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Jan 25, 2005

2005 AD:TECH Survey Results Part II: Which Online Tactics Are Safest for ROI (vs Most Exciting)

SUMMARY: 56% of business-to-business marketers in high tech used telemarketing to qualify sales leads in 2004. And the tactic's growing more popular by about 4 percentage points each year.

Why? Because successful lead generation is all about handing your sales team a perfect lead ready to convert, instead of a pile of the 100s of folks who downloaded your white paper this month.

Here's our quick guide for you on best practices in qualifying leads by phone. Includes tips on scripting and timing:
What's the best way you can spend your online marketing budget for 2005?

We asked 196 of some of the biggest online marketers in the world, brands that spend an average of 39.2% of their total advertising and marketing budgets online, to tell us in their own words what they would spend $100K on if their CEO asked them to use it on something that would guarantee maximum results...

With 29% of the vote, search (paid ads and optimization) was the clear winner. This is interesting, given that in Part I of this Study (link below), which surveyed marketers about actual tactics used in 2004, email to house lists had stronger results than search, with 45% of respondents calling it "great," and 48% reporting moderate success with the tactic last year.

Yet, only 7% of respondents volunteered email as the safest tactic to spend on in the hypothetical portion of our survey.

Is this because marketers perceive that they have already maxed out potential spending on email, and that they find search an easier tactic to expand and broaden? (If so, they're wrong.)

Rich media was third most popular tactic attendees would trust to maximize returns, with 4% of the vote. Compare this to Part I of this Study, where rich media was cited as the fifth most successful tactic for 2004, after house email, paid search, behavioral targeting, and affiliates.

PR, affiliate marketing programs, banner ads, and behavioral targeted advertising made a four-way tie for fourth place, each with 2% of the vote.

It's fascinating to see PR popping up in the same context as other online tactics at long last. We suspect this hinges on search marketing popularity, rather than media relations. An increasing number of marketers are promoting direct response offers direct to consumers via press releases distributed in Google and Yahoo News.

The remaining 95 respondents chose everything from blogs (2 votes) to adding more headcount, hiring ad agencies, Web analytics, and customer incentives, as guaranteed revenue boosters.

Next, we also asked respondents to volunteer their answers to, "What would you spend $100K on if your CEO told you to test something new?"

This question's 206 respondents used their imaginations and there was quite a variety in the responses:

With 8% of the overall vote, search (both pay-per-click and organic) was the most popular test overall. It's unusual to see survey respondents choose the same exact tactic as both the safest investment and also as the most enticing risky tactic.

We suspect this indicates that a number of marketers *still haven't* tested enough search to decide if it's safe for their brand or not. The percent of search newbies out there may be larger than you think.

Next, rich media and behavioral targeting tied for second place with 5% of the vote respectively. And there was a four-way tie for third place between viral marketing, email, desktop applications, and banners, each at 4%.

Another surprise, which echoes last year's results, is that only two people would spend the money on landing pages, which seems odd, given how important landing pages are.

Last, but not least, 2% of respondents said they'd test blogs. We're not surprised to see blogs make the list, but how on earth would you spend $100k on one?

The headline from Part I of our Study is the reported success of the email campaign to house lists. It's not surprising that some of the higher-tech, newer, sexier tactics like rich media, viral marketing, and search were selected as favorite projects to test "extra" money on over the tried-and-true email.

Useful links related to this article:

Part I of this Study:

AD:TECH conference
See Also:

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