Search Engine Marketing (SEM) isn’t much unlike physical-fitness- robust builds, from physiques to web-apps, require steadfast discipline and maintenance in order to become attractive; incidentally, both fitness and marketing are in a state of flex: 38% of gym patrons attending group-fitness classes remain loyal for 1 to 5 years versus 29% for total-gym patrons- clearly, the “BigBox-gym” model yields to emergent fitness-class studios (Nielsen).
Concordantly, business-to-business (B2B) vendors are decreasing “BigBox-agency” outbound-marketing budgets to 30% while increasing marketing-allocations for SEM, search-engine optimization (SEO) and social-media to 37%- because on average, a lead generated by inbound-marketing costs five to seven times less than a lead generated by outbound marketing due to the former’s lower costs and increased efficiencies leveraged by search-engines and scaled with social-media (Steenburgh, Thomas, Jill Avery, and Naseem Dahod).
Inbound-marketing is a collection of marketing strategies and techniques focused on “pulling” relevant prospects and customers towards a business and its product, whereas yesterday’s outbound-marketing tactics “interrupt” customers via television, newspaper and radio advertisements. Results, both physical and marketable, require a cultural-mindset- like a lifestyle or strategy instead of provisional diets or tactical-solutions.
HubSpot has redefined the modern-model of marketing by becoming the “BigBox-boutique” of inbound-marketing but not without experiencing some paradoxical growing-pains before becoming a “good to great,” company (Steenburgh, Thomas, Jill Avery, and Naseem Dahod).
Ironically, HubSpot, a customer relationship management system (CRM), struggled to accelerate growth while maintaining profitability as an inbound-marketing vendor- so if HubSpot couldn’t scale its business via inbound-marketing, how could they sell their core-competency to prospective clients? At the end of the day, tremendous results demand cross-training with multiple disciplines.
Now, more than ten years after incorporation by MIT alumni Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot is the world’s leading inbound-marketing and sales platform boasting over 19,000 customers in more than 90 countries using customer-relationship management software, services, and support to transform the way businesses attract, engage, and delight customers as a turn-key, inbound-marketing platform to supplement or replace outbound-marketing “help[ing] businesses attract prospects, qualify their potential, and convert them into paying customers…to generate more qualified leads more efficiently, and to convert them into sales,” (Steenburgh, Thomas, Jill Avery, and Naseem Dahod | Jantsch, John; Singleton, Phil).
According to the Harvard Business Review, inbound-marketing requires three distinct skills:
HubSpot clientele is as diverse as the World-Wide-Web, from business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C)- in house affectionately referred to as “Owner Ollie” for small-business owners and “Marketer Mary,” for (B2C) clients (Steenburgh, Thomas, Jill Avery, and Naseem Dahod).
“Owner Ollie,” is monikered after the quintessential small-business-owner: the jack-of-all-trades too busy to be a master of none juxtaposed to the B2B “Marketer Mary,” a professional generally staffed with 26-100 employees and typically supported by a small marketing-team.
The CEB recently conducted a survey of over 2,200 B2B buyers discovering that 57% of purchase decisions are complete before a customer even calls a supplier (Jantsch, John; Singleton, Phil). It is therefore incumbent upon SEM to influence the 57% of the sale that occurs mostly on the web negotiating three obstacles – incomplete digital integration, ineffective content, and a poorly-optimized channel mix – obstructing HubSpot’s customer-funnel distilling inbound-visitors into prospects yielding leads for growth. ( Steenburgh, Thomas, Jill Avery, and Naseem Dahod | “B2B’s Digital Evolution”).
Upon reaching a critical-mass, co-founders Halligan and Shah identified three specific hurdles for a hamstrung HubSpot (Steenburgh, Thomas, Jill Avery, and Naseem Dahod):
At the end of the day, tremendous results demand cross-training of disciplines- since 2011, HubSpot essentially outsourced their “outbound-dilemma” by partnering with over 3,100 digital and marketing affiliates that resell its offerings or provide associated services in 69 countries (Fletcher, Chris, Jason Daigler, and Ilona Hansen).
SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers & Entrepreneurs maintains that the proliferation of Web 2.0 open-source frameworks and social-media position boutique web-development agencies for asymmetric-returns like never before:
Traditional creative agencies and advertising agencies still focus on selling big-dollar demand-creation services, while clever SEM’s use pennies to snatch away these purchases online; it drives big agencies crazy that nameless, brandless companies can leverage such a small budget to generate so much new business (Jantsch, John; Singleton, Phil).
Consequently, HubSpot should align their outbound strategies with a pivoted-focus from the dearth of small-caps to the bigly B2B customers, or “Mary Marketers-” resisting the threat of entrants is futile because boutiques can deliver world-class web-presence at a fraction of CRM-costs.
Moreover, it may behoove HubSpot to level-up system-architecture requirements as a scalable mid-cap solution- specifically their predictive lead-scoring functionality reportedly less satisfactory than officially claimed (Fletcher, Chris, Jason Daigler, and Ilona Hansen).
Lastly, interoperability via application program interface (API) is an emerging trend in application-development courting possibilities for integration with prospects formerly filtered-out by the HubSpot-funnel due to legacy-system contracts and service-agreements (Fletcher, Chris, Jason Daigler, and Ilona Hansen).
According to Forrester Research, 47% of organizations that embody analytics best practices reported that their marketing analytics work together efficiently, compared with only 9% of peers- clearly, a massive opportunity awaits (“Discover How Marketing Analytics Increases Business Performance: Invest in an Integrated Platform to Address Challenges of Device Proliferation and Data Complexity.”).
Alexander J. Singleton is CTO and Founder of Bucephalus Web Development, a boutique web-development agency headquartered in Prairie Village, KS. Alex is also a part-time graduate student in pursuit of his master of science in information systems technology (MSIST) at The George Washington University; he submitted the above case-study on HubSpot for Search-Engine Marketing and Search-Engine Optimization research assigned by his Web & Social Analytics professor, Dr. Wendy Duan.