Today marks a push and advancement in the Internet marketing industry. Salesforce.com, Sequoia Capital and Google Ventures have made an impressive investment of $32 million into HubSpot, a company that is leading the charge in Inbound Marketing. Hubspot founders Brian and Dhamesh are authors of a New York Times best-seller on Inbound Marketing, and are also the creators of the well known Grader tools used by many. To top it off, Hubspot has reached more than 4,000 customers within their 4 years in operation.
It’s great to see large companies putting in the dollars to grow the strength of SEO, social media and content marketing (together these form Inbound Marketing), solidifying growth and supporting innovation for the future. It’s particularly interesting to see Google Ventures playing a more upfront role in the growth of the industry, further emphasizing the importance and weight that Google is placing on both content and social media linking.
Inbound Marketing Defined
If you’re not familiar with Inbound Marketing, the graphic below illustrates various techniques that touch Inbound Marketing in different ways:
Let’s face it, traditional marketing has a tiny place in the online world. The traditional approach is referred to as an “outbound marketing” strategy and is a much different type of investment when tackled in the digital realm. Outbound Marketing relies heavily on salespeople, cold-calling, advertising, paid branding, etc. The idea behind inbound Marketing is to attract traffic from search engines, various forms of content (blogs, articles, videos, white papers, webinars) and from social media related methods (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums and social news websites.) It’s marketing evolved, using technology to leverage content and personalization.
Why is Inbound Marketing attracting investment?
Simply put, Inbound Marketing is winning. If we consider what prompts investment to begin with, it usually has something to do with impressively performing data mixed with the potential for growth. Saleforce’s CRM and Google’s billion-some products have more than enough data to analyze what’s driving traffic and conversions, and all signs are pointing directly at Inbound Marketing. It’s only natural that companies involved with data and measurement want to play a pivotal role in the development of an emerging marketplace. When considering investment, HubSpot is a fairly obvious choice – they’re an industry leader and at the moment other sites don’t come close. Sold.
A real group of players when it comes to measurement are companies such as Hootsuite, Klout, PostRank, Optify and Buddy Media. These companies share similar goals, measurement and improving inbound channels from search, social and content marketing. If you haven’t looked into them for measurement or performance, you should.
Is Google Investing in SEO Software?
It’s interesting to consider Google investing in a software company that helps contribute to better website rankings in search. Clearly this isn’t their primary motivation; it’s more about playing a big part of the growth of an emerging market, especially when that market involves data and measurement and a return on their investment. It’s not easy to ignore business buying behaviours, and even harder to ignore the methods that are driving results.
Given the history of Salesforce and the potential for growth within the industry, they’re clearly a wise choice as an investor. There was a time when business didn’t and couldn’t properly measure their traffic and conversions, the industry evolved from trial and error (guessing) to a very thorough solution for tracking and optimization. We saw the evolution of funnels and the software that made it work. As many know, Salesforce dominates the CRM (Customer Relations Management) to date.
HubSpot is taking a traditional Salesforce approach, but is doing so through marketing. It aims to position itself somewhere in between Google Analytics and being able to make solid recommendations. After all, data is great, but if there is a better way to analyze and report that data, people will choose the solution that does it better.
If you look at the stats above, HubSpot has some strength. Below are a few stats and facts supplied by HubSpot:
- – Hubspot and their clients received no negative impact from the Google Farmer Update
- – Organic search sent 67,000 visits in February
- – For referrerals, Twitter is their #1 social media source, however LinkedIn traffic was best-converting
- – Facebook is #2 in social media referrals, but recently has been dominating Twitter in monthly traffic
The chart below shows Inbound Marketing success from HubSpot. The target is showing HubSpot blog traffic only:
Giving the new influx of cash ($65 million) we can definitely look forward to seeing some positive changes and evolution within HubSpot. Given the power that the company has to shape the Inbound Marketing ecosystem, we will be following it even more closely. It will be great to see how HubSpot will evolve and measure the emerging Social Search from Google, and for us to see just how much impact social results will have on content.
Have you ever encountered non-believers or people that have been sceptical of SEO, social media and blogging? Yeah, us too. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to prove them wrong! It’s hard to ignore the facts, and a cool $32 million investment by Google Ventures, Sequoia and Salesforce will give you the ammunition you need to fire back. Take a look at the Technology Adoption Lifecycle chart below (via Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm)
Now is the time to get involved! We’re presently in the Early Adopters stage of Inbound Marketing Measurement, and as we progress into the Early Majority stage, the competition will get heated. Start planning and getting involved now, develop and refine your strategy, because before long your competition will be seeking high level software too.
Would you use a company like HubSpot to help you define, analyze and report on traffic coming to your website? Will companies like HubSpot become a necessity to remain competitive in the future, or will smaller companies and custom solutions saturate the market?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!