Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Rules of Lead Generation Defined – Book Review

For years I’ve been helping B2B marketers execute on their marketing strategies and at times I felt like I was working from scraps of information here and there that I have learned over the years. The issue was that there really wasn’t a guide for B2B marketers. We now have one: The New Rules of Lead Generation: Proven Strategies to Maximize Marketing ROI by David T. Scott. David was kind enough to send me on a copy and I will provide a short review of his groundbreaking work.

There are many smart marketers out there that have provided a bunch of insightful resources but there really wasn’t a straightforward starting point for someone new who was just breaking into the field. David’s book has helped bridge that gap by creating the B2B Marketing bible for demand generation marketers. I have not seen another book out there that is ambitious enough to include the majority of marketing tactics covering both offline and online formats.

Who Should Read This Book: Anyone New to B2B Marketing or Wanting to Improve

David makes it very clear whom he is targeting – it’s not the mom and pop shop businesses. He’s trying to help those marketers that are looking for information on principles and strategies of enterprise level lead generation. If you are someone that wants to get an introduction into some of the tried and tested tactics as well as the basics on putting a lead generation strategy together, this book is for you.

Besides those that may be new to B2B marketing, I would also recommend this book to those that are trying to put the various pieces together and may have been thrown into the role or volunteered without a full background in this area. Have a look at this book – you will benefit from it.


What Did I Like? A Focus on Strategy, Testing and Metrics

Definitions & Strategy. I love this quote from David “You can’t build a strong house without a string foundation”. The book is split up into two major areas: definitions and strategy of lead generation and lead gen tactics.

David makes it clear that you need a firm strategy in place or your tactics will fail and you won’t be able to convince your executives to get the funding you need. He provides you with the details you need to start the planning process so even a newbie can get this in place in no time. David starts off by defining some of the basic concepts of lead generation as well as focus on targeting and segmentation (My comment: YES!). Without these foundations, it can be difficult for marketers to get their bearings and execute on their strategy. This is something I have emphasized to many marketers over the years and it’s nice to see something in writing with a hard cover that that outlines this. Don’t miss David’s “5 Steps of a Lead Generation Campaign”.

Testing. A number of resources will tell you what you need to do. David emphasizes throughout his book that you are never done tweaking your tactics. You need to constantly test as a best practice for one organization may produce the opposite effects for another. You never really know what works best unless you test in lead generation. He covers testing techniques from emailing to cold calling. David believes that there are no mistakes in testing lead generation – you need to experiment to find out what works best to reach your target audience.

The Importance of Metrics.
So you don’t consistently measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. David gets you. Marketers are really behind in this area and David documents in laymen’s terms how to measure the overall Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) of your campaigns as well as some of the basic metrics. Running some campaigns and hoping for the best is not a smart option. Metrics should be part of your overall strategy and something that you present to executives on a regular basis. This book will help point you in the right direction. He has included a good example of comparing the success of display ads vs. a tradeshow and how to measure the impact to demonstrate which tactic is better.

There are also many small tips that you’ll take from this book from where to setup your booth at a tradeshow to best practices on messaging for your Google Adwords campaigns. You will definitely walk away with something from this book that you can use in your day-to-day marketing campaign execution.

Where it Comes up Short

In this book David admits that lead generation is in a constant state of evolution. There is no way he can cover everything that is out there as well as all the emerging trends. There is just too much going on and David has done an admirable job. I would have liked David to have focused more on these areas:
  • Marketing Automation. David makes a passing reference to some of the vendors out there including Eloqua and Marketo. I’m a bit biased here but marketing automation is a major force in lead generation today and should have had a bit more space allotted to it.
  • Content Marketing. David dismisses search engine optimization as “passive marketing” and not a large aspect of lead generation. I disagree with his opinion here, as content marketing is instrumental in attracting viewers to your materials and assisting in generating leads and moving buyers through the sales and marketing funnel. This is probably an area that can be covered in a follow up in the next volume.
  • Mobile. There are a lot of opportunities here that should be better acknowledged when it comes to Iphones and Android.
Another consideration for the next volume is to cover the area of advocate marketing. David dismisses the area of “word of mouth marketing” but advocates today are generating leads through referrals. These are solid leads that have a much higher conversion rate then some of the other tactics out there.

The book also could have used more illustrations and practical examples. David has done well to focus on the various social media tactics such as Twitter and Facebook but there are some good examples that could have been included to help the new marketer grasp these concepts. Again, only so much that can be fit into this book. I also disagree with the book’s emphasis on list purchases when it comes to email. I would recommend spending the time to build your lists organically then wasting money and time on list purchases that can get you in hot water with your email or marketing automation vendor.


My Takeaway: Read it, Live it

Let’s face it - B2B Marketing is a newer concept that is still emerging. We’ve moved beyond the traditional type of brand marketing that you see in Mad Men and marketers need to understand these new frameworks. Another name for this book should be “Lead Generation 101”. The New Rules on Lead Generation will help marketers get to that next level and should be standard reading for those studying marketing in business school and those that are newer or less experienced in this area. Happy reading!

Chad H.


PS: The last chapter on integrated campaigns is a must as it ties together many of the concepts and has some good examples.



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