This year at Lexisclick we were part of an interesting collaborative effort of absorbing one of the most comprehensive pieces of research on B2B marketing - Hubspot's State of Inbound. Along with dozens of other Hubspot partners we were given early-bird access to the report.
Here is an attempt to create a summary of the resulting blog posts. Some of this stuff is truly groundbreaking and I strongly suggest you at least skim-read all 74 articles written by world's top inbound marketing professionals. That's your reading list sorted for this month! The blog posts are organised by topic and they come in no particular order. Let's crack on:
No surprises there. Many bloggers latched on to this topic as they feel some of their clients still need convincing that content marketing is the way forward into 2017.
by Ginny Dwyer - You can hardly get away with writing long-format blog content and expect people to read it from top to bottom.
by Yasmin Khan - Increasing your content output by repurposing existing pieces can help you accomplish a few goals for your business and also save a lot of time on content production.
by Brian Hasenbauer - Content consumers now expect to see a wide range of content including more social media posts and better videos.
by Wendy Coombes - With the amount of content produced on the web every day, getting readers to click through to your article is, in itself, a triumph. Make sure they actually get your message, even if that means they are skimming.
by Lucille Moreton - It's time for a shift in marketing philosophy: content decentralisation is all about putting your online content in more places, more often.
by Bill Conn - Just give them more of what they want: 4 content formats people love are videos, social media posts, news articles, and research pieces. And read the post to find out which one they hate.
by Allison Gibbs - In a long list of content formats, social media posts got the most with 45% and Podcasts and long-form content came in with only 17%.
by Ashley Bails - Blogs and e-books are a great foundation of any content marketing campaign, but research suggests that we should be incorporating more multimedia content—videos, webinars, tools and calculators.
by Lolly Spindler - As content consumption is becoming decentralised across the web, marketers’ content strategy should extend beyond their own blog and include publishing through external outlets.
by Elizabeth Crawford - Find out why marketers are increasing the investment in content creation, changing content formats and paying more attention to conversion rates.
by Tim Ludy - Although staff writers are used by 71% of companies in 2016 compared to 41% in 2015, marketers are still struggling to produce enough content.
by Jessica Jones - Another great one on content decentralisation: only focusing on centralising your content onto your website, you’re not only minimising your reach, but also limiting your engagement.
by David Cuevas - While Search is still king, social content consumption is on the rise. As consumers seek out content in different places, businesses will have to move their content marketing efforts to uncharted territory.
by Ramona Sukhraj - To keep people interested in a blog or brand, marketers have to branch out and create more engaging content that not only keeps existing audiences around but also steals some from the competition.
by Joana Fonseca - How to tailor your content marketing strategy with the right buyer persona in mind.
by Jerneja Faletic - When you know what kind of content your customers expect from you, it becomes easier to diversify your content marketing.
Social Media Marketing
The two biggest takeaways from the topic of social media were the rise of chat apps such as Snapchat and WeChat along with Facebook trying to overshadow LinkedIn as the go-to place for B2B networking.
by Rob Johnson - Although Facebook is known as a personal social network while LinkedIn is aimed at professional networking, 73% of respondents said they use Facebook for professional purposes.
by Arvid Linde - Snapchat doesn't really look like a good tool for B2B marketing, however, with the uber-popular social network attracting more mature audience, there is a case for making your first forays into Snapchat marketing.
by Arvid Linde - The report revealed that modern day digital marketers are ready to try new things. One of the biggest trends is Instagram marketing. What do you need to know in order to start?
by Amit Lavi - A great recap on the pros and cons of B2B marketing on Facebook.
by Adam Luckeroth - Social selling ranks at the top of the list of priorities for sales in 2017. After the obvious needs to close more deals and reduce the length of the sales cycle, social selling comes in at the top.
