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8 Highlights from HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report

You’ve heard of the State of the Union. But what about the State of Marketing? It doesn’t hurt to check in every now and then on the hard data driving the trends that influence our industry on a daily basis. HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report is out, and we’ve pulled a few highlights.

Social media is the industry’s preferred marketing approach.

Are you really that surprised though? In fact, 68% of marketers said that over the past year, social media was their preferred marketing approach, followed by SEO and then account-based marketing.

Not surprisingly, cold calling came in last among the preferred approaches next to “other.” Another nod to social media: the marketing tactic pulled ahead of “website” last year as the top channel used in marketing.

Brand awareness is a high priority.

As opposed to just one-off sales, cultivating brand recognition is a rising priority for businesses in 2021. Increasing brand awareness came it at number three for “top marketing priorities in the next 12 months,” behind “increasing customer satisfaction” and “generating more leads.” However, brand awareness came it at number one to the question, “What are your primary goals for running marketing campaigns?”

Marketing budgets have increased.

Though many businesses had to scale back in the wake of COVID-19, the majority of marketers—63 percent—actually have increased budgets this year, according to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report.

Marketers want to build relationships.

Many marketers are scaling back on or shedding entirely the concept of traditional sales tactics. Instead, they want to build longer-term relationships with their potential and current clientele.

We can speculate that this was influenced by the 2020 pandemic and the need for brands to build a sense of trust with their followers in order to retain them. Eight in 10 companies are investing in social media marketing in 2021, owing to the platform’s efficacy in facilitating these meaningful connections.

The marketing industry likes automation.

Marketers are streamlining their work via automation in 2020-2021. In fact, marketing is the largest industry using automation with 76 percent more businesses using it than in the sales industry and 139 percent more than the finance industry.

What are we automating? The top three categories in which marketers are using automation are task management, content automation and chat bots, respectively.

Video still reigns supreme.

Video is staying on top as the champion of the most-consumed online content—especially now that we are using it to communicate in ways we never did before. It is the primary category of content that marketers are creating right now at 64 percent, followed by blogs at 52 percent.

Instagram is the top-used social platform for marketing.

Don’t have an Instagram page for your business? Now’s the time to start, because it’s likely that your competitors do! Eighty-two percent of businesses surveyed for HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing report are using Instagram in their marketing strategies. That’s followed by Facebook at 80 percent and Twitter at 61 percent.

Despite Instagram’s supreme status, the study shows that marketers actually get the most ROI from Facebook—a scale on which Instagram comes in second.

Email is still around.

Our old friend, email! Yep, he’s still around. The report shows that 77 percent of marketers actually said they saw more engagement with email marketing over the last year than in previous years. Message personalization, mobile-friendly emails and subscriber segmentation came in the top three for most-used email marketing tactics.


HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report gives us a glimpse into what’s trending in the marketing industry. From Instagram and video to creating more meaningful relationships with clients and customers, these stats show us where we might want to focus our attention over the next year.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.


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