becoming less effective and inbound marketing becoming more effective.

While the paper has its limitations, it was informative and thought provoking, two great qualities for knowledge I got for free. 

 

**Note: One observation that I did not include in my analysis above but is nevertheless important is that the white paper’s data show that the average length of company blogging is 10.8 months, with the median being six months, an indication of a LARGE SKEW toward businesses blogging much more than 10.8 months. While the paper does not go deeply into the consequences of this observation, some things I would like to know are: how effective are these established blogging businesses compared to their more nascent counterparts, and how often do established bloggers compare to their same competitors? This knowledge would be helpful in communicating with future clients how long they should expect to blog before generating a return and also how frequently they would have to blog at different stages of their blog’s life cycle.

Filed under: Marketing Education, , ,

The Winning Way by Gyutae Park

I like free stuff, especially when the stuff is knowledge. That’s why I like my library cards at WashU, Rutgers, and my local library, that’s why I like Hubspot, and that’s why I like The Winning Way, a 118 page ebook by Gyutae Park (www.winningtheweb.com).

Backstory, a successful internet marketer, blogger, and entrepreneur suffered from internet marketing information overload–too many web resources and blogs to process–and to resolve his dilemma, he spent six months compiling and distilling that endless information into this gem. For a taste, I have listed the chapter headings below:

  • Author’s Note
  • How to Read this Book
  • Setting Up Your Site
  • E-Commerce
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Blogging
  • Link Building
  • Local
  • Paid Search (Pay-Per-Click – PPC)
  • Video
  • Social Media
  • Guerilla Marketing
  • Final Words

I have read “Setting Up Your Site”, “E-Commerce”, and “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”. I like his concise prose and additionally, he peppers his writing with links to other helpful resources. For example, in his chapter on SEO, a topic I know close to nothing about, he included a link to another blog–SEOmoz, www.seomoz.org/–entitled “Beginner’s Guide – What is SEO?” Perfect!

Anyone can download his book, just go to his website www.winningtheweb.com. (I forgot to mention his promise–if you don’t find three new ideas in his book, he’ll pay you $50 🙂 )

Filed under: Marketing Education, ,

Predictive Analytics – Add it to the Mix

Every day, I have to absorb new information and new fields within marketing. Today, the field is predictive analytics (Thank you Lewis Green for bringing it to my attention Lewis Green: Predictive Analytics). Although a general term, within marketing predictive analytics refers to using historical data about customers to predict their future decisions.

What historical data do I use? What future decisions do the analytics predict? I have to answer these questions. This post is the beginning. As always, comments on readers’ experience with predictive analytics welcome.

Filed under: Marketing Education, ,

I love Hubspot

I’ll say it again…I love Hubspot. Anyone interested in marketing, please, visit the resources section of their website, here:

http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-resources/

Three Marketing Whitepapers, Ten Marketing Kits, Three Marketing Hubs, Twenty-Five webinars. Amazing. I don’t want to sleep, I just want to devour everything on their site.

When I start adding features to this blog, I will provide a link to Hubspot.

Filed under: Marketing Education,

Ogilvy and Bernbach – Differences and Similarities

David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mathers and William Bernbach of Dane Doyle Bernbach were two giants in American advertising. Only having begun my reading of them, I already see different approaches the two take to the same profession:

On Research:

Bernbach – too much dulls the mind.

Ogilvy – meticulous. ad man must continually pursue new knowledge.

On Originality:

Bernbach – believes ad needs freshness, originality to get noticed.

Ogilvy – Disdains the word original.

Despite differences, the two find common ground. Both believe effectiveness is the significant measure of an ad. Additionally, an ad man must start with a deep understanding of the product and the customer. A deep understanding of both allows advertising that provides the bridge connecting customers and products with real value to them.

Filed under: advertising approach, ,

Online Social Media Businesses

I came across a social media marketing business online the other day, and the array of services this business offered startled me. Run by Stacie Chalmers, http://www.staciechalmersinboundmarketing.com/, she offers keyword analysis, blogs, PR, website, social media, and measuring and reporting.

