Chief Marketer recently published the findings of their Business-to-Business Lead Generation Survey, revealing the strategies that nearly 350 B2B markets planned to employ this year, compared to 2011. What they found was that 51% of the marketers said their companies planned to primarily focus and finding new customers in 2012, no surprises there. The more interesting statistics lie in how they plan on finding those new customers.
The most popular tool for lead gen last year was email, and it was expected to grow from 86% deployment to 90% this year. What sticks out to me are the three tools that were projected to experience some of the biggest percentage jumps in 2012: Social Networks, Pay Per Click Ads, and Retargeted Ads.
Social Network lead generation was expected to grow from 48% usage to 68%, which put it in a tie with trade show and conference attendance. B2B social marketing is a far cry from B2C social marketing. For instance, I don’t use Facebook to research – or even think about – my next CRM platform. In my opinion, the best way to use social networking on a B2B basis is creating useful content and sharing it with the friends and followers of your company. Not surprisingly, 46% percent of the marketers said the biggest obstacle in getting involved with social lead generation was the media’s hunger for fresh content. Most marketers ceded that they don’t expect social media to result in direct sales, but hope that brand recognition will increase and lead to sales further down the road.
Pay Per Click usage is expected to be 10% higher this year, and retargeting is also making a 10% increase over 2011. Those statistics appear to be consistent with the overall growth of PPC marketing over the last 4-5 years, and it stands to reason that CPCs will continue to grow, making keyword research and bid management even more important.
Advertisers and marketers are going to have to be more careful with the broad match terms they employ, and will most likely get more involved in phrase & exact long-tail searches. PPC costs may continue to rise as more parties flood the market, but remember, the only reason they’re flooding the market is because PPC advertising works. With the right tools and a thought-out strategy, B2B marketers will have little trouble making paid search worthwhile.