HubSpot’s State of Inbound report is always enlightening. The just-released 2016 edition is no exception. It’s filled with insights from more than 4,500 survey respondents, the majority of whom are not HubSpot customers. And as an acknowledged fan of the company, I have to say it’s very much like them to seek the opinions of customers and non-customers alike. HubSpot wants to continue to have the most effective marketing platform possible, and that means they have to look at the big picture and not simply focus on the people currently using their system.
Your website is the cornerstone of your marketing efforts. You have, no doubt, spent countless hours and expended tremendous resources to bring it to its current state. And you will, in all likelihood, spend more hours and consume more resources to update it less than two years from now, even if it just went live. That is, unless you adopt an approach called Growth-Driven Design (GDD).
Those that have worked with me for any time at all are excruciatingly aware of my passion for analytics. Unfortunately, my pursuit of actionable information has often been stymied by a seemingly infinite amount of gobbledygook. When Google Analytics came along, I was delighted to see that it had replaced the aforementioned gobbledygook with a more palatable presentation of website activity. Honestly though, while I am still a regular user, I find that I’m starting to feel about Google Analytics the same way I used to feel about its predecessors, i.e. information overload and a desire to just know what I need to know to drive meaningful action.
"Failure" comes in many flavors, and web design firms' failures certainly follow suit. The days of putting up a flashy website with lots of cool bells and whistles, and then waiting for the sales to come rolling in, are long gone. In fact, that approach to digital marketing arguably ended a decade ago. Even less flashy, template-driven web development that has depended upon formulaic interface design is also proving to be a failed approach. But even greater still is the failure of web design firms to respond to the real needs of their clients, i.e. to provide measurable, content-rich inbound customer experiences that attract and convert visitors to paying customers and raving fans.
In his new book, Didn’t See It Coming, tree-hugging brand guru Marc Stoiber gives us another dose of what, since 1970, has been called “future shock”—it’s essentially change or die. “So is there a secret ingredient?” Stoiber ponders of companies that are doing quite well in the post-global financial crisis world. He submits that it is their "willingness to try, try again. Fail forward, learning every time you strike out.”
There are two big changes underfoot for companies who make their living building websites. First, the proliferation of user-friendly, do-it-yourself platforms like WordPress and Wix, and second, the rise of marketing automation and analytics that expose what's working and what's not.