• Emily Malone

State of Inbound 2017: The top 4 disruptors for your business

It’s that time of year again! HubSpot have released their data for The State of Inbound 2017. So we’ve taken a look to see what people across the globe said would be the top source of disruption in their jobs.

First of all, for the sake of those who might not know what’s meant by ‘disruptor’ in the business world, it’s defined as an innovation that creates a new market, and eventually disrupts an existing market.

According to HubSpot’s findings, respondents no longer believe that having a website and blog is enough to attract the attention of their ideal buyers. Nor is the Salesperson the go-to resource for when business needs to make a purchase.

We can see that, this year, there’s some significant changes for many parts of the business structure, meaning we need to take a serious look towards the future;

If a company is slow to capture a new mode of communication, it might as well stop the business. (HubSpot, State of Inbound 2017)

So, what are the future disruptors, and how will we plan on addressing them?

1. Video

Video is by far one of the most-mentioned disruptors in HubSpot’s survey. Many see video as a better channel for connecting with prospects, while others think that video will make their day jobs obsolete, believing textual content will be replaced with video content. However, one respondent disagreed that it’s a disruption, saying:

Video is just going to get bigger and bigger. I think more people want raw, honest connection. They want to know you and the com­pany in a way that feels personal. I don’t see this as a disruption, but it might be for those who aren’t willing to shift in this direction.

The best way to tackle this is to accept and introduce new methods like video, but to not use it as a one-size-fits-all approach. Consider what channel will be most effective for a certain piece of content, and work from there.

2. AI and VR

Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality are all big buzzwords in the technology and marketing community right now.

I think virtual reality will further disrupt the digital marketing industry and represents huge opportunity for sales and marketing leaders.
Artificial intelligence and the wider adoption of big data for hyper-personalization.
Chatbots, AI, bots, and automation of repeatable work and processes.

But as it’s all new and still being developed, it’s not clear how it’ll disrupt the marketing environment. What impact might this have in the near-future? Respondents said they believe AI, machine learning and automation will disrupt marketing, but weren’t quite sure how. Some saw a positive effect regarding the automation potential of AI, specifically referring to AI’s ability to reduce the need for humans to do repetitive tasks.

3. Social

Social media has been continuously disrupting for years, and it’ll probably never stop. As new platforms are created and apps get better, social will be the biggest thing to keep up with if we want our businesses to succeed. According to HubSpot’s findings, Messenger apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat seem to be the social priority right now.

I think in this industry, you always have to be prepared to shift as your market shifts. As technology grows and evolves, so too will the best ways to interact with our ideal clients.
We have a hard time sometimes because we work in the rapidly changing world of social media analytics. Social channels are constantly introducing and rolling out new features and metrics. We have to quickly wrap our minds around if it’s important to our audience, how our audience can use it, and if we should integrate some kind of func­tionality into our product. It’s very fast-paced and difficult to stay on top of.
The increase in apps like messenger and WhatsApp and the move away from email will disrupt the way I do my job.

4. Sales disruptor: changing preferences

It’s supposed that sales is a job function which won’t necessarily change or evolve, but that’s not really the case. As people become more tech savvy, like marketing, sales people need to keep up with the rapidly changing shifts in buyer preferences.

Nowadays, we need to acknowledge that buyers are more independent and can often bypass the salesperson completely; there’s far more channels they can go through. Here’s what some Sales-folk said when HubSpot asked them about sales disruptors:

Our industry is going through a seismic shift. Gone are the days of the salesperson being the gatekeeper for information. Our website has now become our primary mode of mar­keting where it used to be our brick-and-mortar locations. I think in the next three to five years we will see a shift to brand selling and concierge-like service.
Clients are more interested in doing digital purchases. They don’t spend time meeting with a salesperson.

What are businesses doing to prepare for disruptors?

It seems the focus is mostly on increasing YouTube and Facebook video presence, with 48 percent of respondents saying they’ll be adding YouTube to their business efforts and 46 percent turning to Facebook video within the next 12 months. What’s more, 37 percent of respondents also say they’re concentrating on Instagram, while messaging apps like Whatsapp have taken 24 percent of the vote.

The key is to understand the modern buyer. To do this, we need to get closer to them by tapping into the channels they mainly use to communicate and keep up with their ever-changing buying habits. It’s a constant evolution. Luckily, HubSpot is here to help us with fresh data from their State of Inbound report.