Best Lead Generation Strategies for 2017

Which lead generation strategies work? It depends on who you ask.

A study conducted by Hubspot found SEO to be the most effective individual B2B lead source, followed closely by email marketing and social media.

Surprisingly, blogging scraped the bottom of the list, rivaling much more antiquated marketing methods such telemarketing, PPC, trade shows, and direct mail.

Another study conducted by Chief Marketer Data found that email marketing produces the most leads, followed by online registration, social media and content marketing.

So what can marketers conclude from these inconsistent findings?

Even though the ideal method depends on your audience, there are a handful of lead generation strategies that rank near the top in each study:

The 4 B2B Marketing Trends to Use in Your Strategy

Digital, mobile, social, and content marketing are no longer considered short-term fads. Marketers proved their effectiveness a long time ago--these methods are now mainstays.

We now live in a mobile and social marketing landscape fueled by a constant stream of content, good or bad. Known for increasing search engine rankings, demonstrating authority, and building a pleasant user experience, content marketing is currently dominating b2b marketing strategies.

With that said, modern mainstays now have the potential to spur new trends that might change the way we perceive marketing.             

A Consumer-Centric Approach

The modern, informed customer changes how we do business. Their newfound level of awareness raises more objections and brings about higher expectations.

Magender Rajasekaran’s article titled B2B is dead. B4B is born explains, in a very accessible manner, that customer experience will soon overtake price and product as the main brand differentiator.

While “the customer is king” motto has been around for a while, only now has the focus officially shifted from presenting products and services to raising awareness and providing legitimate solutions to customer’s problems without disregarding their well-being.

Content Marketing Programs Are Maturing

Content marketing is here to stay.  A recent Content Marketing Institute study found that over 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing. Only 22% are extremely satisfied with the results of their content marketing campaigns, while 62% are somewhat successful after utilizing content marketing. As a result, 70% plan to create more content in 2017, according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

Content marketing strategies are maturing as many firms realize that scattered content leaves much to be desired when it comes to positive results.

Recently, many firms opted to outsource everything they could to untrained writers on outsourcing platforms.

The results?

Well, now they know better, and in 2017 I expect to see the following trends emerge:

  • Documented strategies
  • Less quantity and more quality
  • More interactive content, podcasts, video, etc.
  • Native advertising

More Educational Content in Video Format

More digestible and prefered over texts, videos might be the new standard method for businesses to prove their expertise and educate consumers.

Additionally, interactive, short videos that cut straight to the point seem to be a preferred over long, tedious ebooks.

Take the example of Intel’s Meet the Makers mini-documentary series, which uses storytelling to show its potential customers that “Intel makes everything look better”--even eating food that was just picked from the floor.

Employer Branding

For many firms, finding an attractive talent is a crucial yet hard task to accomplish. The market is flooded with eager prospects, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate a bloom of high-quality talent. According to the PWC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey, 73% of CEOs are concerned with finding new talent.

Employer branding is a form of marketing in which firms try to build a brand not only around their products or services but also around their workplace. Giving excellent employees incentive to stay and enjoy the workplace, thereby attracting other talented workers, is the purpose of employer branding.

In the search for talent, firms turn to marketing to create a desirable image for their firm and ultimately attract qualified, skilled workers that adore their workplaces. A unique workplace can be showcased on social media and used to gain trust by associating a brand with a positive set of values.

Demystifying Lead Generation

Even though we can’t always accurately measure the impact of brands on consumer’s choices, there are a few identifiable elements that we can start from.

Consumer-centric approaches, showcasing a unique work environment, and forging human relationships between firms are going to be the highlights of 2017. Marketers now realize that behind every business, humans are the ones making the decisions. The process of attracting potential clients has transformed.

Live streaming tools such as Twitter, Periscope, Facebook Live, and the newly released Instagram Videos have the ability to take lead generation in a brand new direction. These social media platforms enable companies to broadcast live video to hundreds, if not thousands, of consumers at once, giving those consumers an exclusive experience that pulls them closer to the brand.

To marketers, the possibilities of these platforms are endless, from live demonstrations of what a product can do to company tours or showcasing live events. This is a new frontier in marketing.