Optimizing Lead Generation in B2B marketing
Growth in B2B businesses relies primarily on lead generation. Current successful lead generation strategies need not necessarily succeed when penetrating existing markets/targeting new markets/launching a new product or variant.
Broadly, the B2B lead generation process involves:
identifying the market;
identifying target customers in that market;
researching/defining needs of customers;
developing products/services to fulfill those needs; and,
defining/implementing an appropriate marketing process
It is obvious that irrespective of the marketing strategy chosen, the most important step is to increase market awareness and thus generate sales leads.
Traditional ‘outbound’ marketing methods consisted of buying ads, buying email lists, and hoping for leads. Contemporary ‘inbound’ marketing focuses on creating quality content that attracts people toward your company and product.
Great content, the mainstay of inbound marketing, does not always quickly/fully-engage the target customer. On the other end, Trade shows/Exhibitions (probably the most effective way to promote a new product/reach out to a new market) is still the largest single marketing technique being adopted.
While both techniques have their advantages and shortcomings (cost, reach, time to sales, effectiveness etc.), outbound methods definitely complement/add value to inbound marketing. The key is to develop a combination of both specifically designed to support the growth strategy. The gentle ‘push’ can add quite a punch to the ‘pull’.
A sample combination:
Inbound: Website (information hub), Blog (promotion), SEO/PPC and Social media.
Outbound: Email as a potent tool to push out high quality content directly to potential/existing customers. Content can also be distributed using traditional advertising: business/trade magazines, TV shows etc. Finally, Exhibitions/Seminars are the proven marketing tool completing the outbound mix.