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Ascend2-Most-Effective-Difficult-Lead-Gen-Tactics-Aug2016Email gets yet another accolade, this time in its capacity as a lead gen tactic. A new survey [download page] from Ascend2 and its Research Partners has found that email and content marketing are considered the most effective online tactics for lead generation. And email benefits from one key factor that content marketing can’t boast.

That’s its relative ease of execution. In fact, of the 8 online tactics identified in the report, email was considered difficult to execute by the fewest respondents. By contrast, content marketing emerged as the most difficult. While the survey does not go into the reasons for that difficulty, separate research from Ascend2 suggests that the biggest challenges associated with content marketing are the lack of content creation resources and the lack of an effective strategy.

[SPONSORED: 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study]

What’s striking about this year’s lead generation survey from Ascend2 is how little things have changed. Last year’s edition also found email marketing to be the most effective tactic, with content the most difficult. There seems to have been a slight rise in the effectiveness rankings for both content and social media, with a decline for webinars and virtual events.

But otherwise, things seem to be remaining fairly steady on the lead generation front. The most important goal of a lead generation strategy clearly remains improving the quality of leads, rather than increasing their quantity. This aligns with other research from Demand Gen Report, which found that B2B marketers’ top demand generation priority this year is to focus on lead quality over quantity.

One thing that seems to be changing is lead gen effectiveness: this year about 9 in 10 respondents say that their effectiveness has increased significantly (41%) or marginally (48%), a figure that shows some growth from last year. Along with that improvement, respondents are feeling confident about their efforts. Fully 39% this year describe the success of their lead generation strategy as “very successful (best-in-class)” – almost triple the figure from last year (14%). It seems that many marketers who rated themselves as “somewhat” successful last year have moved into the best-in-class column this year.

It’s worth noting that last year’s survey had more of a B2B skew in the sample than this edition. That may affect the trends, though there’s no knowing if B2C marketers are a more confident bunch than their B2B counterparts. Perhaps they’re just focused more on email…

About the Data: The Ascend2 report’s results are based on a survey of 244 marketing influencers, the majority (76%) of whom come from companies with at least 50 employees. Some 49% are B2B, while 25% identify as B2C and 26% as marketing to B2B and B2C equally.

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