Consulting different sources results in a plethora of answers as to the best marketing strategy for a strong and successful lead generation campaign. HubSpot’s 2016 State of Inbound report tells us that that the majority of B2B marketers identify growing organic traffic and improving SEO results as their main priority going forward. Whilst the 2016 State of Marketing report produced by Salesforce concludes that marketers have focused upon creating strategies which centralise around social channels and content creation.
What’s more, while most reports agree that digital marketing is moving to take the focus of strategy development, they often fail to reach an agreement on the role that outbound marketing tactics will play in marketing strategy development going forward. With each report showcasing different elements of B2B marketing strategy in the pole position it is difficult to define the most effective marketing strategy for B2B lead generation.
While top position is often contested, the marketing tactics which are consistently top of the charts are:
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Search Marketing
These annual reports are capable of capturing the popularity of marketing tactic. However, this comes from each respondent's own definition of success and lacks insight into how these channels were manipulated in the optimum manner for lead generation. Developing a strong marketing strategy for lead generation depends on which tactics you use, but more importantly how you use them.
IT Telemarketing is a prime example of a strategy whose success is highly dependent on how you choose to use it. This tactic is often performed by a sales team – either in-house or outsourced – that are often underdeveloped in the necessary skills and experiences. Telemarketing is often a tactic widely considered to be 'dead' and incapable of producing highly qualified leads, by those that have been scorned by little success.
In reality, a highly trained inside sales team who are empowered to enter into discussions with their prospects (rather than reading from a script) can and will perform a key role in B2B lead generation, delivering the highly qualified leads needed to grow pipeline.
Email marketing is a tactic that has also undergone some scrutiny despite its longevity. Mass email blasts of unsolicited and uninspiring messages have lead to the tarnished reputation of email marketing as a strong marketing tactic but, like telemarketing, the tactic has undergone a transformation in recent years seeing its success grow.
The revitalisation of email marketing has in many ways been backed by the advent of marketing automation tools. Enabling marketers to create highly specific and tailored messages packed with value and engaging content that can be delivered directly into the prospect inbox as they reach the relevant point in their buyer’s journey. Emails which speak directly to the buyer personas, anticipating their needs and questions, can garner and nuture prospects, driving high levels of engagement and therefore serve as a powerful lead generation strategy component.
Arguably, content marketing is not a new phenomenon but rather one that has evolved along with the expansion of inbound marketing and the advancement of digital capabilities. It can encompass a variety of areas including: blogging, infographics, videos, whitepapers and eBooks to name just a few.
Each of these content pieces can be used to create ongoing and consistently value for your target audience, and a strategy which takes into consideration its continued creation can establish a brand voice that is thought of as fresh, relevant and of a valuable contribution to the conversation ; securing a position of thought leadership within the industry sector.
Within a lead generation strategy, content also acts as a sharable commodity. As items of a perceivably high valuable, these pieces can be offered in exchange for prospect information acting as a point of lead conversion. Additionally, content can be used to nurture prospects through the sales cycle and build lasting relationships with existing client base.
Social Media Marketing
For a long time the practice of social media marketing was disregarded by B2B organisations, but as its successes grew in the consumer markets and the theories of buyer behaviour advanced, it too has become a B2B lead generation tactic. However, while it can be seen in many of the marketing reports that a great number of organisations are dedicating increasing resources to the strategy it is also one that can have the greatest disparity in success rates as a lead generation tool.
When incorporated successfully into a lead generation strategy, social media can be used to engage directly in conversations with prospects and a wider target audience as well as monitoring behaviour and trends for insights. Successfully delivered social media marketing also enables B2B marketers to distribute marketing strategy directly into the pockets of prospects with the growing popularity of mobile social platforms. These can be used to distribute brand messaging, content promotion and industry news, creating a strong and engaging online presence.
With only a limited number of prospects moving beyond the first page of a search result and the number of clicks decreasing the further down the rankings, the importance of securing a top position is essential in driving website traffic.
A carefully crafted search engine optimisation strategy is essential in ensuring organisational web pages and content are ranking for appropriate and relevant keywords. Successfully optimised pages and content will be matched to prospects actively seeking related content, ultimately increasing the volume of organic website traffic and conversion rates. With a B2B lead generation strategy, driving organic traffic by adopting SEO practices is highly invaluable but in a sense, it must be considered in conjunction with a variety of additional tactics such as content creation, website design optimisation and social media marketing.
Developing a Strong Marketing Strategy for Lead Generation
There is not one best marketing strategy tactic for B2B lead generation, as generating highly qualified leads is not about which strategies are used, but rather how each is deployed.
Successfully growing organisational pipeline depends on creating marketing messages which resonate with the target audience and compels them to engage. Successful B2B marketers are able to determine which of these strategies will have the greatest impact on their buyer personas and integrate each into a unified and strong marketing strategy that delivers results.
The strongest lead generation strategies are ones which are constantly evolving to incorporate new tactics or new approaches, reflective of the needs and challenges of the target audience.
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