The common causes cited by responses to the Lenskold Group study included a lack of:
Alignment with the sales team; and
“Companies want to serve highly relevant content to each individual prospect, at every touch, to maximize engagement and conversions from their lead generation campaigns,” said Mani Iyer, Founder and CEO of Kwanzoo, a lead generation platform.
Content Quality, Targeting Work Together
At the same time, said Iyer, marketers face a real challenge designing campaigns that actually reach the intended targets. “A key issue marketers face is that lead generation campaigns, as delivered through marketing automation systems today, focus on the email or website channels only," she stated. "However, their prospects are everywhere.”
According to Iyer, smart companies are continuously seeking new ways to reach, engage and convert prospects, no matter where they are. Relevant content, consistently updated, is a key to lead generation, and it lends itself to the campaign model. If it doesn’t, engagement numbers drop, and that is a fatal to any lead management effort.
Content – or a lack thereof – also creates challenges for lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns. Chris Baggott, CEO of Compendium said marketers are realizing they now need to double down on their content bets and build a plan to in order to create sufficient content to support their campaigns.
In the Compendium model, companies need to fit five stages of content development within a campaign: Plan, produce, publish, promote and prove. Compendium has also developed technology that can help companies match content to a prospect’s place in the lead funnel. An introductory blog post, for example, would never be served to a lead that has already met with and even completed a demo with a company. And that byline about converting customers would never be sent as an introductory content piece.
“This is an urgent and changing topic,” Baggott said. “For us it’s about creating personas you can market to. It’s up to the company to create personas for their prospects depending on their progression in the funnel.”
Compendium has worked with clients on email, social and search when creating lead generation awareness campaigns. For all three areas, however, Baggott emphasized the importance of content and personas to support measurement, updates, tests and optimization for campaigns.
Rich Media, Email Play A Key Role For Integrated Campaigns
In addition to expanding their content investments, another new approach to campaigns is a shift towards new and innovative content formats. Kwanzoo’s Iyer sees more companies adding rich media (polls, in-banner short forms, mini-surveys, dynamic content) into their lead generation campaigns to drive up engagement, response rates and conversions.
While new tools and channels are emerging, research shows email-based content marketing campaigns are still the core. ClickSquared, a SaaS-based lead gen platform, released a study in early November that showed 67% of study respondents saying email is their most-used channel, contributing to an average of 6.6 million messages sent each month on the B2C side.
“It is the job of the marketer to track leads and educate customers over time,” said Dan Smith, SVP of Marketing at ClickSquared. “That fits the campaign model, which serves it well because once a lead is engaged the series of content that should follow that engagement needs to change over time. It needs to change until a lead is deep into the purchase process.”