Daniel Burstein

Lead Generation: Content among the most difficult tactics, but also quite effective

To determine the most used lead gen tactics, and map that to their effectiveness and difficulty, we asked the following questions in the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report

Q. Which of the following lead generation tactics does your organization currently use?

Q. Please indicate the LEVEL OF EFFECTIVENESS (in terms of achieving objectives) for each of the lead generation tactics your organization is using.

Q. Please indicate the DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY (time, effort and expense required) for each of the lead generation tactics your organization is using.

And then we asked your peers for their feedback on this data…

Be the resource

I don’t agree that content marketing is one of the most difficult tactics, although I will agree that it is one of the most effective for lead generation. Marketing these days is about educating your target market, engaging with them, and only selling when they’re ready to buy. Until that time comes, be the resource that they go to while researching solutions to their problems.

– Jen Picard, Digital Marketing Manager, Meltwater Group

Difficulty and effectiveness is impacted by how you execute

I find email is less difficult and more effective with the right content.

– Jim Naro, President, The Naro Group

Content is really difficult to do right

The reason why content was labeled as most difficult is because business owners simply don’t have the resources or time to run a proper content marketing campaign. Counting in:

  • Solid keyword research
  • Separating texts to target different stages of lead interest (just looking, comparing services, emotional purchasing triggers)
  • Proper writing for the Web (scanability, active language, short sentences, bullet lists etc)

The list is pretty long, and not everybody has the time to learn all that and then apply it. Compared to say, PPC, content is really difficult.

As Jen said, it’s all about feeling the pulse of your Web visitors. The power of content is that you can use different content pieces to speed up their pulse and get them to a purchasing decision by moving them deeper into the conversion funnel. Aside of email, hardly any other tactic is as effective of a convincer as content.

– Igor Mateski, Owner, WebMaxFormance

Mobile is bigger than social media

My attention was drawn to mobile marketing designated in the social media circle. While this is certainly true, increasingly people are accessing their email from their smart devices. I believe mobile is bigger than just social media and could have a significant impact on the performance of campaigns in the future.

Increasingly tracking multi-channel behavior will also play a role in assessing marketing performance.

– Joseph Ruiz, Owner, Strategic Marketing Solutions

Very true, Joseph. To be clear, social media and mobile marketing were treated as separate tactics in the benchmark report. For this specific chart, they both had similar levels of effectiveness and difficulty, so they occupy a similar place on the chart.

However, I can see that the way we displayed the chart, with mobile marketing almost looking like a little moon orbiting social media, one could easily deduce that we implied for mobile marketing to be seen as a subset of social media. That was not our intention.

Related Resources:

MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 – September 30 – October 3, San Francisco

SEO and Email: The Best Marketing Efforts You Can Undertake (via WebMaxFormance)

Content Marketing: Your questions on B2B online lead gen, metrics, content from SMEs and more

Lead Generation: B2B content generates $700,000 in leads via email

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Lead Generation



  1. July 21st, 2013 at 12:12 | #1

    Interesting chart and discussion. Another point worth making here is that the “content” tactic is related to several of the others as well. For example, PPC, SEO, email, social, and webinars are typically used as ways to attract a target audience to our content. So for “content marketing” to work well, several of these other tactics usually need to be working well also. Great content with poor distribution is like having a beautiful classic car that sits covered in the barn all year ’round!

    I was also surprised to see trade shows scoring well in terms of lead gen effectiveness. Really?

    (Would be good to see a 2013 update of this chart too.)

  2. July 25th, 2013 at 11:59 | #2

    I am not as surprised that trade shows score well, I just didn’t realize how well they are in the grand spectrum of lead generation. Trade shows connect you with industry leaders, and potential customers who are looking for something within your niche. Plus trade shows can provide an array of content topic ideas and can connect you with other experts for interviews which are fantastic content to have on your site.

  3. October 11th, 2013 at 17:26 | #3

    One thing that isnt very clear, are these leads in question are for B2B or B2C? I would imaging for B2C social media should be effective. For B2B I am not surprised that trade shows continue to lead the pack.
    However, I feel that for leads to really convert the relationship aspect needs to be played well. The basic idea is that a curated lead is much more likely to get converted if the seller has a relationship into the buyer. At credibase, we are attempting to solve this challenge.

  4. September 2nd, 2014 at 15:25 | #4

    Hey Daniel,

    I really like how you laid out the chart. Its a nice touch on top of your article. It made everything really clear. From my professional opinion i found that your chart seems to be accurate along with the information you went along with following.

  1. July 29th, 2013 at 03:02 | #1
  2. August 1st, 2013 at 03:01 | #2
  3. December 30th, 2013 at 03:02 | #3