Another big trend this year. If you think video content peaked around 2013, you're in for a nice surprise - video is going to be big and we should brace ourselves for another tidal wave. Yet the State of Inbound research suggests a big proportion of marketers are yet to discover Youtube and other video distribution channels.
by Michelle Pittman - What’s emerging now is a hybrid approach: companies still want to shape their content while media companies are looking for new ideas and formats that appeal to viewers.
by Kelley Bassett - We are just at the beginning of another big wave of video production and consumption and this research supports the idea.
by Lisa Taylor Powers - There's been a lot of data pointing to growth in video. Everyone is watching it, which means most marketers will need to step out of their comfort zone and create more videos.
by Jamie Mikolajewski - While online video is relatively young in the world of marketing, recent statistics have proven its worth.
by Adam Stewart - You don't necessarily have to be filming cats in order to engage with your customers. A list of practical ways to generate traffic and leads using video content.
by Isaac Oswalt - This one is truly thinking out of the box. Will you consider putting a drone on your company's shopping list for next year?
by Paul Furiga - It's no longer a question of if we should include video in our marketing strategy, it's a question of where do we focus our video strategy.
by Karrie Lucero - In today’s digital era, video has become one of the most useful marketing tools available to businesses and has proven to be one of the most effective additions to a business’ content marketing strategies.
6 Practical Ways to Integrate More Video Into Your Content Strategy (removed)
by Hyrum Lai - Storytelling is just as strong as it has ever been from generation to generation. How do we use storytelling to produce exceptional videos?
Articles on mobile search were a bit underrepresented this year, however, the ones that were written are good enough for giving you an insight into what's what in the mobile search industry.
by Josh Baldwin - A rather funny take on what you need to pay attention to when designing a mobile-friendly experience for your customers. If your site has to be pinched, squeezed or squinted at on mobile, then things need to change.
by BlogMutt - A highlight on how obvious the change is to the customer's reliance on mobile notifications to find shareable content.
by Hannah Eisenberg - The massive tidal wave of change is supported by the jump in popularity of mobile notifications and by the rise in discovering interesting content when scrolling through Twitter and LinkedIn feeds,
This couldn't have come at a better moment. The disconnect between the marketing team and the sales team is something that limits the growth of many businesses. Hopefully this research will help managers encourage their marketing and sales teams to have a much more constructive relationship.
by Charles McKay - Your CRM is your company’s single source of truth. No one knows about your Post-it notes and spreadsheets saved on your desktop.
by David Peake - If you take the reasons the company is performing badly and add the usual gaps in sales peoples' performance, they explain a good portion of the decline in performance, but not all of it.
by Spencer Powell - As sales technology improves, businesses are discovering that training is becoming more and more important.
by Zak Pines - A really techy and in-depth article on CRM integration challenges. CRM systems are the backbone of sales organisations, and today they are a critical system for marketing success.
by Matt Lardner - Some stats revealing the true value of fostering harmony between your sales and marketing teams. A key thesis of the report is that marketing and sales alignment is critical to successful marketing strategy.
by Gillian Singletary - Measuring and reporting the ROI of your marketing activities is one of the best ways to demonstrate your value and to continuously improve your marketing strategy.
by Stacie Chalmers - Why organisations with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between Marketing and Sales work more effectively, and generate better quality leads.
by Lori Meloche - One of the major challenges brands face when it comes to executing an inbound marketing strategy is ensuring that their sales and marketing teams are working in tandem.
by Eloy Montaña - Sales people have enhanced the way to close deals through personalised assistance rather than the insistence that characterised earlier sales.
by Thoralf Lindström - Customer expectations for B2B sales people are low but sales departments can remedy this situation by replacing traditional sales efforts to inbound sales .
by Carlos Martins - Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales can help develop a buyer-value delivery strategy that spans the entire purchase journey, from lead capture to nurturing allowing the seller to identify the right time when there should be a communication.
by Steven Loepfe - The difference between sales "then" and sales "today" is simple: call only if you have sufficient information and can form a clear picture of the unique situation of your potential customers.
by Bas van Eeuwen - What a surprise! 40% of the sales representatives indicated that it was difficult to get responses from the prospect. What can you do about it?
Although you may expect this category to only explain why people hate ads, it's not all doom and gloom. Read on to find out how you can make people want to click on your ads.
by Eileen Hogan - 91% of respondents said that ads are more intrusive today than they were two years ago. And, 87% that they feel there are more online ads in general than two years ago.
by Emily Winsauer - Customers don't hate ads; they hate bad ads. Lots of people have been introduced to a new product they love through well-placed, well-executed advertising.
by Alice Robinson - People may reject your ads, no matter how flashy they are. Even worse, these people may start to negatively associate your brand with said flashy adverts.
by Rob Kendal - 83% of people asked agreed that not all ads are bad, but they'd like to be able to filter out the obnoxious ones.
by Craig Andrews - Be distinctive and be interesting. This is how your advertising gets attention and stops being annoying.
