Lead Generation

Marketing Metrics - are we missing the fundamentals?

At a recent gathering of marketing execs, I informally polled the group on how they were measuring Online Marketing effectiveness.   It seems that metrics are not keeping pace with our new reality.

Online Marketing ROI 
The majority are using web analytics tools, like Google Analytics and Omniture, to track page views and navigation paths.  About a quarter are working with a social media agency, or using a social media platform (like HubSpot) for tracking.  But hardly anyone is using CRM to track lead-to-sale metrics (like Google AdWords for Salesforce).  And some are using no tracking at all. 

It's true that many of us need to use a hodgepodge of tools to keep on top of our programs (I use Google Analytics, LeadLander and Salesforce, along wtih Google AdWords for Salesforce), and it's no fun to spend more time number crunching results than generating leads in the first place.  But if Marketing remains a nebulous science, we're not doing ourselves any favors by avoiding metrics altogether.

Lack of Lead Gen is a Symptom, Not a Disease

You're interviewing for a VP Marketing gig, and you're asked the question "Do You Do Lead Gen"?  And you begin to suspect that 1)this job is more low-level than it sounds and 2)yikes!this company does not value branding or marketing strategy.Content Messaging 
The suspicion may well be false.  Because in the overall scheme of marketing life, lack of lead gen is just a headache.  It's not a disease, it's a symptom of something much bigger.

The roundabout route that many Lead Gen discussions take is that there are little/no marketing programs in place, the sales team isn't armed and there's no way to measure the marketing to sales cycle.  Which can also mean: No clear, compelling value proposition, and no educational (vs. promotional) content. 

So there's no need to run when the lead gen question comes up.  It's part of a much bigger story and a much meatier assignment. 

And if Lead Gen is not part of your repertoire, you may miss the strategic conversation all together.

55% of Power Point Users Like Pie Charts (aka the power of the survey)

I recently ran a couple of webinars for a client on very short notice.  I ran out of time to write a white paper (since I was developing the content and the promotional copy at the same time), so I worked with the hosting company to include a few brief survey questions in the registration form and during the event.  

Power point chart 
The result?  Enough data (10 questions, 150+ respondents) to publish a "survey" (not statistically significant) of what executives in the industry were thinking.  Created in Power Point, saved to a .PDF, the charts and graphs provided enough eye candy (and benchmarking data) to make the call-to-action even more compelling than the white paper we originally envisioned. 

Revisiting the ROI of Trade Shows

Trade Shows have long been on my list of least favorite Marketing Tactics. Perhaps it's because they've been a "Least Effective" Marketing Tactic in my experience. But being a bargain hunter in a high-supply, low-demand market, I'm willing to rethink the ROI of Trade Shows.

It's no surprise that B2B Trade Show spending is down this year (and has been declining steadily over the past few years). Forrester Research recently published a study on B2B Marketing Spend, The 2009 Economic Impact on B2B Marketing Budgets and Activities. As budgets are tightening, marketing spend is shifting from more traditional activities such as tradeshows and print advertising to digital media. 49% of B2B Marketers surveyed by Forrester stated that they planned to REDUCE Trade Show spend.
Forrester shift in spending

But as demand drops, it's easier to negotiate better deals. And with corporate travel budgets at an all time low, trade show attendance is restricted to those with a serious business need and/or budget.

I planned a client's presence at a trade show last month, RFID Journal Live, and though attendance was down, the seriousness of the conversations was up. So it reinforces my recession theory on trade shows. The tighter the T&E budget, the more likely attendees will have an budgeted project:
Trade Show Budget

This may be the first time I've seen qualified leads come in on Day 3 of a 3-Day show! It's more common for decision makers to attend the first couple of days of a show and have the vendors stay behind and talk to each other as the show nears its end.

So though I'm not entirely bullish on Trade Shows in general, I'll be more open-minded when evaluating their effectiveness. With better deals and better-qualified buyers, they may have a new place in the marketing budget.