Lead Gen in 2013: Content Marketing, Retargeting Among Fastest-Growing Channels

ChiefMarketer-Lead-Prospecting-Channels-2013-v-2012-June2013This year, many marketers’ lead prospecting aims are focused primarily on finding new customers, while relatively few are looking only to retain current or reactivate former customers, according to Chief Marketer‘s 2013 Prospecting Survey [download page]. Marketers are ramping up their use of prospecting tools across the board, and while email remains the most common prospecting channel (86.7% using this year), some of the biggest changes are reserved for content marketing, retargeted ads, and website registration/opt-in.

Specifically, 60.2% plan to use content marketing this year, up 31% from 46.1% last year. About two-thirds are expecting to use website registration/opt-in, up almost 20% from 56.3% last year, and 29.7% are planning to use retargeting, up almost 50% from 20.3% last year.

Also seeing significant growth in adoption are:

  • Social networks (67.5% vs. 57.3%);
  • Email (86.7% vs. 80.3%);
  • PPC or display ads (45.1% vs. 37.8%); and
  • Live events/street teams (32% vs. 26.7%).

Obviously, B2C and B2B marketers have different priorities when it comes to lead prospecting channels. Yet both appear to be gravitating towards content marketing, with use increasing from 53% to 68.1% among B2B respondents and from 38.1% to 54.3% among B2C marketers.

Both B2B and B2C marketers are also increasing their use of email this year. Among those who prospect with email, about three-quarters report getting their addresses from web registrations and opt-ins, with significantly fewer turning to purchased or rented lists (24.7%) and third-party opt-ins (22%).

The main reasons given for prospecting via email are its relatively low cost (71.6%), ability to track and measure response (56.7%), and ability to personalize (46.1%). That last point may or may not be such a benefit, at least according to consumer attitudes.

Other Findings:

  • Roughly 2 in 3 respondents measure their lead generation ROI by cost-per-acquisition (68.4%), while another 20.6% measure it through cost-per-lead.
  • 41% of respondents believe their company handles acquired leads somewhat (28%) or more (13%) effectively than most firms, while another 41% see themselves as average.
  • The biggest obstacles to generating new leads from social media are: the social presence requiring more content/resources than just a lead gen offer (44.4%); and prospects being wary of being marketed to in a “commerce-free” zone (39%).
  • Roughly 2 in 3 respondents said their company’s lead-gen process attributes leads by channel source.
  • About 1 in 4 use automated lead management software to score, monitor, and route leads to the sales staff.
  • Respondents are allocating more of their budgets on average this year to new customer acquisition (50.9%) than retention/reactivation (35.1%).
  • Direct response tactics respondents will use more aggressively this year include new creative content in offers (55.7%) and more cross-platform integration with the web (54%).
  • The most popular offer to prospects in return for their contact info or lead-gen opt-in last year was education content such as webinars, white papers, and podcasts, by 45.5% of respondents. Almost 2 in 5 offered discounts and samples.

About the Data: The 2013 Chief Marketer Prospecting Survey was conducted from Feb. 6 to March 5; 678 responses were received via email. Over half of the respondents (52%) were B2B marketers; 18% identified their businesses as B2C, while 30% said they market to both businesses and consumers. Respondents included ad/sales/DM agency professionals (23.2%), banking/insurance/ real estate (9.1%), manufacturers (13.5%) and retailer/cataloger/ wholesalers (12.5%).