The History of Lead Generation
Over 75% of all marketers think marketing has changed more in the past ten years than the previous fifty. How so? Well, digital marketing has seen vast changes in marketing, from the internet to smartphones and social media to IoT. Let’s take a look at how these changes have occurred…
The 1970’s became the era of door knocking, foot in the door activity. This somewhat demoralising, knuckle-biting sales notion meant decision-makers soon grew weary of salespeople showing up on their doorstep. During this time the Yellow Pages was the main source of information regarding potential suppliers.
The early 1980’s saw the rise of telemarketing as a profitable direct marketing channel. Business expenditures for telemarketing exceeded the amount spent on other advertising channels due to its effective lead generation approach. It also helped to save time and money when compared to sales reps.
In the 1990’s, Direct Mail took centre stage. Many businesses communicated with their customers through post via a variety of print media including catalogues, leaflets, promotional letters, magazines, etc.
Entering the 21st century saw the internet and email become a vital part of businesses worldwide. Email marketing proved itself to be very effective, Google became the pre-eminent search engine, and SEO was born – although the ability to manipulate search rankings through link building was short lived.
Digital marketing became `a thing`, many businesses invested in social media, and there was an explosion of channels and technologies claiming they would solve marketers’ lead generation challenges. Yet, on the contrary, marketers almost universally agree that lead generation has got harder, not easier.
What about the Future?
As we continue to see new lead generation techniques evolve – even fax marketing was claimed to be the next big thing – there has been one constant. That some of the oldest, traditional lead generation channels have continued to be effective.
Direct Mail, Email, Telemarketing, Exhibitions…. have all been predicted to be consigned to yesteryear on many occasions, yet they are still going strong today. Why the longevity of these traditional channels?
Because they’ve adapted. And that adaptation has mainly been around integration.
Take Direct Mail. Firstly, the format of the mail item itself has changed – perforated response cards are no longer needed. Modern Direct Mail often drives a prospect to a landing page on your website. And a Direct Mail campaign would often form part of a campaign that may include digital and telemarketing. So the volumes of mail pieces sent would be smaller, but the response rates much greater.
Although telemarketing can be used efficiently as a standalone activity to generate leads, often it is at its most effective when integrated with other marketing channels.
Content marketing in its most simple definition, is creating a series of articles and guides that give some useful insight or knowledge to your potential customers. Hopefully in the way our articles do!
By sharing useful content with your prospects, you demonstrate your knowledge, drive prospects to visit your website, and raise awareness of who you are.
Often though, content marketing and raising awareness, don’t in themselves generate many leads. This is where Telemarketing fits in.
By delivering your content via email, you can track the individual prospects that open and then click through to visit your website. The telemarketing can then be targeted at the prospects that have clicked through and visited your website as the top priority, followed by prospects that have opened the email.
By following up with prospects that are engaging with your content, the telemarketers are able to reach more prospects and engage in warmer conversations.
So, whilst we can’t predict what the marketing trend for the 2020’s will be, we can say with some confidence, that integrating traditional lead generation with whatever comes along in the future is likely to get the best return for your budget.
When telemarketing is used within an integrated approach, its highly measurable, data-led nature helps strengthen other activities and align sales and marketing efforts.
The bottom line is; the real marketing magic only happens when you add the new to the old.
To find out how you can implement telemarketing as part of an integrated lead generation marketing strategy, contact Beanstalk today.