Almost half of marketers – some 47% – say their businesses are not effectively exploiting online lead generation as a way of growing their B2C business, according to a survey of internet marketers by E-consultancy and Clash-Media.
Four out of five online marketers (82%) see online lead generation as a growth area, and 64% of online marketers see it as its own distinct area of online marketing. But only 44% of B2C marketers say that their organizations are effectively exploiting online lead generation as a way of increasing revenue.
The study also found that three-quarters of respondents working for multi-channel organizations (74%) say their companies are generating leads online with the intention of converting them offline.
The report is based on the findings of a survey of more than 400 marketers carried out in January and February 2007.
“The research found that online methods are deemed to be more effective than offline methods when it comes to generating leads in the B2C context,” said Linus Gregoriadis, E-consultancy’s head of research. “There are huge opportunities…irrespective of whether these are eventually converted online or offline, for example in stores or by telephone.”
Key findings of the research include the following:
- Press (newspapers and magazines) is the method of offline lead generation most commonly used to generate consumer leads (61% of respondents), followed by direct mail/postal data (51%).
- The online methods most likely to be used by company respondents to generate leads are natural search (78% of respondents), paid search (72%) and email marketing via in-house lists (72%).
- The most effective methods of generating leads are all online. More than half of company respondents (52%) said that paid search was “very effective” while almost as many (48%) said that natural search was very effective.
- Email Marketing via in house lists, affiliate marketing, shopping comparison sites, viral marketing and acquiring leads from online aggregators are deemed very effective by 38%, 34%, 26%, 25%, and 25% of company respondents, respectively.
- Paid search gets the biggest share of online lead generation budget allocation (28%).
- 60% of company respondents say they are either “excellent” (11%), “good” (22%) or “quite good” (27%) at measuring the effectiveness of their online lead generation activity. However, 27% say they are “average” and a further 8% saying they are “poor.
- The difficulties associated with measuring the effectiveness of online lead generation activity generally fall into three categories: (1) difficulty of tracking leads through to conversion in a multi-channel environment;(2) lack of technology or poor technology for online tracking; and (3) lack of resources.
- Only 16% of company respondents say they buy lists of targeted prospects from online aggregators; 77% of company respondents say they are not using online lead aggregators. Moreover, one-fifth of respondents either “haven’t come across this” (12%) or “don’t understand how it works” (8%), suggesting that there is an opportunity for aggregators to educate prospective clients about this type of activity. A further 8% said they lacked the time to research this activity.