Companies are changing the way that they interact with consumers by shifting marketing strategies from pushing out to pulling in. These strategies, called "Inbound Marketing," are characterized by techniques that use the Internet

and media to determine what products and services best meet consumers' needs.

"Inbound marketers offer useful information, tools and resources to attract these people to their site," while they use the web to develop relationships with customers. These inbound marketing tools include blogging, content publishing, search engine optimization, social media and social networks.

Hubspot's 2010 State of Inbound Marketing, released February 16th, determined these key findings:

Inbound marketing results in far lower cost-per-sales than outbound channels.

When marketing budget majority goes to inbound marketing, responses showed a sixty percent lower cost-per-sales than those who spent more on outbound marketing. Businesses are shifting their budget allocations in respect to this, so that 37 percent is now dedicated to inbound marketing, and only thirty percent is dedicated to outbound marketing efforts. Hubspot expects the difference to increase over time.

Blogs are more important to businesses than other social media categories.

That cost-per-lead effectiveness showed 55 percent of company blogs to be less expensive in 2009. 48 percent of organic and natural search engine optimization rated below average cost-per-lead, while only 32 percent of paid search or AdWords performed similarly.

More companies that use inbound marketing have acquired customers from these channels.

From between 41 and 46 percent of companies that used social media marketing channels had acquired a customer this way. For business-to-business firms, LinkedIn performed higher than any other site - 45 percent, with the company blog, Twitter and Facebook in declining order. For business-to-consumer companies, Facebook performed best (68 percent), followed by the company blog (57%), then Twitter (51%), and last by quite a bit, LinkedIn (26%).