As an inbound strategic marketing firm, we strive for the most effective ways to connect with our client’s (and our own) audience. Whether we are attempting to educate, entertain or simply engage, producing consistent and relevant content can pose several challenges: What types of content should we publish? How often should we publish? What format should we use?

In my opinion, one of the most valuable benefits of inbound marketing is the ability to measure your marketing efforts in real time. In the past, using outbound marketing strategies, we relied upon anecdotal information or focus groups, or we had to remember to ask people, “How did you hear about us?” to gauge the success of our marketing campaigns.

Today, a lot of these challenges have been made easier for us because we use HubSpot, a leading marketing automation platform. HubSpot enables us to develop content, control how we deliver that content and measure our marketing performance all on one platform.

Not only is HubSpot a great tool, but they provide us with some of the most important intelligence we have with respect to marketing trends. Every year, HubSpot surveys thousands of the world’s foremost marketers and salespeople, asking them about their most pressing priorities, the challenges they face, and the strategies they plan to add in the year ahead. All of these insights are then consolidated into a master report, The State of Inbound.

One of the most interesting findings in this year’s The State of Inbound is that marketers and consumers disagree about content. The report notes that, in order to remain relevant, marketers should strive for format diversification and a decentralized content strategy.

Our main goal as inbound marketers is to attract visitors to become leads and to convert leads into customers. But what if the content we produce doesn’t align with the content our audience wants to consume? 

The chart below outlines the content those surveyed pay close attention to versus the content they skim. As you can see, the top three types of content getting the most attention by those surveyed are:

  1. videos
  2. social media posts
  3. news articles

Content_SOI_2016_Consumer_Skim_Chart.jpgBut, as marketers, we tend to focus on blogging as the primary tool for distributing relevant content. Although the benefits of blogging are numerous—blogs drive traffic to your website, help convert traffic into leads and establish your company as an authority in your industry—it is important to note that those surveyed indicate they are, for the most part, skimming blogs.

So, what should we do? We should continue to invest resources into diversifying content across multiple channels and be sure that blog posts are easily digestible to reflect the skimming habits of the consumer. In addition, we should continue to cross-promote our content by including videos in our blogs with links to our social channels. This will help us better align our marketing strategies to meet the changing needs and habits of our audience.

Interested in learning more? Here is a link to download The State of Inbound. Unlike other industry reports, this one is completely free. You can download it right now at no cost and learn why you need to prepare your business for the #FutureOfInbound.  

Concerned about if your business can keep up with the changes in marketing and sales? Talk to us. We help businesses just like yours generate more leads and sales with an inbound marketing strategy.

Established in 1988, Cline Design is an award-winning graphic design and marketing services firm. We specialize in providing expert business-to-business inbound marketing solutions for the construction industry, and offer the ConstructionBreak newsletter service for general contractors, design/build contractors, construction managers and the trades.

State of Inbound 2016