Chuck Richard: When it comes to online, we tend to talk about sponsored content or sponsored white papers and webinars. The common denominator for online lead generation is anything that requires an opt-in or a registration. Someone has to give up their personal contact information. Some people like to put pay-per-click search advertising into lead generation, but for me it strains the definition because you're not getting that person's information. On the other hand, in vertical search, they're required to register, so it does qualify in most cases as lead generation.
BtoB: Which online publishers are doing a good job with lead generation?
Richard: There's GlobalSpec, and ThomasNet, and Penton and PennWell in the industrial supplies area. There are also some companies that aren't always thought of as being in the lead-generation business, like McGraw-Hill Construction and Reed Construction Data, companies that basically sell contract leads. Then there is Reed Business' BuyerZone, which is an RFP site. In the technology area, there's obviously TechTarget, IDG and UBM, all of which are active in this space.
BtoB: In downturns, b-to-b marketers turn to lead generation. Is this recession any different?
Richard: It's no different. It mirrors other downturns. The difference is that the quiver has new arrows in it from the last time. Here's our latest data from our survey of 1,223 marketers and what they're telling us they're going to do in 2009. We're going to see negative growth overall in the events space, but the data shows that small b-to-b marketers (companies with 1 to 100 employees) plan to increase their spending on virtual events by 13.9% in 2009. Large b-to-b marketers (companies with 1,000 or more employees) will increase spending on virtual events by 16.5% in 2009. These virtual events are combinations of online lead generation and events. They're a bright spot when you consider that small marketers say their overall spending on events (including live and virtual events) will be down 6.6% in 2009 and large marketers say their spending will be down 11.9%.