You need to generate leads, right? If you are a B2B marketer, particularly one focused on making a complex sale in a large enterprise, the answer is almost certainly a resounding yes.
The B2B lead generation landscape has changed tremendously in the last decade. Today, B2B lead generation relies heavily on digital marketing and this list reflects that switch.
To make this list, tactics must be cost effective, measurable and scalable. In addition, they need to offer sufficient targeting for the broader marketing efforts of many mid-sized or large enterprise marketers.
The B2B Lead Generation List
1. Inbound or Content Marketing
Time after time, HubSpot’s research shows that inbound leads are both lower cost and higher quality than those from outbound marketing.
Although inbound has the longest rampup time, it is increasingly the first choice for smaller companies and startups and a quickly growing focus for larger marketers.
2. Search marketing
Paid search delivers both quality and volume for many B2B marketers. If you currently focus primarily on inbound marketing and aren’t using paid search, it should be one of your first additions.
3. Publisher Lead Generation Programs
This category covers a wide range of programs that vary by publisher. Although contacts captured from these programs tend to be lower quality than those captured through search, publisher programs are often more scalable and targetable (based on demographics) than search.
Yes, inboxes are overflowing and deliverability is an issue, but email continues to be the lowest cost way to have the granular targeting that a one-to-one list model supports.
When used with content promotions, email continues to be a cost effective channel for marketers that need more granular targeting.
5. Direct Mail
As our email inboxes are getting fuller, our physical inboxes are getting smaller. Adding direct mail, and dimensional direct mail for specific audiences, is one of the best ways to maximize the overall response rate for an audience.
If you are a modern marketer, you might despise telemarketing, but with a targeted list, it continues to be extremely effective. Particularly when targeting a finite known audience, adding telemarketing to your email and direct mail program can significantly increase the total percentage of the audience you connect with.
What Didn’t Make the List
Sometimes it is more interesting to consider what didn’t make a list a why. Here are four that simply don’t make the cut. Some are newer and may be part of a core list in another year or two (or even for you today), but for many marketers, these will not be core lead generation investments.
Online banners may be a good compliment to some of these tactics and with a significant investment could directly left some of the other results. However, for most B2B marketers, banners don’t drive leads cost effectively.
2. Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising isn’t targetable or scalable enough in many B2B markets to make the list above, but with recent updates from Facebook and rumored changes pending from Twitter, that may change.
3. Print Advertising
With registration capture generally happening online, print simply cannot compete compared to reaching someone that is already online and just a click away from your registration form.
Many B2B marketers continue to invest heavily in events and many continue to see a good return from a small number of key events. However, many event marketers are cutting back their event schedule and reinvesting their lead generation budgets in the tactics above.
Rather than base this list on published benchmarks, which often don’t reflect the differences in program costs or quality, this list is based on my own personal experience and on conversations with other marketers. Your additions and feedback is welcomed.
What would you add to these lists or what tactic do you feel isn’t represented fairly in the list above? Share your views in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).