Media Business: What does it mean to be the director of sales lead development at a b-to-b media company?
Bill Herr: Salespeople always say, "I want a lead." That's nothing new. But, it's the marketer's job to nurture a potential lead to the point of sales readiness. That hasn't changed either—although the tactics may need to change.
B-to-b marketers need to break through the clutter of the myriad media bombarding their buyers today. They also need to deliver positive ROI and engage a buyer who, thanks to the Internet, now has control of when, where, how and even if they choose to educate themselves on the technologies, products and services b-to-b marketers are promoting.
To do that, thought-leading marketers are fully integrating their online, print and event strategies with tried-and-true direct-mail and telemarketing campaigns in what I'm calling "branded response" programs.
MB: So you're saying that integrated marketing isn't just about using print, online and event modalities together; it's about integrating traditional advertising goals with traditional direct-marketing goals. How does this theory apply in b-to-b publishing?
Herr: Audience targeting is the foundation of all response management disciplines, so the most important thing, first, is to get your database in order. Then, you have to develop messaging that's relevant to the target audiences as they move through their buying cycle—and provide offers that are appropriate at each stage. Your choices of medium and creative are then based on whom you are trying to influence and where they can be reached.
Bottom line, today's b-to-b demand-generation programs must focus on quality leads, not just registrations and downloads. Marketers should focus more than ever on targeting the right audience and offering relevant content while constantly testing different online and offline media to produce the highest quality leads at the lowest cost.