What Comes After Lead Generation?

Steering WheelTwo weeks ago, I wrote Five Reasons Lead Generation is on its Last Legs, exploring the reasons why today’s common lead generation tactics are beginning to fail. However, the requirement that marketing deliver leads will not change.

Marketers need to move beyond today’s content for contact information exchange and embrace new ways to drive demand and capture more interested and qualified contacts. Underlying the new demand generation activities will be two key changes.
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The Hidden Message from SiriusDecisions: Serve Your Audience

SiriusDecisions’ B2B Sales and Marketing: Forging a New Alliance was an impressive event last week, and I was glad to have the opportunity to attend. Between companies sharing their own cases on sales and marketing alignment and the planning frameworks, examples and data from SiriusDecisions analysts, it was a three day information firehouse.

Underlying the content I saw a common thread: sales and marketing needs to serve prospective customers. Here is my view on how a service attitude towards prospective customers underlies three of the key messages from SiriusDecisions. Read more of this post

Five Reasons Lead Generation Is On Its Last Legs

A quick definition. Lead generation, for purposes of this post, is collecting registration information for content, in order to build a marketing database or deliver leads to telemarketing and then on to sales.

Delivering leads for sales drives today’s B2B marketing organization. According to a study from Fusion B2B on 2011 B2B marketing priorities, lead generation is the single top priority of B2B marketers, at 26%. By comparison, awareness only captures 7%, near the end of the list. B2B marketing is all about lead generation.

But lead generation is breaking, and if your marketing relies heavily on lead generation, it will slowly break too. Here are the five things breaking lead generation today.

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Has Your Passion Been Lost In Your Marketing Process?

Tomatoes in Seed Starting AreaI had not spoken to Lisa in a year, and only a handful of times ever. So imagine my surprise when Lisa greeted me and then said “you grow Momotaro tomatoes, right?”

Wow, that is making a connection. That is what relationship marketing should be about. Connecting on a common interest and common passion. That passion is what B2B marketing is missing. As personal relationships in your business are replaced by machine-personalized communications, your passion has been lost.

Lisa, who runs Our Little Farm and Nursery, a small local business that sells, among other things, vegetable starts, immediately found something we have in common, and she is passionate about it. In the spring, she grows more than 100 tomato varieties alone for sale as starts at their small farm and local farmers markets. Her passion is clearly reflected in what she does.

In B2B marketing, you build relationships around Read more of this post

Selling your Lead Generation Content

Fan of cashYou have committed to content marketing, you have invested in creating content, and your website has turned into a veritable content hub. At every turn, you offer related content to entice a registration and get someone to opt in to to your drip and nurture program. You have enough traffic, but you need more registrations to fuel your nurture program.

What you really need is a new mindset. Your content is not free. You are selling it for contact information.

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Your Audience is Gold

Stack O'Money!Marketers must become media companies. In B2B, where thought leadership is nearly every marketers goal, it is even more critical. But B2B marketers are responding slowly. Rather than publishing great content and developing an audience that wants to hear from you, you blast your message to the limited audience you have and rely on media to distribute your message.

Stop. The limited audience you have developed, and often mistreated, is gold. Don’t believe me? Let’s put some numbers on it what marketing to your audience is worth.

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That’s John Doe to You

When marketers ask for information, we lie. In fact, an older Knowledge Storm survey published by Marketing Sherpa showed only 38% consistently provide accurate phone numbers and nearly half don’t even provide an accurate company name. We lie for a reason, and if marketers want us to stop lying on registration forms, they need to give us reasons to stop.

Registration Form LiesHere are a few of the reasons people have shared with me recently when asked why they lie on registration forms:

  • I register for information, but get a barrage of emails and phone calls.
  • Most of the content is useless, I’m not giving up my information for that.
  • I don’t want to be contacted.
  • Why would I give them my real information?

Marketers are facing an uphill battle. Many objections to registering are about what happens after we register, before we know what an individual marketer will do with the information we provide. Marketers have some marketing to do, they need to change our behavior, starting by changing our perception.

For marketers that embrace putting the audience first, the solution is easy. Read more of this post

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