Jean-Marie Bonthous, Seamless Social
How often have you heard recently: “The relationship of power between buyers and sellers has been transformed?” Yet, for many marketing and sales teams, this truism still has to sink in. Sales teams used to have access to prospects early on, and be able to steer them. Buyers these days conduct their own research, and turn to peers for advice, through social sites and search engines. They can learn about you, your company and your products without being in touch with your people or even your materials. Buyers do not want you to contact them while they are conducting their research. So what can you do? Here are some takeaways from a research report recently published by Marketing Sherpa.
1) Observing and understanding customers: the new frontier
Never has there been so many data and tools to track, assess and understand customer behavior and intent. These make it possible to acquire a keen understanding of the ecosystem, the buyers, their unmet needs, and of what kind of value proposition, offering, messaging and channels would be effective.
2) Too many weak leads, and not enough conversions: the new malaise
Conversion effectiveness is not about quantity of leads but quality of needs. With inbound marketing, come the “tirekickers” the billions of people out there who stumble upon your site, make for great traffic stats, but have no intent to buy. Lead quantity has to give way to lead quality.
3) Lead scoring and lead nurturing separate the weak leads from the promising ones
Organizations who nurture their leads experience a 45% life in lead generation ROI. The era of marketing throwing leads to sales over the organizational fence is gone. It is incumbent upon marketing to evaluate the leads, and cultivate them until they can be handed off to sales.
4) No amount of lead nurturing can replace a weak value proposition
Marketing Sherpa reports that organizations that had a clearly defined value proposition for their products experienced a 17.5% lift in lead generation ROI over organizations that did not. Building a stronger, clearer value proposition, that is easy to grasp and memorable. Such is the foundation upon which marketing needs to build it’s messaging. A compelling value proposition will spread easily, and seduce. A convoluted value proposition will drain the most brilliant lead nurturing campaign.
5) Engagement needs to be multichannel
There is a plethora of tools to engage prospects. From old fashioned direct mail to Pinterest, how do you choose the channel that will provide the most conversions?
Marketing Sherpa’s chart rates the main marketing channels along two dimensions: effectiveness and difficulty to execute. The underlying trend in multichannel marketing is that marketers are moving to online marketing tactics, which are now proven to be more cost effective and deliver quick results. The devil however is in execution and being active online is by no means a guarantee of success.
6) Online marketing budgets are on the rise
74% of companies plan to increase their website optimization budget, 73% plan to spend more on social media, and 68% will have larger SEO budgets. 62% will spend more on content marketing, 63% will increase their email marketing budget, and 52% will spend more on marketing technology. Add to that that 48% will spend more on mobile marketing and 44% on PPC, and you start seeing an online marketing landscape where budgets are becoming substantial.
7) B2B or B2C lead generation? Amazing similar
Many B2C organizations have complex sales, with high average sales prices, long sales cycles and multiple decision makers. While 66% of marketers believe that there are subtle difference between B2B and B2C lead generation, but that most of the core concepts apply to both, 31% believe that the two practices are so different that they cannot be compared.
What other lead generation or marketing ROI trends are you seeing? We would love to hear from you.