It’s that time of year again. The eighth installment of HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound 2016 Report was recently published by the Boston-based inbound marketing automation software provider. Even though I read it every year, what I found particularly intriguing about this current offering is its generally brand-agnostic methodology. The vast majority (85%) of the study’s 4,500 global respondents (from over 132 countries) are actually non-HubSpot customers with marketing backgrounds in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses. Moreover, nearly one-quarter (24%) of survey respondents named “outbound marketing” as their company’s primary approach to marketing. This unique methodology offers marketers and SMBs relatively unbiased insight into prevailing inbound marketing norms and best practices the world over, and how they compare with more traditional outbound methods.
Marketing Technology for Growth
Topics: Inbound Marketing
Believe me, I get it. An inveterate slacker who tends to view any sort of change with a wary eye, I understand how difficult it can be to embrace new technologies, especially as a small business with limited resources. But we’re halfway through 2016 and the world has clearly gone mobile, yet almost half of U.S. small businesses still have not.
Topics: Web Development and Design
This post is not meant to dis Millennials. In truth, I’ve had my fill of Millennial-bashing comments and commentaries in recent years, often promulgated by the not-so-silent ranks of disdainful Boomers and disgruntled Gen Xers, much of it undeserved. The largest demographic group in U.S. history, the Millennial generation (aka Gen Y) already has and will continue to cast a long shadow, shaping societal mores and influencing marketing budgets for years to come. With all due respect to this current generation, it’s time for marketers and businesses to begin preparing for the next one, Generation Z, an ethnically diverse lot of full-fledged digital natives who, in their tendency to favor IMs over emails and customer experiences over brands, in many ways represent the full flowering of behavioral trends sown by their Gen Y forerunners.
A colleague once asked me to come up with a simple formula for success in online content marketing. After pondering the question for far too long, I came up with this response: Write as yourself. Write for your audience.
Topics: Content Marketing
By my reckoning, the history of digital technology can be broken up into four distinct epochs. So far we’ve experienced three, but the fourth, virtual reality, is just around the corner. It all began with the personal computer, a paradigm-shifting platform that added efficiency to our daily lives and reordered how we do business. Then along came the Internet and social media, novel technologies that connected an isolated patchwork of individual computers together to form a global network of information exchange and human interaction that proved to be greater than the sum of its parts. Not long after we had smartphones and tablets, which imbued our networked lives with a newfound mobility and gave birth to the attendant notions of proximity, relevance, and convenience. Here is where we sit today. Next up is virtual reality, a digital technology that, by holding the promise of creating fully immersive experiences that will fundamentally reshape how we socially interact with (and even conceive of) the world around us, may prove to be the most significant of them all.
At least Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook would have us think so.
Perhaps the best piece of evidence that a given marketing technology has reached maturity and broad-based consumer acceptance lies in its ability to drive conversion actions at every stage of the buying cycle. According to Criteo’s Q4 2015 State of Mobile Commerce report, mobile apps are doing just that, at least for U.S. retailers. By providing online shoppers more detailed and relevant product information and a clear path to the purchase, mobile apps are trumping mobile web browsers and even desktops to become the preferred method of online—and specifically mobile—commerce.
As an inveterate marketing technologist, I always love it when the prevailing data trends confirm an intuitive notion of mine. In this case, the notion has to do with the steady rise in mobile video consumption and its associated impact on digital marketing strategy. The prevailing data trend is found in the 2016 edition of Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update white paper.
As mobile continues to hit the mainstream, our approaches to information discovery are rapidly evolving along with our buying habits. A recent study conducted by IDC Research and YP found that only 36% of online desktop and mobile users initiated a local business search on a traditional search engine. Moreover, approximately 80% of study participants said they own smartphones, a figure which roughly mirrors overall US smartphone penetration.
Topics: Inbound Marketing
One needn’t look any further than Amazon to bear witness to the growing power of eCommerce. This past holiday season offered up a spate of direct and anecdotal evidence to suggest that eCommerce in general, and mCommerce (mobile commerce) in particular, is on the rise and is quickly redefining the retail landscape. Research from Adobe confirms that Cyber Monday 2015 was the largest online sales day in history and was driven increasingly by mobile devices, which accounted for nearly half (49%) of shopping visits and over one-quarter (28%) of online sales. Similarly, IBM found that mobile devices accounted for over one-third of purchases (35%) on Black Friday, a 35% year-on-year increase.
While remarkable news for eTailers, these muscular growth numbers point to a broader and more significant business trend: we’re all in eCommerce now.