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With only a handful of weeks left in the 2014 calendar year, now is the time for inbound marketers to reflect on what they can learn from what happened in their field this year.
Reflection of this type is important, because it helps marketers fully understand how marketing changed in 2014 and how these changes should impact their marketing plans going forward.
2014 was highlighted by several interesting trends that influenced the theory and practice of inbound marketing. By taking some time to examine and understand the top trends in inbound marketing that played out in 2014, marketers can do a better job at preparing for the future of this quickly changing field.
1. Mobile Use on the Rise
Research shows that on a global scale, the number of mobile subscribers increased by 200 million, up from 6.7 billion in 2013 to 6.9 billion in 2014.
Mobile use in Australia is also in line with world trends: statistics show that mobile penetration in Australia is greater than 135% (includes people with more than one phone or sim card), and should continue to increase through 2015. However, many analysts point out that the growth of mobile devices has slowed down in recent years, as the market becomes more and more saturated.
What does this mean for inbound marketers? Primarily, that responsive web design can no longer be ignored. Outside of the United States and United Kingdom, 60% of global Internet access takes place on mobile devices. If your marketing has not already accounted for visitors using mobile devices, this past year should have illustrated the importance of having such a policy in place.
2. Email Marketing Becoming More Critical to Marketing
You probably have an idea about how email marketing is growing, but you might not know exactly how fast this growth is happening. Industry research and projections show that in 2010, the global email marketing industry was worth an estimated USD $1.5 billion. By 2018, that market share will shoot up to $6.5 billion, which would be a 400% increase from its original 2010 number.
How can a marketer respond to this development? Marketers looking to capitalise on the vast growth of email marketing should not just be expanding their use of this channel: they should also be making it more targeted based on the specific groups of people who they are sending their email marketing correspondence to.
In a post published by global media company Tech Cocktail, business consultant Larry Alton writes that list segmentation is one of the key trends in email marketing for 2014. These segments can be created based on:
- time intervals
- the size of the customer’s business
- whether or not they have spent any money with the company.
2014 was indeed a strong indicator of the importance of email marketing.
3. The Power of the Blog
You already know that blogging is a hot marketing strategy in Australia: the Content Marketing Institute reported in its 2014 study of content marketing in Australia that more marketers in Australia were using blogging as a content marketing strategy than marketers in North America.
More recent information from HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2014 also speaks to the importance of blogging. HubSpot reported that marketers who prioritise blogging are a staggering 13x more likely to have a positive ROI than marketers who have not. These figures should be enough to clue you in to how important blogging was in 2014.
4. Inbound Marketing Investments and Returns Have Gotten Bigger
If you still haven’t realised the full extent of the shift towards inbound marketing, 2014 was a year that should have opened your eyes to this trend. In a global survey conducted by the Gartner research company, it was found that digital marketing accounted for a full 25% of marketing budgets. Based on what happened in 2014, over half of all marketers expect to increase their digital marketing spend.
To go along with the bigger digital marketing budgets of 2014, marketers also saw a greater return on these investments. According to HubSpot’s 2014 State of Inbound, the number of marketers who had a greater ROI in 2014 than in previous years is significantly larger than the number of marketers who experienced a lower ROI than last year. The report indicates that more leads often lead to a larger ROI, which is part of the reason that so many companies have decided to increase their inbound marketing efforts, since this tactic has been proven time and time again to be highly effective for bringing in new leads.
There are plenty of other things that happened throughout 2014 that impact Inbound Marketing, but these are four of the most prominent trends that are sure to have a significant effect on the way that marketers plan their strategies going forward.
By keeping these and other marketing trends in mind, you can do a better job at crafting an effective inbound marketing strategy that will bring you more leads and more growth in the future.
Please share with us in the comments below any lessons you’ve learned in 2014.