B2B marketers have said generating leads is their top goal for 2012. And converting qualified leads into paying customers is their biggest challenge. This is the finding of a survey of about 1,750 B2B marketers, conducted by MarketingSherpa in June 2011. (See chart.)
Why lead generation and lead management?
B2B marketers now put a higher priority on lead management and lead conversion over branding, reputation and awareness.
Why the change?
Three reasons appear likely:
- Revenue growth is more challenging in a slow economy.
- In the past lead generation was often considered a sales responsibility. But now marketers may be more eager to show measurable contributions to revenue growth.
- The effectiveness of all B2B marketing tactics declined dramatically from 2010 to 2011. (See chart below.) Marketers must beef up their efforts to generate as many leads as they did in the recent past.
Inbound marketing tops list in effectiveness
The three tactics at the top of the list--website marketing, search-engine optimization, and e-mail marketing--are primary tactics of inbound marketing. The fourth primary tactic of nbound marketing is social media, which ranks second from the bottom of priorities.
Although all four inbound marketing tactics showed relative declines in effectiveness year over year, three of the four still rank as the most powerful lead-generation techniques.
Oubound marketing still gets bigger budgets
It's interesting that the tried and true tactics of traditional outbound marketing still get the lion's of the average B2B marketing budget allocation. These tactics include the following:
- tradeshows (with 21% of total marketing budget, on average)
- paid search (13%)
- print advertising (12%)
- direct mail (10%)
- public relations (9%)
- telemarketing (8%), and
- virtual events or webinars (7%).
If inbound marketing continues to gain in effectiveness and outbound tactics continue to decline, surely the traditional balance of B2B marketing investment will shift more dramatically.