Many b-to-b publishers began pursuing lead-generation programs a few years ago, but their efforts were focused on providing relatively simple data—such as name, address and job title—to marketers. Such basic information is no longer enough, and publishers are feeling the pressure to provide more.
“Marketers want a much deeper understanding of where these individuals are in the buying process, what is their true responsibility and how likely they are to complete a buying transaction,” Crawford said.
The goal is to provide active buyers to marketers in the most efficient way possible, Crawford said, but it's also to build a long-term relationship between the marketers and the buyers. “There could be a lifetime value associated with a lot of these buyers,” he said. “They'll come back and buy different services from the original vendor, so really it's an ongoing conversation.”
The technological challenge, of course, is collecting customer information that is rich in detail. IDG took its original print databases, enhanced them with information from online users and consolidated the databases across multiple brands. Those efforts yielded a sophisticated data mining and customer intelligence database for IT buyers in the marketplace, Crawford said, and the result is that lead generation accounts for 40% of the company's total revenue streams.