If a Site Isn’t Ad-Blocker Friendly, More Consumers Would Choose Their Ad Blocker Over Site Access [New Data]
by Rosie Sullivan - 28% of people would stop going to a website altogether if their access to said site was blocked because they use an ad blocker. Blocking access to ad block users might not be the best tactic.
The unsubscribe rate is the bugbear of many a marketer. No matter how hard you try to please your subscribers (or tuck away the unsubscribe link) they still keep unsubscribing in their hordes. Hopefully this research will shed some light on this painful matter.
by Stephanie Reed - We all struggle to get to a zero inbox every day, and most of the stuff that clutters our email is spam, newsletters or automated emails.
by Nicole Wagner - You need to understand your audience and their interests, so that you can continually provide content that is helpful and relevant to them.
Very few bloggers chose this topic, which is a shame because lead conversion is extremely important. If your website isn't converting properly, all your content marketing efforts can be in vain.
by Gem Latimer - It appears that the focus has shifted to the end goal of the business, rather than ticking boxes in order to hand over to sales and sign off the project as done regardless of lead quality.
by Brad Harris - How to know when your website is a multi-device success. It is not only within its responsiveness and SEO rank, it is also within its content variety.
General SEO and Inbound Marketing
Finally a list of general blog pieces dealing with various topics related to technical SEO and problems of Inbound Marketing in general.
by Jeff Thomas - For both inbound and outbound marketers the importance of marketing automation falls behind growing an organic search engine presence and blog content creation.
by Diana Prodan - At least 69% of marketers are prioritizing growth of their SEO and organic presence online to try to reach their goals. That’s an 11% increase from 2015.
by Katie Steelman - While the research indicates a progressive shift, the inbound adoption rate within the manufacturing industry is behind that of other industries.
by Charmon Stiles - The implications of conversational search are pretty huge: the ability to ask a computer a question and receive a response not only disrupts search methods, but changes how we think about search results.
by Ellie Morley - A closer look at why marketing automation is more than just technology and why it has become so important for helping businesses meet their sales priorities.
by Isabella Benz - Recognizing the value of HubSpot doesn't always mean you need to dedicate the months of learning to conquer it.
by Jesse Mawhinney - A great list of 18 excellent (FREE) sources of 2016 marketing research that every inbound marketer should read.
by Kathrin Opielka - How to learn more about inbound marketing - a marketing technique that is proven to be much more effective for businesses aiming at lead generation.
by Craig Andrews - Users are rapidly adopting voice search. Keep pace with them by adapting to how they are searching for you.
by Rob Loveday - With inbound marketing a relatively new discipline compared to traditional paid advertising and outdoor media it reveals just how much social media, both paid for and organic marketing, is shaking the industry up.
by Stellan Björnesjo - If you're a fan of stats-based blog posts, you will like this convenient breakdown of the most insightful stats condensed from the State of Inbound report.
by Claire Tetteroo - Companies that use telemarketing, pop up advertisements, autoplay videos and junk mail as part of their marketing strategy may damage their brand reputation.
by Brian Stræde - Part of the report focuses on the relationship between sales and marketing, and there are several interesting results to zoom in on. These two departments far from agree on who brings home more bacon.
by Guillaume Vigneron - 43% of respondents say they only skim content published on blogs. Only 29% read blogs carefully. Conversely, they are very attentive to videos, social media posts and news.
by Johan Vandecasteele - As many as 74% of marketers indicated that converting visitors into leads and leads into customers was their top priority in 2016.
Inbound marketing, the main generator of qualified leads according to the 2016 State of Inbound (Spanish)
by Marta Torne - A look into the two essential aspects for inbound marketing: empathy and attraction - the best resources available when converting anonymous users into qualified sales leads.
by Roberto Pérez Castro - A must-read if you want an insight into inbound marketing in Latin America - the most representative respondents of the study. 39% of the respondents were based in Latam.
Finally, make sure you download the Hubspot's "State of Inbound" research data below and start making the right decisions for your own inbound marketing strategies: