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Marketers Put More Lead Gen Budgets Online

Online channels most effective—especially when rigorously measured

Lead generation budgets were slashed by many companies in 2009, but now that the economy is on the uptick again, dollars are flowing and acquiring new customers is a priority.

According to the “2010 Lead Generation Optimization Key Trends Analysis” from CSO Insights, more than 91% of companies worldwide reported increasing new customer acquisition was one of their top strategic marketing objectives for 2010.

Based on the quantity and quality of leads generated, companies said email was their best lead generation program, followed by live events, website registrations and webinars. The effectiveness of online channels, coupled with the fact that prospects indicate the web is the first place they look for more information, makes it natural for companies to be increasing their investments in web design, email marketing and search engine optimization.

Investments in new media are also on the rise, even if it remains less effective than more traditional channels.

At the same time, the web was the area companies were most likely to say needed improvement in its ability to execute lead campaigns. For many marketers, there has already been significant improvement: 51% said the web did not meet expectations in 2010, compared with 68% who said the same in 2009.

In addition, marketers’ ability to measure their own success affected whether they thought the web was an effective channel. Among those companies that had not adopted a lead generation management system, 65% were dissatisfied with the performance of web-based lead generation efforts. But among marketers that did have a system in place to track leads, only 37% agreed—putting the web on par in effectiveness with traditional media advertising and ahead of direct mail or telemarketing.

“As more lead generation efforts shift to the Internet, tools to help develop, execute, and track campaign effectiveness will become a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have,’” said the report.

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Check out today’s other article, “Hotels Ahead in Social Marketing Strategy Game.”

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