December 29, 2010
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MarketingSherpa’s Take on B2B in 2010: Part two -- marketing automation and lead generation content

SUMMARY: This past year has been challenging in the B2B marketing world. Marketers were asked to generate higher-quality leads with increasingly limited resources. To continue our end-of-year review, part two of our 2010 B2B wrap-up highlights two areas of significant interest to B2B marketers -- marketing automation and lead generation content.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter and Brad Bortone, Associate Editor

This past year has presented a unique challenge to B2B marketers -- work with limited resources, while still generating high-quality leads. To help marketers plan for the coming year, MarketingSherpa published the 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, which features 167 charts and tables based on research with 935 marketers. And in October, 478 experienced marketers attended our two B2B summits in San Francisco and Boston.

Click here to read part one of this year-end B2B review.

At our Summits, and during interviews with client-side marketers and industry experts throughout 2010, we found consistent interest in marketing automation and compelling lead gen content. Here is a look back at what worked for these marketers in 2010, as you get ready to put your 2011 plans into action.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation software is a very powerful tool for B2B marketers. It automates lead scoring, lead nurturing and lead management and is a very rapidly growing trend in B2B marketing. The 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report found 80 percent of B2B marketers have either a formal or informal process in place to execute marketing automation practices, and only 20 percent have no repeatable marketing automation processes.

Access to the quantitative data provided by marketing automation software is highly beneficial to Marketing. These tools provide data for things like lead scoring, trigger marketing, anonymous lead tracking, offline marketing integration, nurture marketing, integration with CRM systems and more. Not only do these interim metrics help marketers optimize lead generation and management efforts, but bottom-line metrics also give Marketing tangible results to prove value to both Sales and C-level management.

From the MarketingSherpa Members Archive:

Special Report: When to Adopt Lead Scoring, and How to Justify the Investment

Special Report: 8 Criteria for Choosing a Lead Scoring/Marketing Automation Vendor

Marketing Automation Tool Drives List Growth, Boosts Registrations 664%

Budget Cut Prompts Marketing Performance Review: 7 Tactics to Reduce Cost-Per-Lead and Boost Leads 12%

Lead Generation Content

It's not easy, but producing relevant, high-quality content that offers useful information and value to your audience will bring prospective customers to your business. These new customers can be turned into leads to be nurtured, and very possibly end with a conversion.

By offering compelling, information-rich content, you position your company to stand out as a thought leader in a crowded market, nurture prospects, and establish you as an authority within your space, creating a starting point for conversation with your customers. Content marketing is one of several topics MarketingSherpa will be covering in our new Inbound Marketing newsletter (launching in January).

From the MarketingSherpa Members Archive:

Leads tripled, conversions doubled with revamped Web content

Lift Long-Tail Search Traffic: 6 Tactics to Find and Test Niche Content Areas

New Research Part II: Buyers Rank the Most Valuable Content and Offer Types

Useful links related to this article

MarketingSherpa's Take on B2B in 2010: Part one -- lead nurturing and social media

Subscribe to the complimentary MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing newsletter

2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report

B2B Marketing Summit Wrap-up Replay: Quick takeaways on lead nurturing, social media marketing, and more

B2B Marketing Summit '10 Wrap-up: Seven takeaways to help you engage potential customers, generate high-quality leads and more

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