What budget do Inbound Marketing strategies need? And how can you justify it to your CMO?

Alex Embling
Director of Strategic Internet Consulting
Strategic Internet Consulting

According to the B2B Marketing 2015 Marketing Automation Benchmark Report, nearly 60% of a purchase decision now occurs before sales teams become involved in the buying process.

It’s generally agreed that the marketing landscape is changing; that traditional approaches are no longer effective. But Inbound campaigns can help B2B organisations reach relevant prospects, provide sales with high-quality leads, and coordinate marketing and sales activity for success.

How does Inbound work?

A comprehensive Inbound marketing strategy is complex.

Using content specifically targeted to persona’s pain points, Inbound helps buyers find the solutions they need respective of their purchasing stage, resulting in relevant visits, quality leads and long-term customer loyalty. There’s a lot to consider - and for that reason many marketers may believe Inbound to be beyond budget, or may not have contemplated at all.

It’s true that a typical year-long Inbound strategy will run at a cost of between £25k to £60k per annum. But remember that Inbound marketing can offer very effective, quality return; it’s a long-term strategic investment.

Justifying the cost of Inbound to your CMO

Before considering budget, Marketing Managers need to know what’s in it for them. So what return can be expected? Most B2Bs want to achieve one of a few things, typically an increase in qualified leads, and a growth in annual revenue.

HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report quotes that ‘$20K is the average companies save per year by investing more in inbound marketing vs. outbound.’ So while an initial investment may sound costly, it’s an investment that more than likely will achieve goals, plus some.

It’s also important to remember the campaign components and skillsets that an Inbound campaign will bring to your business. This post from HubSpot gives great detail into how Inbound budgets are split; for example typical Inbound costs will cover software costs (such as your marketing automation platform), content production, all testing, platform integration, site optimisation and day-to-day activity, including access to professional skillsets such as content writing, analytical marketing, design, development, social media expertise, business development and project management.

Deciding if Inbound is right for your business

When assessing if an Inbound marketing strategy is a good fit for your business, it’s important to establish the typical return you can expect. Inbound ROI calculators, case studies and trial campaigns are all good ways to justify funding to marketing superiors.

Any B2B inbound marketing agency you speak with will usually hold an initial assessment to determine if Inbound is a good fit - not all business and budgets are suited. Generally if you have a short sales cycle and lower product price tag, it may not be appropriate.

Reviewing budget to support your campaign

For some organisations, Inbound is an incremental investment in addition to ongoing Digital Marketing activities. If you’ve a more considered budget however, you may want to audit current activity to assess what’s profitable or not, and what activity will be contained already within an Inbound campaign. This may release substantial budget that you had not thought of before.

A CMO’s Guide To Inbound Marketing ROI

Before any investment, Marketing Heads must of course be certain that they can clearly and continually demonstrate the ROI progression of an Inbound marketing campaign.

In addition to the ROI calculator above, this eBook; ‘A CMO’s Guide To Inbound Marketing ROI’ outlines 6 marketing metrics that help keep marketing teams focused on what's important throughout an Inbound strategy.

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