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Inbound Marketing Leads Cost 61% Less Than Outbound

February 29, 2012
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Businesses that use primarily inbound marketing strategies for lead acquisition consistently report lower cost-per-lead (CPL) rates than those using outbound-centric strategies, according to the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing report by HubSpot.

Among companies with outbound marketing-dominated strategies—those that spend more than 50% of their lead-generation budgets on outbound marketing channels—the average CPL was $346 as of January 2012. By contrast, among inbound-centric companies (those spending over 50% of their lead-generation budget on inbound marketing) the average CPL was $135—61% less than the CPL of outbound-dominated businesses.

Moreover, the findings are remarkably consistent with previous years: In studies conducted by HubSpot in 2010 and 2011, inbound marketing-centric organizations registered 60% and 62% lower CPL, respectively.

"Inbound marketing" is defined by HubSpot as a set of marketing strategies and tactics focused on pulling the right prospects and customers towards a business and its offerings (i.e., programs that allow customers to find the business and offerings).


Common inbound marketing programs include organic search, various forms of social media, and blogging. Traditional outbound marketing techniques include direct mail, print advertising, and telemarketing.

Below, additional findings from HubSpot's fourth annual 2012 State of Inbound Marketing report, based on a survey of 972 business professionals who are familiar with their company's marketing strategy. Some 72% of respondents are from B2B organizations.

Low-Cost Marketing Channels


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  • by Donna Alexander Thu Jun 21, 2012 via web

    Great article! I hope I can incorporate the data you present here to my clients who are on the fence about getting onboard with inbound marketing.

    SMB B2B owners run pretty lean budgets and staff and many of their first reactions are "Is this really something I need to stretch my people/money/time further for?" As I grow in my knowledge of inbound marketing [SM], I am able to help them develop plans to increase their leads and conversions.

    We're all learning here - and your articles are helping me help them!

    Again, my thanks. www.2blondesmarketing.com, Houston, Texas

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