Okay lead generation marketers, red pill or blue pill?

Anyone in marketing understands the continuous state of change we’ve endured since mobile and social technology entered the picture. Lots of amazing innovation that turned marketing practices on their head. I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like we’ve kind of got a handle on things for the first time in many years. We tackled SEM and SEO. We’ve got an advanced lead nurture program. Our websites are optimized for lead generation. Many of us have even found ways to adopt a level of personalization into our digital experiences. So what’s next?

Whether you realize it or not, marketers are living in a “matrix” of their own creation. A matrix that has kept upper management happy for a while. But take a good look around. Is everything as you think it is? If you take a close look at your data, you may start to notice some interesting things.

  • Your lead nurture email open and click through rates are likely eroding
  • Teleprospecting success rates are slowly declining
  • Paid search costs are rising
  • Advertising and even syndication are losing their luster
  • Activities like tradeshows and webinars that used to be for lead generation are now predominantly for awareness

But why is lead gen declining? It was going so well…

The answer depends on which pill you take.

If you take the blue pill, you can live in bliss for a few more years. Your results will still be decent, but you won’t be able to achieve demonstrable growth. That’s okay, you’ll still keep your job, mindlessly doing what you’ve been doing for the past 5 years.

If you take the red pill, you’re going to have some hard work ahead of you. You’re going to need to rethink your lead generation methods and how you engage customers. For those of you ready to take the leap, here’s what lies ahead.

  1. First, you need to stop putting so much effort into traditional outbound marketing. That’s what is collapsing. Take a hard look at the resources (both people and spend) that you are putting into activities where you are paying for leads. Take note of what’s still working and what is losing its luster so that you can reallocate those resources.
  2. Next, invest in customer advocacy and referral marketing. While your target buyers have started ignoring your message, they have some key people in their network that they trust. Referral marketing allows you to leverage those trusted advisors like customers and partners and have them approach your target buyers on your behalf. This drastically scales your lead generation efforts at a low cost.
  3. Then, you need to put focus on customer delight. Per the point above, your customers can expand your reach, but you need to make sure they are thrilled with your product and service.

Taking the red pill means you are going to have to shepherd a new lead generation strategy and culture through marketing, sales and customer success. It won’t be easy. But it is the only clear path to marketing success.

What will you decided? Will you take the blue pill and continue to add to the marketing noise? Or will you take the red pill and wake up to a whole new way of marketing?


launching a referral program