Join thousands of weekly readers and receive practical marketing advice for FREE.
MarketingSherpa's Case Studies, New Research Data, How-tos, Interviews and Articles

Enter your email below to join thousands of marketers and get FREE weekly newsletters with practical Case Studies, research and training, as well as MarketingSherpa updates and promotions.


Please refer to our Privacy Policy and About Us page for contact details.

No thanks, take me to MarketingSherpa

First Name:
Last Name:
Jun 18, 2013

Marketing Research Chart: SEO most effective tactic for lead gen, but also among the most difficult

SUMMARY: In this week's chart, we look at data from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report about the difficulty, effectiveness and usage of lead generation tactics. Be sure to share your own analysis of this chart in the MarketingSherpa LinkedIn Group for a chance to be published in a future blog post.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

Usage of a lead generation tactic can sometimes be driven by the hype surrounding it. Other marketers take an unbiased view of the tactic, and gauge its effectiveness versus its difficulty.

So, we asked marketers the following three questions, and combined them into one chart to balance these considerations Ö

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.

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart

As you can see, search engine optimization was considered the most effective tactic, but also among the most difficult. However, it is not as difficult as another highly effective tactic (and important component of SEO) — content.

Trade shows are considered more difficult than content. Although, even with the physical logistics issues surrounding trade shows along with the difficulty of sticking out on an often-crowded expo floor (not to mention the challenge of coming up with the coolest free swag), trade shows were rated as barely more difficult than content.

On the flip side, email marketing was considered both among the most effective and least difficult tactics. Not surprisingly, it was also highly used. Mobile marketing, still an emerging tactic (although one that should go hand-in-virtual-glove with email) is among the least used tactics. Somewhat surprisingly, given its relative newness to most marketers, it was only considered about mid-range in difficulty.

One of the biggest opportunities appears to be in webinars (another subset of the highly difficult content marketing). While marketers struggled somewhat with content, they did find webinars much easier. Combining that with their high degree of effectiveness and relatively low rate of usage (in other words, less competition for your webinars), they could be a tactic worth looking into for your lead generation planning if you do not already utilize them.

Points to consider

Use this data, and the following questions, to help your marketing department evaluate its efforts.

What challenges do you face with your SEO? Is it purely around the technical challenges of your website, or do you also struggle with the relationships necessary for link building or the content that must feed the beast?

What challenges to you face with creating content? How do you plan to overcome them? Do you have a dedicated writer(s) or content creator(s) on your marketing team, do you outsource your content creation to a freelance writer(s) or an agency? Or is your marketing team responsible for generating its own content?

Do you overlook relatively laggard techniques like print advertising simply because they donít generate as much hype in the industry? While it has a low level of effectiveness, might its low level of difficulty and usage (competition for eyeballs) make it a worthwhile tactic to explore?

Share your experiences with the MarketingSherpa community

Use the above questions internally with your own team to help improve your lead generation efforts, and also share your actionable advice and inspirational stories on the MarketingSherpa LinkedIn Group discussion about this chart for a chance to be featured in a future blog post.

For more information about lead gen, read the free excerpt of the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report.

Useful links related to this resource

MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 — Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, San Francisco

Retargeting: 5 tactics from drip email to lead generation

Lead Generation Optimization: How Expedia CruiseShipCenters' increased previous customer conversions 22% by removing its lead capture form

Lead Generation: Revamped marketing automation and CRM technology drives 75% more leads

See Also:

Comments about this Chart

Jun 18, 2013 - sean cronin of says:
I notice that there is no stat on the Cold Call phone technique? Is this included in the direct mail cohort? I would assume that Leads are still being generated by Cold Calls and it would be good to compare the relative position of this method.

Jun 18, 2013 - Daniel Burstein of MECLABS says:
Sean, We did not ask specifically about cold calling. I suppose some marketers could have answered "direct mail" and included cold calling in that, it would be up to the individual interpretation of the marketer. We did, however, get two comments from respondents about cold calling. They are below... "Cold calls and hard outbound phone campaigns work best for us. Tradeshows and unique events work well also. We do have some success with mail and email campaigns." "Cold calling combined with social media. Regular follow-up with past clients and prospects. Email and content marketing."

Jun 19, 2013 - Chris Beall of ConnectAndSell says:
We generate almost all our leads at ConnectAndSell by combining market signals such as job postings with appended contact information and firmographic filters, then cold calling using advanced conversation enablement technology. It is easy and very effective as measured by total cost per sales qualified lead because it directly delivers live conversations on demand between our inside reps (hunters, not lead gen staff, which our approach eliminates). We target 100 conversations per sales rep per week in about 10 hours of prospecting effort. The math is very different from traditional cold calling, which superficially it resembles, in that it belongs in the far upper right hand quadrant - very easy (with the right enabling technologies) and very effective and inexpensive.

Jun 19, 2013 - Rick Noel of eBiz ROI, Inc. says:
Our experience is that SEO is an increasingly complex lead generation tactic given the evolving nature of search, including personalized search results. The study results validate this while the effectiveness demonstrates that SEO is worth the effort delivering leads and ROI. To be successful with SEO, after the now infamous Google Panda/Penguin updates, content marketing strategy development and differentiation has become more important than ever from an SEO perspective as competition is heating up. Social also impacts search results in an increasingly significant way, so there are some complex relationships between the different tactics that must be considered by marketers when evaluating effectiveness of various marketing tactics for lead generation. Thanks for sharing.

Post a Comment

Note: Comments are lightly moderated. We post all comments without editing as long as they
(a) relate to the topic at hand,
(b) do not contain offensive content, and
(c) are not overt sales pitches for your company's own products/services.

To help us prevent spam, please type the numbers
(including dashes) you see in the image below.*

Invalid entry - please re-enter

*Please Note: Your comment will not appear immediately --
article comments are approved by a moderator.

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly Case Study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions

Best of the Week:
Marketing case studies and research

Chart Of The Week

B2B Marketing

Consumer Marketing

Email marketing

Inbound Marketing

SherpaStore Alerts


We value your privacy and will not rent or sell your email address. Visit our About Us page for contact details.