What works in B2B lead generation

At the end of 2016, DemandWave asked 179 US-based B2B marketers about their digital marketing. MarketingProfs published some of the main findings from the survey relating to what channels, what content, and what social media platforms generate the most leads for them. Let's have a look at those results.

When we see an article we think you might find useful, we like to fact-check it. This means we look at the statistics and how they've been interpreted and see if there are additional or alternative interpretations. Here are some key facts from the article:

  • Email and organic search are the top two channels at 73% and 70% respectively. Social media and paid search are next at 55% and 54%.
  • Whitepapers and webinars are best at generating leads (53% and 50%) followed by case studies and blogs (44% and 39%).
  • LinkedIn is far and away the best social media channel for generating B2B leads, selected by 62% of respondents, compared to 37% for Facebook, its next closest rival.

Here at Usher & Spur, we're a little confused about email being designated as a lead-generation channel. To send an email, you have to have an address. Which means you have a lead already. It may not be a warm one, but it is one. Your emails should nurture it.

A clue might be found in other figures from the survey. (We also looked at the report itself to give you additional information.) When asked, "what is the #1 metric you use to measure digital marketing performance?", the largest number of respondents (31%) selected conversion from lead to customer. Which makes us wonder what the sales people are doing.

Organic search makes more sense to us. Prospective customers are looking for content to help them with their problems all the time. While the article refers to the types of content which are best at generating leads, the report also refers to those best at driving revenue. Interestingly, they're pretty much the same. Whitepapers, webinars and case studies (40%, 37% and 34%) are the top three, though blogs do less well than videos (28% and 30% respectively).

This seems to indicate further that a lead = a paying customer in digital marketing circles. We wonder if these companies are focusing only on those prospective customers who are already well-advanced in their buying decision. And this would mean that they're missing out on the chance to influence the decision of those who are still in the early stages.

While we agree wholeheartedly that LinkedIn is the best social media channel for B2B, we recommend developing content and choosing channels based on your customer journey map.

Click here to read the article. A link to download your own copy of the report can be found at the bottom.

Want more digital marketing tips? Let us know in the comments.