Changes in Lead Generation

Over the past few years, I've dedicated significant time to extolling the virtues of what I've termed the "lead generation trio" – a strategic blend of advertising, public relations, and referrals.

The concept behind this trio is to emphasize the importance of diversifying and spreading out lead generation activities, allowing prospects to engage with your brand from different angles and perspectives.

The lead generation trio's components are interdependent and work synergistically. Combined, their collective impact is far more significant than their individual contributions.

Lead generation, in general, has undergone substantial changes in recent years. Traditional outbound marketing methods have become increasingly ineffective.

However, this doesn't mean marketers are left with no proactive lead-generation strategies. The core idea of a blended lead generation approach remains valid, but in today's evolving online and social landscape, businesses must consider factors such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media as essential components of the new lead generation trio.

In fact, one can argue that referrals have become a part of the social media realm, and public relations is now a subset of SEO. While this perspective might not sit well with some PR professionals, I believe this view offers a more accurate portrayal of the primary lead generation activities:

  1. Advertising: This category encompasses various forms, including online ads, offline ads, direct mail, pay-per-click (PPC), and crucial elements like ad testing, conversion, and tracking.

    Advertising, when used effectively, can be a primary driver of leads. What sets advertising apart is its unmatched level of control. It allows you to select your audience and precisely when your message reaches them.

  2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO covers a broad range of activities beyond page optimization and search engine ranking. It encompasses the creation of keyword-rich content and the acquisition of links, making it easier for prospects to discover your business through global, local, and mobile searches.

    This expanded view of SEO naturally includes many aspects of today's public relations efforts. Much of modern PR aims to generate content, build links, and facilitate direct contact with prospects – all aligning with the broader SEO framework.

  3. Social Media: Social media behavior and tactics have become fundamental elements of marketing, evolving to the point where they form a stable component of the lead generation trio.

    Despite any initial reservations about integrating social and sales, social platforms have become integral to content discovery and sharing. Successful SEO practices now often rely on social platforms, making social media a vital component of lead generation.

    In many ways, social media has become the ultimate referral vehicle, especially when combined with ratings and reviews. It completes the modern face of lead generation.

If you still view SEO as mere search engine manipulation or consider social media as a tactic struggling to deliver ROI, it's time to reassess. Advertising, SEO, and social media now constitute the foundational elements of a robust lead-generation strategy. Like the essential components of many great combinations, you can't have one without the others.

Jeff Hecht

Jeff Hecht

Jeff is the Founder and Managing Director of the Aronson Hecht Agency. He grew up in the advertising industry at his father's' agency. He has over 40 years in sales and marketing experience. Jeff brings that experience to every client and every project we work on.

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