The Results Are In: Inbound Marketing Agencies Rule the ROI Roost

Justin Lambert

Written by Justin Lambert on Thu, Oct 09, 2014

HubSpot's recently released State of Inbound 2014-2015 report contains a tremendous amount of interesting, encouraging, and actionable information that you definitely need to review if you're involved in any sort of marketing or sales.

But for us here at SPROUT Content, one of the key takeaways that really put a smile on our face was the undeniable statistical support to what we've been saying for an awfully long time:

If you want to see real return on your marketing investment, going with a proven inbound marketing agency could be your very best bet.

Take a look at these compelling stats:

Who is creating content in most businesses?

As you can see from the chart below, while internal staff and executives are almost always involved in creating content, regardless of company size, agency partners and freelancers make up a significant portion of the outsourced content creation being done across the board.


This is especially true in larger companies (here represented by those with more than 1000 employees).

This makes sense from a practical standpoint because generally larger companies have larger marketing budgets and more flexibility to outsource a greater portion of their content creation to agencies and freelancers.

How well is this content providing ROI?

The chart below looks at the same content creating groups and analyzes how the content they create performs as measured through ROI. As you can see, internal content creation enjoys very high ROI, but also shows lower ROI than in the previous year.


In contrast, while the overall ROI is lower, the trend is for increased ROI in the guests and freelancers columns and only slightly unbalanced in the agency partner column.

Taking these stats together, it reflects the fact that nearly every company is going to be producing content internally, and from an ROI standpoint (as long as their internal content creation focus is on quality) they're certainly going to earn a high return on those efforts. But, the matter of quantity has to come into the equation as well, and many companies simply do not have the staff available to keep up with the volume of content needed while maintaining a high level of quality.

So that's where bringing in guest contributors, freelancers, and agency partners makes great economic sense. They offer a sustainable means of scaling content creation using highly skilled talent at a price that can be easily and effectively budgeted to ensure ROI.

Who is showing the greatest opportunity for ROI growth?

Taking the preceding stats into consideration, it may seem beneficial – especially for small-to-midsize companies – to focus on internal content creation and working directly with guests and freelancers when outsourcing becomes necessary. And certainly that's an option.

But these last two eye-opening charts provide an even better opportunity:


Inbound marketing agencies are displaying greater ROI year-over-year than individual vendors offering inbound marketing services. They are also “walking the talk” by sourcing 47% of their own leads via inbound channels as compared to less than 30% by other vendors.

When you look at these statistics in comparison to the charts above an important pattern emerges:

As the need for higher volumes of truly great content continues to rise for large and small companies alike, it's inbound marketing agencies who are truly poised to offer the greatest bang-for-the-buck.

Outsourcing to an experienced agency partner offers any company the opportunity to scale content creation economically. They get the convenience of entrusting their inbound marketing efforts to professionals who can handle a full suite of inbound services rather than having to take on the management of several different guests or freelancers, each with their own specialty. And, they lessen the burden on overworked internal staff and executives who have likely been carrying the content creation torch for a while now.

All in all, bringing on an inbound marketing agency partner could be the best decision you've ever made for your business. For help in making the right choice, download our free white paper: The Ultimate Guide to Hiring an Inbound Agency. We'd love to answer any questions you have as well.

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