Every business-to-business (B2B) marketing plan needs to focus on lead generation. This past year saw an increase in social media marketing to create lead generation. There was also growth in the marketing automation industry. Lead generation in 2011 will see a further rise in marketing automation. There are several tips to stay competitive in 2011 by monitoring future lead generation trends.

2011 will see marketing automation reach a critical mass. More and more companies will pick up on the effectiveness of marketing automation. It will then follow the trend of email marketing and become commonplace for businesses to use when generating leads.

As the use of marketing automation increases, companies will begin to use it more effectively. Rather than simply installing the software and expecting immediate results, more organizations will train people and create processes to increase the effectiveness of a marketing automation system. Marketing automation will be fine-tuned, as it becomes an integral part of lead generation.

Online content should improve for B2B marketers in 2011. The content should engage customers and draw them into the pipeline and purchasing process. There will also be a rise in question and answer sessions, games, media content, ROI analyses, success kits, and buying guides. Investing in quality content will increase ROI for most companies.

Marketing automation will allow marketers to host their own content. The corporate website will still be the domain of the IT department, but marketers will be able to develop their own separate content. This content can be hosted by the marketing automation system, which gives the marketers the chance to keep content fresh and exciting without relying on the IT department.

Marketing automation will improve the email metrics in 2011. It will provide solutions that allow marketers to connect with more websites through marketing email than open and click rates do. Marketing automation companies that provide such services will also offer different models such as pay for performance models to increase their scale.

More companies will offer webinars with mainstream content to generate leads and draw in new customers. There will also be a change as the relevant measure of marketing efficiency becomes marketing qualified lead that allows marketers to sift through different leads.

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