Just 15% of senior marketers in North America consider their demand generation strategies to be highly (2%) or very (13%) effective, being instead more likely to perceive them as moderately effective (29%) or someplace in the middle (32%), according to a report [download page] from The CMO Council and Netline. One of the key problems appears to be a conflict between content strategies that lack targeting and the definition of a high-quality lead that requires more intentional engagement on the prospect’s part.
The top ways that marketers surveyed define a high-quality lead are:
- Detailed request for contact initiated by the prospect, including specific details around what products, services or solutions the prospect is interested in (43%); and
- Prospect that is immediately positioned to purchase (36%).
By comparison, just 20% feel that a high-quality lead is defined as a contact that is complete and accurate with only email and phone details. As the report’s authors put it, high-quality leads “are not names collected through the mass distribution of a white paper created for a mass audience.”
As such, when asked about the factors derailing lead flow success, marketers pointed first to:
- Content not developed for target audiences (48%);
- Budget limitations (48%); and
- Content lacking relevance for the audience (44%).
Top-performers (those rating their organizations as “high-performance content engines”) are twice as likely as the overall sample to develop content specifically for lead nurturing, notes the report.
The importance of relevant and targeted content is outlined in a new MarketingCharts B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report, which also finds marketers facing resource constraints when it comes to their content marketing. Separate results from the study indicate, though, that content marketing is one of the top digital channels slated for budget increases, suggesting that the creation of targeted, relevant and engaging content will be the greater obstacle in the near term.
Progressive profiling – a method for capturing more data points about a prospect over multiple form submissions – may be a lead nurturing tactic that could assist marketers in meeting their definition of a high-quality lead, which requires details about the prospect’s interests rather than just contact information. Yet this is not a commonly used tactic, according to data contained in the MarketingCharts report, which indicates that in one survey just 15% of B2B companies were using progressive profiling in their lead generation.
Another challenge faced by marketers in the CMO Council and Netline report? Measuring success. Research has shown that content marketing is the digital channel that marketers are least able to measure for ROI. In this latest report, white papers emerged as the content types able to deliver great leads for the most marketers. Yet while 24% said that white papers can generate great leads, one-quarter said they don’t know. Additionally, almost half don’t know how well analyst reports fare, and close to 6 in 10 can’t measure the impact of an e-book distribution. (For what it’s worth, video again appears near the top of the content effectiveness rankings.)
On a more encouraging front, the CMO Council and Netline study results suggest that the marketing and sales relationship is improving. And while it looks like content strategies need improvement, only 1 in 10 respondents lack one.
About the Data: The CMO Council and Netline report is based on an online survey completed by 213 senior marketing leaders (primarily located in North America), of whom 46% represent brands earning more than $1 billion in annual revenue. The majority of respondents come from B2B or hybrid companies, and half have a VP title or above.