Lead generation has always been somewhat of a struggle for those in marketing, becoming a process that takes determination and effort. Before the internet, the prospect of generating leads was hard to fulfill. Now, however, with all of the useful tools that have developed in the digital, online world, marketers have, “an opportunity to develop leads early in a consumer’s purchase process,” and there have been significant results. Measuring the success of their efforts has always been a point of interest, so marketers have given the task to the professionals at MarketingSherpa, a well known market research company. They took a survey in January of 2012 that returned some significant results in the way of lead gen strategies for the coming year.

Now, eMarketer reports these results in a recent article, citing that 52% of the respondents say that their overall strategy for the next year is, “achieving or increasing measurable return on investment goals. Tied for a close second come both optimizing the marketing-sales funnel and gaining greater insight of the audience, each stated by 51% of respondents. Following these more popular strategies, about 47% of respondents said that part of their strategy for next year will include maximizing the lifetime value of customers. The response that got the lowest results was the idea of improving database hygiene, at 19% of the respondents.

The article states, “Marketers are looking for quality in their leads, but not ones that come burdened with a hefty price tag.” A total of 36% of the respondents say that they spent less than $20 per lead, and 16% say they invest less than $50 per lead. It’s clear that marketers still care more about cost more than they do the quality of leads, which is understandable in a shaky economy. However, eMarketer suspects that things might change as marketers begin to improve upon measurements in return on investment goals.

“Marketers also expected increases in lead generation budgets over the next year to focus largely on three areas: website optimization, social media and search engine optimization, underscoring just how important online tactics have become in recent years.” Marketers are starting to embrace the importance and value of some of the web’s most popular communities in lead generation. The expected has come true, as the survey shows that the techniques bringing the least budget consideration are all offline. Marketers are turning all of their attention to the web for lead gen, now, knowing that it has become the most successful method.

Lead generation has shifted in some areas more than others, but the most significant changes are in the form of internet use. Marketers that have been resistant to start on the web with lead gen, for reasons unknown, are realizing the truth about what is and what is not effective or successful. Lead generation is still one of the leading methods for marketing, so doing it right is important. I can only assume that by this time next year, most marketers in the business of lead generation will have realized the internet’s relevance in the field.

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