Will I have to gain competencies in so many branches? How much value does keyword optimization add to social media applications? What is more essential to a social media endeavor, the content or the search engine optimization? Readers, what is your experience working with social media or in a related field?

Filed under: social media business, , , ,

Inbound Marketing: Another Element of Social Media?

For the past several days, I have been studying how to turn the field of social media into a valuable business opportunity in the fall. But self imposed blinders limited me.

Perusing www.hubspot.com–the owner, Hubspot, has a fabulous array of online resources–I found a new term to add to my social media lexicon: inbound marketing, a marketing strategy that allows customers to find you.

Below is the takeaway image for inbound marketing:

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4416/Inbound-Marketing-the-Next-Phase-of-Marketing-on-the-Web.aspx

**NOTE**: The following section will benefit from comparing inbound marketing to traditional marketing. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until I learn more about traditional marketing.

Inbound marketing campaigns use content generation–youtube videos, blog posts, webinars–as the magnet to attract a small self-selected audience.

How do I integrate inbound marketing into my business? Do I even need to? Are social media and inbound marketing inseparable? What are your thoughts on the difference between outbound and inbound? Where does inbound marketing fit within a full marketing strategy?

Filed under: Inbound Marketing, ,

Do Your Homework! (But not the School Kind)

Opening the advertising classic Ogilvy on Advertising to the second chapter “How to Produce Advertising that Sells,” I smiled at the author David Ogilvy’s point one: Study your product! An example:

When I got the Rolls-Royce account, I spent THREE WEEKS READING (emphasis added) about the car and came across a statement that ‘at sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock. This became the headline, and it was followed by 607 words of factual copy. (Ogilvy 11)

Brilliant. I love devouring my work. Example numero uno, working with my startup charter school this past semester, I read books of published researched by the leading institutes in America–an activity the average (and sometimes above average) college student say, “huh? You don’t need to work that hard to get an A.” But learning all I can feels right to me, and although I wish I could be more satisfied with my gifts, having a respected figure like David Ogilvy single out that skill comforts me.

Now, doing your homework is one aspect among many that help make great advertising–others included positioning, brand image, and the big idea to name a few–this aspect, however, hit particularly close to home. Those with some marketing and advertising experience, what have you found help make you successful?

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Fan Economy?

More commentary on another Bud Caddell post, this about “The Fan Economy” (am I becoming a fan?). His message is two fold: one, a company can not settle for a one way marketing strategy, they have to engage in conversation, and two, fans are the soul of a business and the people that will actively spread awareness about the brand. Additionally, fans are more credible messengers than is the business.

Briefly mentioning point one, that relates to the entire social media movement. In fact, Crayon (http://www.crayonville.com/) dedicate themselves to “joining the conversation”. They are an attractive company to study…maybe more on them later.

To the more pressing question, how do you cultivate fans? From my reading, a big step in that direction is to listen to your customers, but how do you listen in the online space? Converting fans seems like a worthy goal, but how do you begin? Figuring out how to build a fan base is a skill I would like to take to my future clients. Any suggestions slash experience with fan building is appreciated.

For fun, the link to Caddell’s blog post:
http://maketheinternetabetterplace.com/2009/02/the-fan-economy/

and his slide show:
http://www.slideshare.net/bud_caddell/the-fan-economy-becoming-fan-focused?type=powerpoint

Filed under: Uncategorized

Facets of Social Media

Social Media Skills

  1. Advertising – Edward Boches of Mullen Advertising
  2. SEO – Corey Creed of Hippo Internet Marketing
  3. PR – Christine Perkett of PerkettPR
  4. Inbound Marketing – Rebecca Corliss of Hubspot
  5. Web Development
  6. Web Design
  7. Copy Writing
  8. and more…

I pulled this list from respected social media blogger Jason Keath’s blog (www.jasonkeath.com)…can you believe how many facets there are to social media? Here I was ready to dive in to my facebook application business and now, well I’ve got more learning to do. As I become aware (however slowly) of my ignorance of the social media field, readers feel free to pitch in with wisdom you have picked up during your experience.

Filed under: Uncategorized

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